KOHLER — Kohler SpeakEz, Chapter 1816 of Toastmasters International is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
On January 18th, Sheboygan’s Mayor Mike Vandersteen took to the lectern at Kohler Design Center, as the keynote speaker. His topic was leadership and public speaking. Vandersteen told his story of starting with DuBois Formalwear in Green Bay, shining shoes and pressing clothes and eventually being asked to take a sales position.
When the owner opened a shop in Sheboygan, Vandersteen was selected to be its manager. The owner told him to get involved with the community and he joined the Sheboygan Jaycees. After working on Richard Suscha’s campaign for mayor, which was a success, the new mayor asked Vandersteen to serve on a committee and from there he became involved in politics, serving as a city alderman and county supervisor, including the chairman of the county board.
He ran for mayor in 1997 and was unsuccessful, but ran again in 2013 and succeeded. His story of step by step learning, going slow and proceeding forward resonated with the Toastmasters group and the public attendees.
One week later, Laura Kohler, Senior Vice-President of Human Resources & Stewardship spoke on the topics of stewardship and sustainability. She began by speaking of time spent in theater while in high school and college at Duke University and that speaking came naturally to her.
Her story of a speech gone bad reminded the audience that things do not always go as planned and all that can be done is to recover and continue. She then shared tips on delivering an effective speech, including knowing your audience and what message they are expecting to hear.
Kohler, daughter of Herbert V. Kohler Jr., also spoke of the company’s interest in helping others through the stewardship program and gave examples of corporate involvement in the community, both locally and internationally.
The Kohler Co. sponsored club is open to the public and meets at Kohler Company’s Human Resources Building in the Kohler Learning Academy, every first, third and fifth Thursday of the month, starting at 12:10 PM and ending at 1:00 PM.
Speaking has been at the top of the list of most feared things to do. Investing time to improve speaking and leadership skills, in a non-threatening environment, will give participants more confidence and improve self-help techniques.
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