Voice of our members interview : Ericka

Can you introduce yourself and tell us how long you have been a member of the Toastmasters CN Collaborators club ?

My name is Ericka Aminatou. I am a credit risk monitoring adviser. One of my objectives this year was to work on improving my public speaking skills. After some online search, I found out about Toastmasters International, and was directed to the CN Collaborators club, where I attended a complimentary session as a guest. I ended up joining the club in June 2020.

Can you tell us what particular aspects of the club appealed to you when you chose a Toastmasters club ?

Four elements really caught my attention, when I first attended a Toastmasters session with the club, and they made a difference when I decided to join.

Primely, the warm welcome I received. I was a little shy as I was facing people I had just met. But the more I listened to the reassuring words form the other members, the more I felt at ease, and I had a great time at this first meeting. Secondly, I appreciated the structured agenda and the flow of a typical meeting. Everything ran so smoothly with no time to be idle or be bored. Also, the fun and relaxed atmosphere in the meeting was a big plus, it didn’t feel as though the participants took themselves too seriously. In these conditions, it becomes easier to learn and have fun at the same time. Finally, the fact the club is bilingual made a big difference for me. I saw a great opportunity to improve my English in a safe environment.

You recently reached an important step in the Toastmasters journey : the Icebreaker speech. Congratulations ! Can you tell us more about it ?

Indeed, the Icebreaker speech officially marks the beginning of our journey with Toastmasters. On a personal level, the experience was really rewarding. I chose to talk about the reasons for my professional career redirection. It was the first time I brought up this subject from certain angles facing an audience that was not a familiar one. I am really proud of myself !

You told me also participated in the Toastmasters BaseCamp event last June. Can you tell us a bit more about this event ? Did it help you in preparing for your first speech ?  

To be honest, I hesitated a bit before registering for this event. In hindsight, I think I would have missed a great opportunity had I not participated in it. It felt like a Toastmasters club meeting club, but with many more members attending. I was able to share views and to learn a bit more about some public speaking techniques. It also gave me a chance to interact with people of various abilities in public speaking. The new members helped me tackle the fear of speaking in pubic, and the experienced members gave me great tips to improve the structure of my speech.

Finally, can you tell us about elements you found helpful in your personal or professional life, as a result of your Toastmasters experience with our club ?

The experience has been a big change for me ! Learning about various presentation  techniques, practicing prepared or improvised speaking in a group, or receiving/giving feedback, definitely made me improve my public speaking skills. Whether on personal or professional level, I can see amazing progress in just a few weeks. In fact, I enjoy speaking in public more and more !

Thank you Ericka and see you soon for a Toastmasters meeting at our club !


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