Member Profile – Barb Sapienza

Why did you join Toastmasters?

I joined Toastmasters to improve my public speaking skills.  My first experience with public speaking was several years ago, and it did not go well.  As the parent of a child with kidney disease, my son’s doctor asked me to give a presentation to other parents explaining how I managed his fluid and liquid restrictions, and how our family coped with his chronic illness.  It didn’t seem like a difficult task, but when I went in front of the audience, my hands shook quite noticeably and I spoke too fast.  I was disappointed with my nervousness and promised myself that someday I would overcome my nervousness and be a better public speaker. 

What’s the greatest benefit you’ve received from Toastmasters?

In addition to improving my public speaking skills, the greatest benefit I’ve received from being a member of our Toastmaster Club has been the support and encouragement of our members.  I was particularly impressed with how many of our members supported me, not only in Toastmaster activities, but also in other ways.  For instance, when my mom died in October of 2009, many of the members of our Club came to the funeral home and sent cards to me.  The South County Toastmasters Club is a group of people who create an inviting, encouraging and supportive environment.   

What has been the most difficult or challenging role for you as Toastmaster?

I am technologically inept, so the most challenging role for me is being the camera operator.  I am from the “old-school”, having started my career as a medical transcriptionist with a typewriter.  We used three pieces of carbon and had to press really hard on the keys.  My fingers ached after typing for 8 hours each day.  I’ll never forget my amazement the first time I used a correctable typewriter.  For me, the advancements in technology are unbelievable.  As soon as I master a new technology, it becomes obsolete!  But I am trying to keep up, and thankfully, our members have been very patient and helpful.       

What are some of your interests outside of Toastmasters?

I am a member of the South County Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) and a member of the Deans’ Assistants Group (DAG).  I am currently the Chair of the Mentoring Committee for DAG.  I would like to help others advance in the administrative field by sharing what I’ve learned during my career.

What’s one for your favorite quotes?

One of my favorite quotes is, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it,” by Charles Swindoll.

Tell us something we don’t know about you.

I played the accordion when I was a child.  My brother played the guitar and the two of us would play at nursing homes.  We actually played on a local radio station.

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