Thamay Receives CTM

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Written by Victoria Barclay

Toast of CIBC applauds its first Competent Toastmaster awardee, Thamay Chellathurai, for fiscal year 2008-09! 

Thamay joined us in November 2005 and delivered her Icebreaker a scant two weeks later.  She was so enthusiastic that her speech manual had not yet arrived.  As she recalls, “My whole speech was about the mathematician in the movie A Beautiful Mind because I did not even know the first speech was supposed to be more about myself and background.”

In a way, though, Thamay had introduced herself, because mathematics is near and dear to her heart, and she had begun the first of a series of highly informative speeches.  As Club members listened to Thamay’s speeches over the succeeding months, we realized this was someone with a true passion to educate.  Cloning, hedging, GM foods, globalization—even the benefits of garlic—are among the topics Thamay has chosen.  “I try to cover the goals for each speech in the series, she says, “and go one step more by choosing a topic the audience might not know much about.”

She recalls the comments given by her first assigned evaluator, Michael Wang.  “I was good at sharing technical information, but he recommended that I work on the stories and narrative side.”  She took the advice to heart, winding up her CTM with inspirational speeches on perseverance (CC-9) and Terry Fox (CC-10).  At Toastmasters we observe time and again how a personal story can breathe life into factual material.  “It was a challenge for me, not just because of the language barrier, but there I was, up at the front with no Powerpoint slides or engineering diagrams.”  She remembers how encouraging the applause felt that first time. 

The most difficult speech to do, she recalls, was on globalization.  “Heavy research,” she says, noting that one of the goals of CC-4 was to communicate ideas vividly without jargon.  The most interesting topics, she reports, were cloning (CC-6)  and hedging (CC-7).  “But the speech that challenged me most as a speaker was on the power of perseverance.”  That speech, at the CC-9 level, requires the speaker to “persuade with power.”

 Thamay’s skills have deepened, not just in delivering prepared speeches.  She has been a stalwart contributor to the Club, fulfilling all meeting roles at one time or another, including head Toastmaster, General Evaluator, and Chief Judge.  She has not been afraid to stretch herself, either.  Who can forget her hilarious “marriage proposal” to Bill during one inspired Table Topics session? 

Thamay will be furthering her education as Toastmaster as she embarks on the Advanced Communicator Leadership (ACL) program, beginning with delivery of a keynote address.  She also believes in giving back to the Club, and this year was voted in as AVP Education where she will be doing a lot of scheduling and otherwise helping other members to achieve their goals.  At the moment, she is organizing the Humorous Speech Contest in October.  Won’t you join in the applause?

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