Big Island Residents Win in Toastmasters Competition

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Waikoloa resident Maureen Garry took first place honors for Table Topics at the Toastmasters Division C Speech Contest on Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Honolulu. Garry is a wellness educator and the managing editor of the Kohala Mountain News.

On March 30, 2019, Maureen Garry (center) won first place in the Table Topics competition at the Toastmasters International Division C Speech Contest in Honolulu, HI. Table Topics is the worldwide organization’s impromptu speaking category, in which the contestant is asked a question and must immediately craft a one-to-two-minute response. PC: Slava Slavik

Garry, the vice president of education for Waimea Toastmasters on the Big Island, took first place at the Club and Area level Table Topics contests earlier in the month, earning her a spot to compete at the Division C level. Table Topics is an extemporaneous speaking competition where contestants are asked a question and then required to speak about it for one to two minutes. The event also included a prepared speech competition. Although the win qualifies her to advance to the District competition, Garry will be overseas at that time and is forfeiting her spot to the next in line.

“When I joined Toastmasters, I lacked the skills and confidence needed to deliver a top-notch presentation,” said Garry. “I’d often spoken to groups, but it was without training in how to make the most impact on the audience. By working through the first two levels in the Toastmasters curriculum, not only has my skill in presenting before a group increased dramatically, my confidence in multiple areas of communication has grown with it.”

Garry has earned both Competent Communicator and Competent Leader awards through Toastmasters.


Currently she is pursuing a Presentation Mastery certificate in the new Toastmasters Pathways Education program.

“Maureen is a great example to our club members as both an outstanding speaker and a leader who does a great deal to help others achieve their goals,” said Carole Wiedmeyer, president of the Waimea Toastmasters Club. “As the person who consistently came in second to her in speech competitions, I am especially aware of how skilled and focused she is.”

Emily To of Kona Toastmasters also competed at the contest and came home with first place honors in the International speech category.


Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches communication and leadership skills through a worldwide network of more than 15,900 clubs in 142 countries. Toastmasters Division C consists of 16 clubs spread across four areas (each with four clubs). Waimea Toastmasters is in Area 12, the only one of the four areas representing a neighbor island. The four clubs in Area 12 are all on the Big Island: Hilo, Kona, Waimea and Puna.

The Waimea Toastmasters club (#4413485) meets the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the W.M. Keck Observatory, 65-1120 Mamalahoa Highway in Waimea (Kamuela) on the Big Island. Visitors are welcome and are not required to participate in speaking. For more information about the club, go online.

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