How does it feel to be talking to a World Champion, asking questions, satisfying your curiosity and even taking selfies?
Many think it is impossible and only dream about it. But, to the students to HCT-Sharjah Women’s campus (SJW), it was a dream come true when Ms. Rsamona J. Smith, the 2018 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking visited the college late in 2018.
Sharjah Women’s Toastmasters Club was chartered on April 22, 2018 and is still in its infancy with a healthy mix of 38 members of students, faculty and staff.
Sharjah Women’s Toastmasters Club organized the event titled, “Choices in Life” in the Planetarium, which was packed with the audience comprising of Dr. Abdulla Al Suwaiji, Director, Sharjah Campuses, Dr. Amna Al Obedli, Asst.Manager, Student Life, Ms. Maitha Al Shamsi, Director, Campus Operations, Dr. Ged Ryan Sr. Manager, Academics and Advising; Program Chairs, Faculty, Staff and students.
Ms. Sara Ahmed Juma Al Mashabich, President of the SJW TC was the host and ghost of the day and welcomed the guests and dignitaries to this spectacular event. Dr. Abdulla’s opening remarks relaxed the audience, specially the students as they were in awe of being in the company of a World Champion.
Ms. Ramona Smith, 31, belongs to the academic fraternity and works as a high school teacher in Houston. She started her journey as a Toastmasters four years ago and surpassed more than 30,000 speakers around the world over the six-month World Championship of Public speaking Competition which is also known as the Olympics of Public Speaking, the largest of its kind, to become the second African-American woman and the 5th woman overall to win the Public Speaking Championship since it began in 1938.
When Ms. Smith was invited over for her presentation, all necks were strained to get a better look at her. You could cut the silence in the room with a knife. The audience were all ears to listen to her. Ms. Smith held the audience spell-bound with her mesmerizing speech. The positive energy radiating from her compelled the audience to remain glued to their seats. The anecdotes of her life sent a strong message across the audience that it is “we” who make the “choices in life” and we are responsible for the outcome. She could connect very easily with the audience as she became one of them. She gave them an insight into the obstacles that she faced in her life and how she overcame them. Her self-confidence, her persistence to overcome the hindrance led her to graduate Magna Cum Laude from the prestigious Baldwin Wallace University in northeast Ohio and later to the Toastmasters International stage of Public Speaking where she was acknowledged as the World Champion of Public Speaking.
Her interactive and humorous nature attracted the students and they opened up to her. She gave them tips on time management and prioritizing things. She dished out anecdotes from her life and made the students realize the value of education and urged them to commit themselves in realizing their goals and making their dreams come true.
Students had a wonderful time with her and left the hall in a daze that they had really met the World Champion and it was not a dream.
Dr. Abdulla Al Suwaiji felicitated Ms. Smith and the SJW TC mentors, DTM Saju Varghese and TM Sasidharan, as well as the guests.
Dr. Kausar Saida, Founder of the SJW TC, Dr. Amna Al Obedli, Asst. Manager , Student Life and Mr. Timothy White, Program Chair, General Studies worked round the clock with the Executive Committee Members of SJWTC to make the event a grand success.
In the words of Ms. Sara, “I am very honored to meet the 2018TM World Champion of Public Speaking. Her words of encouragement really inspired us to be the best version of ourselves and no matter on what success level we reach, we much remain humble and grateful for every success.”
Ms. Umran said: ”I learnt a lot from her. She is an absolutely wonderful speaker. Her body language, the way she uses her words and her tone… is just inspiring.“
Ms. Huda, member of SJWTC who had travelled all the way from Dubai just for the event was ecstatic and said: “Thank you Dr. Kausar for arranging this wonderful event. I enjoyed immensely the interaction I had with Ms. Ramona. We learnt that we can do and reach anywhere we want with patience and persistence. She was a live example to remind ourselves that we can reach this position one day and do what she did and more. We should never underestimate the power we have.”
“I am grateful to HCT for providing us with such wonderful opportunities and I do hope that more students will come forward and take advantage of the benefits offered by HCT to develop ourselves and our potential,” she added.