New Clubs and New Beginnings

An Interview with Flavia McDonald, Founding President of Liberty Speakers Club by Zainab Mohiuddin (VPPR AreaH15)

Flourishing. Thriving. Vibrant. These are all words that can describe Area H15 in 2018. So where to start when describing it all? Our electric Area Christmas Party and Speakers of Croydon’s 15thAnniversary? The spellbinding speeches? Awards, accolades and achievements? 

Liberty Speakers Demo Meeting

Maybe another time! Today I want you to know about our new clubs. Because new clubs are a sign of fresh growth and excitement in the Area. And we have two new clubs! Legacy Speakers in Brixton and Liberty Speakers Club in Norbury. Both brilliant beacons of hope for public speaking and I was lucky enough to interview the inspiring President of Liberty Speakers – Flavia McDonald

What inspired you to create a club?

I had been thinking about putting on a Public Speaking workshop for a little while, when I was approached by a member of Liberty Christian Ministries and asked if I would help to start a Toastmaster club at their Church; word had got around that I was a seasoned Toastmaster.  I remember first meeting Pearl Cadogan (who didn’t know at the time but was to become our VPE) as I sat in Costa Coffee excited and slightly daunted about this new Venture! Where would we start? How would the Demo Launch meeting turn out?

What makes Liberty Speakers special?

Liberty Speakers Club is special on many levels because an air of excellence permeates throughout the venue. The members of the committee are talented, tenacious and determined that the club will be a success. We all realise that we are on a learning curve so we are patient with each other as well as reaching out to the Toastmaster network to get the necessary knowledge and assistance to fill in the gaps. 

The ambiance of the venue is welcoming and warm.  The meeting is held in the main auditorium in the church and many guests comment that the room is ‘lovely’.  During the networking break the guests are provided with drinks and snacks which are well presented; it has the feeling of “Afternoon tea at the Ritz”!

What have been the highlights so far of the club?

The highlight so far (even though daunting), has been going from zero to Demo Launch; what a learning curve!  The Demo Launch was held on 15 November, an Eventbrite invitation had been sent out, so we were excited as to the potential number of guests that would be attending. 

Name badges were in reception, greeters at the door and hospitality waiting in the wings.  At 6.45pm it was cameras, lights and action – there was no turning back now! The guests started to filter through the doors, including Florian Bay, (ex Club Growth Director) Arnaud Satre (Club Grown Director) and Sandra Mighty (Area Director and Toastmaster for the evening) – all of whom had held my hand as founding President during the process of setting up the club.  

It was an exciting evening of speeches and table topics and 56 guests attended! It was better than Pearl or I could ever have imagined when we sat in Costa Coffee over a couple of lattes back in July!  I was also presented with a special recognition Toastmaster badge as Founding President which was definitely one of my highlights.

What message would you like to share as President

As a committed member of Liberty Speakers, your life will definitely change.  Members will have the opportunity to Discover, Develop and Demonstrate their public speaking and leadership skills and developing these skills will help to enrich their career opportunities, their leadership skills in the community and communication skills within the family setting and to make new friends. Oftentimes I have heard that people would rather go to their own funerals than speak in public! I would like to encourage anyone who feels that they start to stutter with fear, have butterflies in their stomach or come out in a cold sweat – Feel the stutter but speak anyway because there is a whole new world waiting for you.

Fantastic words of wisdom there from Flavia, the Founding President of Liberty Speakers Club! Has that inspired you to create your own club, or create something you are passionate about? Good! Feel the fear and do it anyway. 

Liberty Speakers Club meets every first and third Thursday of the Month at Liberty Christian Ministries, Norbury and is well worth a visit. 

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