Rochelle Rice with Pat Johnson, International President of Toastmasters International

Rochelle Rice with Pat Johnson, International President of Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International’s Accredited Speaker Program acknowledges members who regularly demonstrate expert public speaking skills. This past week I was thrilled to be accepted as an Accredited Speaker after delivering my speech "'Til Breath Do Us Part."

The Accredited Speaker is the highest earned designation from Toastmasters International for outstanding professional platform speaking, held by only 60 members from the current 260,000 membership in 113 countries.

I began the journey back in November 2009 when I submitted my application with references and an audio tape of one of my speeches. To pass the second level, my speech was 25 minutes long with five anonymous judges in the audience. Four out of five of the judges had to pass me.

What was most important to me was to know in my heart I had delivered the speech to the best of my ability with passion and a commitment to my work.

Celebrating!  Pat Lewis, Paul Jones, Rochelle Rice, Karol Ward, Penelope Boehm

Celebrating! Pat Lewis, Paul Jones, Rochelle Rice, Karol Ward, Penelope Boehm

The entire process reminded me of how exhilarating it is to reach one's goal - whatever your goal may be. The one thing I forgot this time around was all that comes after reaching your goal. As in weight management, there is now a "maintenance plus" routine that must take place in my professional life. I must continue to strive to deliver the best speeches I can, much like the woman who continues to chose the appropriate food and activity for her life. And I must look to continue to develop my growth as a speaker, much like the woman who fills her life with energetic nourishment and not the people and things that deplete you.

With my sincere thanks to all of you who lifted, held and supported me in this professional quest. I couldn't have done it without you!