Spa Speakers

Member’s Stories

Speaking and leading with confidence, thanks to Spa Speakers

Speaking and leading with confidence, thanks to Spa Speakers
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Fiona Clayton

Former President and Social Secretary at Spa Speakers
I sought out Spa Speakers because I work with some very good public speakers and I was inspired to improve my own communication skills. But I didn’t realise just how much I would benefit. My confidence to stand up and speak in front of others has grown massively and this has been noticed by my work colleagues. By taking part in a number of roles in the club I believe I’ve become a better leader and facilitator.
Fiona Clayton
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I find I never know when my Spa Speakers experience is going to come in handy but when those moments arrive the confidence to stand up and have my voice heard is very reassuring. I was recently at an Amnesty…

Fuel Not Fear: Seeing Failure Differently

Fuel Not Fear: Seeing Failure Differently
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Harriet Cummings

Novelist, script writer and member at Spa Speakers
Harriet is a debut novelist with a background in history of art and gender studies. As a script writer, she’s had work performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as independent venues around London. While studying at Faber Academy, Harriet threw herself into her first novel and hasn’t looked back since. We are very lucky to have her as our Vice President of Education.
Harriet Cummings
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Latest posts by Harriet Cummings (see all)

My name is Harriet Cummings and I am a failure. I’ve failed at many things throughout my life so far – from my grade 7 piano exam, to learning French and baking cheese soufflette. But why am I telling you…

Marina O’Callaghan, DTM and founder member of Spa Speakers shares her story

Marina O’Callaghan, DTM and founder member of Spa Speakers shares her story

Marina O'Callaghan

Founder member and DTM at Spa Speakers
Marina has had a truly distinguished career with Toastmasters. Since joining Oxford Speakers Club in late 2000, she has been a VPM, a Club President and Area Governor, helped launch two clubs (Spa Speakers and Bicester Achievers Club), and has earned the highest award at Toastmasters, the fabled Distinguished Toastmaster Award (DTM). Marina is currently taking a break due to health reasons, though still mentors 2 very lucky Toastmasters.
Marina O'Callaghan

Latest posts by Marina O'Callaghan (see all)

Dear Spa Speakers, Marina O’Callaghan was an instrumental figure in founding Spa Speakers and kindly shared her account of how our favourite club got off the ground back in 2004. Thank you Marina, we continue to benefit from the great…

An introduction to the peculiar customs of Toastmasters clubs

An introduction to the peculiar customs of Toastmasters clubs

Sally Lewis

Former club president at Spa Speakers
It was with grim reluctance a couple of years ago that I crossed the threshold into my first Spa Speakers meeting. Feeling much more comfortable in an audience than under a spotlight, my preference would have definitely been for there not to be a need to join a public speaking club. However, my best endeavours to secure a job that didn't require me to make myself understood through the spoken word had proved unsuccessful, so in the interests of professional survival I came along to Spa Speakers. Once I got over the initial perplexity of the Toastmaster meeting etiquette (clapping, handshakes and the opening address), I could see that it would be my best chance at having a 'safe environment' to practice speaking skills, develop confidence and learn from some very talented members.

I still don't quite know how I've ended up as the 2014/15 Club President, it certainly hasn't been borne out of a newfound love of hearing my own voice. However, it is something of which I'm so proud. I like to think we have a really friendly group of diversely interesting members which in itself seems to attract more of the same from new guests, most of whom choose to become members. So whilst I still struggle to see past the irony that I - an employee who still makes heartfelt efforts to avoid giving presentations at work - can call myself President of a public speaking club, there's a lot of pride in the fact that for this year I'm heading up such a great group of people.

So a little about myself: I've worked in various analytical roles in the energy industry for nearly 10 years and am currently working in electricity regulation. Outside work, if I'm not at a Spa Speakers meeting I can sometimes be found on a spinning bike at the gym or on a (not particularly long) run, sweating it out whilst probably mulling over what might be a good topic for my next speech. For me it's all about calories-in/calories-out and these activities are definitely a means to an end ... which for me is wanting to minimise the guilt I feel when indulging in my top pastime: eating vast quantities of Maltesers. I'm also a great procrastinator and love to peruse news sites when I'm meant to be doing more productive activities.
Sally Lewis

Latest posts by Sally Lewis (see all)

It’s been quite a while since taking my first tentative steps across the threshold of Helen Ley into the illustrious public speaking world of Toastmasters. But I have to say, despite the time that has elapsed since then, I have…

Martyn Tilson – The Story of Spa Speakers

Martyn Tilson – The Story of Spa Speakers

Martyn Tilson

Founder at Spa Speakers
Martyn Tilson has always lived in the county. Trained as an accountant he ran his own business in the 80's. After 12 years in employment and health & safety, he has spent the last 10 years managing a narrowboat marina near Southam. He has been both an Area and Division Governor before achieving his Distinguished Toastmaster Award in 2009. He is still active in voluntary work, concentrating on being chair of trustees for PRCF (prcf.org.uk).Martyn has a large family including 12 grandchildren(!)
Martyn Tilson

Latest posts by Martyn Tilson (see all)

Dear Members We have a very very special article for you. Founder of Spa Speakers Martyn Tilson has been kind enough to write an account of how he set up our club back 2004. We owe Martyn a big thank…

Joining Spa Speakers: Louise’s Story

Joining Spa Speakers: Louise’s Story

Louise Weickert

Former Vice President of Public Relations and Secretary at Spa Speakers
In my day job I am a developer of environmental management information systems. Like the majority of our members I joined because I wanted to improve my presentation skills. I am married and have 2 sons. If I’m not on the sidelines watching my kids' sporting triumphs I like to run (slowly) and we also have an allotment which needs regular TLC.
Louise Weickert

Latest posts by Louise Weickert (see all)

Dear Toastmasters, Louise Weickert, who has served on the committee and has achieved the Advanced Communicator Bronze and Advanced Leader Bronze awards has shared her story with Spa Speakers. Big thanks to Louise for this article, and for her ongoing…

We did it! We won the President’s Distinguished Award:)

We did it! We won the President’s Distinguished Award:)
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Spa Speakers

Spa Speakers is a lively public speaking club based in Leamington Spa. Our mission is to help people like you become more confident communicators and leaders, no matter what your current level and experience.

The best way to find out if it’s for you is to try it! Visit us as a guest, totally free, with no obligation to join, and see if we have something to offer you.
Spa Speakers
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Latest posts by Spa Speakers (see all)

It’s time to celebrate: Spa Speakers has achieved the President’s Distinguished Club Award in 2017/2018! Woohoo! It’s the 12th time the club has won the highest accolade on the Distinguished Club Program in the 14 years we’ve been going and demonstrates…

Congratulations Fiona, Area 39 Evaluation Champion!

Congratulations Fiona, Area 39 Evaluation Champion!
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Spa Speakers

Spa Speakers is a lively public speaking club based in Leamington Spa. Our mission is to help people like you become more confident communicators and leaders, no matter what your current level and experience.

The best way to find out if it’s for you is to try it! Visit us as a guest, totally free, with no obligation to join, and see if we have something to offer you.
Spa Speakers
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Latest posts by Spa Speakers (see all)

Fiona Clayton knocked it out of the park again! On 8th April, she went head-to-head with the 5 best speech evaluators in our area and proved the quality of her craft by taking the top spot at the contest! Absolutely…

Two STARs in one month!

Two STARs in one month!
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Spa Speakers

Spa Speakers is a lively public speaking club based in Leamington Spa. Our mission is to help people like you become more confident communicators and leaders, no matter what your current level and experience.

The best way to find out if it’s for you is to try it! Visit us as a guest, totally free, with no obligation to join, and see if we have something to offer you.
Spa Speakers
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Latest posts by Spa Speakers (see all)

We’ve been awarding members who have made an extraordinary leap in their speaking or have contributed to the club in an exceptional way our STAR award on a monthly basis. This March, we saw fit to award two STAR awards…

Joining Spa Speakers: Zoe’s Story

Joining Spa Speakers: Zoe’s Story

Zoe Eccleson

Much loved former Vice President of Membership at Spa Speakers
Like many I joined Spa Speakers purely to improve my public speaking techniques. My professional background is within Project Management where I worked for 13 years on numerous Telecommunications and Highways projects. I love most sport but after several injuries, I reluctantly decided to hang up my football boots and gracefully retire taking up tennis as my new chosen sport! I am married to Peter and have 2 children (Rory & Zara).
Zoe Eccleson

Latest posts by Zoe Eccleson (see all)

  Our former Vice President of Membership shares what her first 9 months at Spa Speakers was like! I’ve been attending Toastmaster meetings at Spa Speakers for nearly 9 months now. I remember the first night I attended in mid…