Last month I experienced my first official toastmaster speech. After being introduced to Toastmasters about 4 years ago, I finally committed to a club. The Fitness Town Toastmasters began at the end of 2012 and conduct their meetings on the evenings of the 1st and 3rd Wednesday each month. I don’t tend to fear speaking in front of a crowd, but I wanted to become a stronger, more powerful presenter. I joined to learn how to collect my thoughts and articulate myself better. I hope to gain confidence in entertaining the audience while sharing whatever topic is asked of me. Though my first attempt was a little shaky, it sure felt great to actually do it!
Video compliments of Little B, my amazing soon to be 8 year old! (warning, difficult to hear)
Here’s a the intended written copy of my speech. There are loads of different angles I am excited to expand in further detail in future speaking opportunities!Madame Toastmaster, fellow members and guests. I am the one and only Christie Kennedy Manuel, and this speech is ALL ABOUT ME! I was born at Langley General Hospital just shy of 34 years ago to highschool sweethearts Bob and Lynda Kennedy. I was raised in the sunny Okanagan with my 5 younger siblings. Yes 6 kids – craziness I know! I couldn’t imagine a more eventful childhood. We were involved in MULTIPLE activities for as far back as I can remember. A few being, swimming, where I swam competitively for almost 7 years, field hockey, gymnastics (well until I broke my coaches nose while attempting a back handspring at the age of 7), basketball, track & field, water-skiing (fantastic memories), softball, and volleyball, where I received a post-secondary scholarship. We were coined the Kennedy Clan in the Jumbo Jet van, because our blue, red and white caravan was always scene scurrying through town dropping kids here and there.
I do remember being terrified of driving THE JUMBO JET VAN when I got my license. If you think back to the 90s, that’s when we could apply for our full drivers license after having our learners for only 30 days, I was stoked my wonderful stepmom gave me her red 1986 two door mustang, as she had adopted the “taxi driver mom” role, after we lost my birth mom in a tragic accident during spring break of my grade 8 year. 13 years of age was definitely a pivotal time in my life. My Mom and I were extremely close. She was an amazing individual who taught me to embrace each day and to be kind to everyone. I am pleased to report our family found a way to stay strong and make her proud. It is because of my mom, that I followed thru with my passion for travel. After playing a year of Volleyball at Okanagan University College in Kelowna and becoming provincial champions, I decided to take the following year off to explore other parts of this wondrous world. I was originally planning to visit Australia with one of my best friends, but she wasn’t as serious as I was about making it happen in the fall of 1998. Come September, I decided I was going solo and a few weeks later I was off on my first of many longterm adventures. 1998-2002 consisted of travels to Malaysia, Eastern Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Canada coast to coast, Southeast Asia again and Western Australia before returning to Vancouver for some dude I had met the year prior. Cutting my 10 month plan in half was one of the best decisions of my life, as he became my full married husband on December 12, 2012.The man I am referring to is not only my life partner and bestest friend, Dai Manuel, he is also the father of our two high-energy, caring and beautiful daughters, Chardonae 10 and Brielyn 8. Yes, wine and cheese, we know! 😉 The past decade I have been fortunate to be a full-time mom, home-maker, and business partner. Being entrepreneurs in the health and fitness industry, we lead a fairly flexible schedule, which allows me to be heavily involved in our daughters school fundraising and volunteering when needed. For quite some time I suffered from the ‘disease of yes’, where telling people ‘no’ wasn’t in my vocabulary. Dai kindly brought this to my attention a few years back, and though I still help people as often as possible, I am at peace with the word ‘NO’.