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New Bern Toastmasters’ Claudia-Jean Virga received a standing ovation for her TEDxEustis talk

Claudia-Jean Virga at TEDxEustis

New Bern Toastmasters’ Claudia-Jean Virga received a standing ovation for her TEDxEustis talk “Challenging Your Conscious Bias” at the AMC Theatre in Mt. Dora, Florida on Saturday, January 30, 2021. Toastmasters’ member since 2012, Virga is not new to the TEDx stage. Her first appearance was in 2017 in Ocala, Florida, with her talk “Living Authentically is Risky Business”.

“Presenting a TEDx talk is a huge accomplishment. No matter how much work and time I thought it would take, it was much more. [It] ‘takes a village’ to write and deliver a great TEDx talk. My club now, [New Bern Toastmasters member since June 2020] helped me put the finishing touches on my script and on my delivery.”

Honored by organizers as the TEDx event’s closing speaker, Virga stated “never been prouder of my delivery” when asked about her performance. “The support of family, friends, colleagues, and Toastmasters helped me cross the finish line. “

Through Toastmasters, members learn the basics of crafting and delivering speeches.  Meetings are structured to help members overcome fear of public speaking, hone speaking skills, prepare for job interviews, and develop leadership skills in a positive, supportive, self-paced learning environment. Toastmasters provides the more seasoned speaker, like Claudia-Jean Virga, with opportunities to develop and fine-tune special capabilities, enlist the feedback of members and practice presentations for professional and competitive events.

New Bern Toastmasters, like many clubs in the area, suffered first from the aftereffects of Hurricane Florence, and then the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown. Thanks to the assistance of Toastmasters International and the dedicated efforts of club members, the club has persevered. Under the current leadership of President Elainia White, the club is once again flourishing and steadily rebuilding its membership. After meeting for several months via ZOOM, the club has resumed socially distanced, mask-wearing in-person meetings.

New Bern Toastmasters Club meets every first and third Monday night at 7:00 p.m. at Keller Williams Realty training facility, 1320 McCarthy Blvd., New Bern. Guests are always welcome!

Find us at: newbern.toastmastersclubs.org/ and on Facebook at Toastmasters International – New Bern, N.C. Chapter or contact President, Elainia White at (252) 639-8912.

About Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Founded in October 1924, the organization currently has more than 280,000 members in 13,500-plus clubs in 116 countries. Each week, Toastmasters helps more than a quarter million people of every ethnicity, education level and profession build their competence in communication so they can gain the confidence to lead others. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit toastmasters.org. Follow @Toastmasters International on Twitter.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the TED Translators Program, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a “wish,” or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

By Heather Noto, New Bern Toastmasters Club Secretary