Ola Popoola: How Toastmasters has boosted my career
Many OP colleagues belong to the Lakeside Speakeasy chapter of Toastmasters International, an organization that provides affordable communication and leadership training in a friendly and supportive environment. Club members meet weekly on Thursdays from 12:05 – 12:55 p.m. (PT).
Wondering if Toastmasters is for you? Read on to learn how it benefitted your colleague Ola Popoola.
How Toastmasters benefitted Director of Reporting and Analytics Ola Popoola
Title: Director of Reporting and Analytics, Institutional Research and Academic Planning
Time worked at UCOP: 10 years, 2 months
Time as a Toastmasters member: 10 years
Why did you join Toastmasters? I felt that I wasn’t truly seen, and wanted to learn more about how to use my voice effectively. Especially when you’re a person of color, there is sometimes the fear of speaking out. I would often acquiesce rather than speak up about what I really think. Well, not anymore! Toastmasters taught me how to share my perspective in a way that people can accept and embrace it.
What’s an achievement that you attribute to Toastmasters? When I first joined, I was not in a leadership position. Since then, I’ve been promoted three times. Toastmasters taught me how to self-advocate, influence and lead.
How is Toastmasters different from other types of professional development? It’s a kinder environment. Members — like Karen Vecchi, Gemma Waterhouse and Sally Philbin — care about you and want to help you grow. There are no ulterior motives or competition. You grow at your own pace, and there is no pressure to do more than you want to.
Can you share some advice on public speaking that you’ve learned through Toastmasters? To be effective at public speaking, you have to become comfortable with who you truly are — comfortable in your own skin, and being yourself, and also having an awareness of those around you. True public speaking is really about telling people what’s on your mind, and in your heart. It’s never about pretending to be someone that you’re not. Find what moves you and operate from there.
Have you recommended Toastmasters to colleagues? I’ve referred quite a few people to Toastmasters over the years, including my direct reports. I see a huge difference in people who’ve gone through the program. They find their voices!Tags: Ola Popoola, Toastmasters