Distinguished Toastmaster Award speaks volumes | Military scene
Rontario Hicks, Division Manager of the Redstone Test Center Logistics Management Office and a member of the Premier Providers Club of Toastmasters International, received the Distinguished Toastmaster Award.
The DTM represents the highest level of academic achievement at Toastmasters. Toastmasters International has four Toastmasters clubs on Redstone Arsenal that focus on developing organizational, public speaking and leadership skills.
Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a global network of clubs. Based in Englewood, Colorado, the organization has more than 364,000 members in more than 16,200 clubs in 145 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders.
The Premier Providers Club was chartered to Redstone Arsenal in 2016, the same year Hicks joined as a Major in the Army, serving in the Army Materiel Command.
âWhen I joined AMC in 2012, Major Ron Hicks worked in the office of the Chief of Staff. While he was a great logistician, his articulation skills were lacking, âsaid Jesse Barber, one of the founders of Premier Partners. âHis flow during staff presentations was full of stumbles and missteps. I recruited Ron to be one of the original 26 AMC employees to found our Toastmasters club. I remember Ron’s first speech, he had so many ‘ahs’ and ‘umms’ that we stopped counting when he was over 50 in the first two minutes of his speech.
Barber added that as Hicks’ mentor they discussed techniques to help him improve and with each speech his improvement was remarkable.
“By the end of the first year Ron had eliminated all the ‘ahs’ and ‘umms’,” Barber said. âHis speaking skills have become so good that he can deliver a 30 minute speech without ‘ahhs’ or ‘umms’ and the flow is exceptional. His use of graphics, slides and jokes in his speeches is on par with the more experienced speakers in our club.
To earn the DTM, a Toastmaster must go through a series of learning paths, which can typically take several years. Hicks is the first founding member of Premier Providers to receive this honor.
âThis award is important because Ron has been able to accomplish in four years, which can sometimes take up to 10 years,â said Barber. Ron completed Competent Communicator (10 speeches), Advanced Communicator Bronze (10 speeches), Advanced Communicator Silver (10 speeches), Advanced Communicator Gold (10 speeches), three special projects, served as a District Officer for one year, completed the Competent Leadership, Advanced Leader and High Performance Leadership Programs. In addition, he has been a club coach, mentor and sponsor, and he still had time to help his club members develop their skills. He is truly a remarkable leader. This is what Toastmasters is doing … developing your individual skills to make you a better leader and better communicator for tomorrow. “
âToastmasters has really changed my life,â Hicks said. âIt allowed me to rise to the occasion and stand out when it comes to public speaking. It has also helped me with presentations both in my personal and professional environment, giving me the confidence to speak with power and balance.