Toastmasters helps people become better speakers and leaders through education and speeches followed with useful evaluations. I joined in April of 2013 and have grown immensely since. With Toastmasters, I went to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the 2014 Toastmasters International Convention. I was club president with the Cargill Trademasters Club in Minneapolis, and am currently president with the ASCE Toastmasters in Bethesda, MD.
In 2015, I participated in the International Speech Contest with my speech “Diving Boards”, winning my club, area, and division. I placed 2nd in the Division 36 Contest to Joey Jones, who advanced to the World Championship of Public Speaking in Las Vegas.
Toastmasters is a safe place to coach, be coached, and improve skills that will help you wherever life takes you. You can check out our Bethesda club here, or ask me for more information!
There are 197 countries and 7 billion people out there, and I intend to visit and talk with as many of them as possible. I learned fluent Spanish at age 21, and proceeded to teach myself French and Portuguese. Incidentally, if you would like to learn French, Tex’s French is a spectacular resource out of the University of Texas, the Sorbonne of the Americas.
Countries I have visited/lived in include (in order):
- The United Kingdom
- South Africa
- Burkina Faso
In May of 2014, I ran my first Ironman in 14 hours and 4 minutes. I ran it with my friends Bill and Tony in Houston, TX. On October 1st of 2016, we ran the Ironman Maryland in Cambridge, MD. The race started immediately before a thunderstorm, so the swim (which was to take place in 3+ foot waves in the Chesapeake Bay) had to be canceled. This reduced our Ironman to a duathlon and drew some vitriolic feedback from athletes who had traveled from other continents to compete. The thunderstorm hit during the bike, and the marathon took us through 18 stretches of incoming tide water that were each several hundred yards long. I finished second of our group of six, which I considered pretty respectable considering the maniacs I had come with. You can see my results here.
The Ironman is the longest of the standard triathlons, and consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile (marathon) run. Training lasts 6 months and can be done in as little as 8 hours per week. Let me know if you would like to join me for part of it! You can read more about the race here.
Coursera gives me the chance to satisfy my academic wanderlust by delving into new areas or review new topics in my own area. Courses I have taken so far include:
- Machine Learning – Andrew Ng, Stanford University
- Financial Markets – Robert Shiller, Yale University
- An Introduction to American Law – Various Professors, University of Pennsylvania