This Girl is 13!
By Lisa Rider, DTM, Charter Member of Girl Talk
Fifteen years ago, five women had intersected each other’s lives, but circumstances had taken them all in different directions, either personally or professionally. They worked at staying in touch and finally decided “we must do lunch” at Makoto’s Japanese Grill. Besides flying shrimp and dancing rice, ideas began to fly across the table about forming a Toastmasters club for girls only.
It was not because we didn’t like men, but we knew how important female support was to one another. Our lunch that day proved how we all longed for that special connection. Please note: Men are always welcome to visit, either to support their significant others giving speeches, for a special event, or to simply learn anything transferable to any other club meetings. Some join us to collect Ambassador points. Men are also warmly welcomed and invited to participate in our meeting. (Secret: When we met in person, we told them to bring chocolate, and it worked!)
A “Girls Only” club???
Could we start it? Would it work? As a single woman, I thought, “Oh great, more women”, but I went along with it because I knew that that’s where my best support always came from.
As we worked on the legalities, and there were some, we began to think about who we were going to be, and what would be our key differentiators. What we came up with has been a solid foundation for what has worked for 13 years and counting!
It Takes Commitment
We were committed to help women grow confidence, enhance careers, and enrich their personal lives through networking and support. We wanted to be a safe place for women of all ages and backgrounds to gain communication and leadership skills by interfacing with other dynamic and diverse women.
We have had ladies from India, Brazil, Romania, Ukraine, England, Norway, Russia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Iran, Hungary, Moldova, Nigeria, Canada, Thailand, and the Philippines who wanted to improve their English and learn to communicate effectively. We also have ladies from Levittown, Boston, Long Island, California, Melbourne, New Jersey, Eau Gallie, Palm Bay and Houston who also need to improve theirs.
Through these networking and learning opportunities, proof of gained confidence has been displayed by job promotions, buying or starting businesses, starting a rock band, and competing in contests, to highlight a few. So far, Girl Talk is proud of having four District 84 Contest Champions as members. Three are District 84 Evaluation Contest winners, which means that you get exceptionally valuable feedback if you are a member of Girl Talk.
When we meet in person for special occasions, we have a business table where cards, brochures or products can be displayed to support and highlight our members’ businesses. Members are encouraged to share the same information online under their profiles. Many great business connections or collaborations have already taken place.
From professional points of view, our diverse membership includes Executives, Upper Management, Program Management, Training with Aerospace companies, home-based businesses, Doctors, Veterinarians, or Administrators in the health field, Entrepreneurs, Realtors and Investment Advisors. We also have homemakers and retired women who add to the rich color and diversity of Girl Talk.
We provided emotional support wherever they were in their lives or careers, by creating a warm, welcoming, accepting environment. We have celebrated engagements and marriages, welcomed new babies, celebrated new jobs, supported each other through employment or career heartbreaks, and said farewells to loved ones.
Our Virtual Tribe
Since COVID interrupted our usual way to meet, we began to connect online. That was quite different, but beautiful in its own way. It meant so very much to each of us to still have our Tribe available, even if only virtually. During that time, we picked up members from around the world. Because they have been such a great addition to Girl Talk, we have no immediate plans to resume in-person meetings. We will just keep our meetings on every 2nd and 4th Tuesday at 6:30 EST online: https://zoom.us/j/275230726.
Helping women improve their confidence through solid, effective communication has enriched their lives and careers. The friendships and networking connections continue to grow and multiply in ways we never imagined. Overall, the networking and support of Girl Talk, through the amazing women who have visited, stayed, and even those who left, have made a lingering imprint.
It has been a rewarding and FUN 13 years. We can’t wait to experience what comes next!
Meet The Fabulous Five, who had the vision: (left to right) Deb Steininger, Cathy Batcher, Lisa Rider, Gail Sullivan, Anita Lytle.