Conference Workshop Presenters

“The Art of Asking Questions” by Melody Byrd & Debra Blackmon-Parrish

In this workshop, they will share strategies on asking questions, problem-solving, building confidence and getting results. People who attend their workshop will learn that: “A major stimulant to creative thinking is focused questions.” (–Brian Tracy)

Come join them and learn how progressive question and asking skills can make a difference in your personal and professional life.

Coach Melody Byrd CC, CL – Speaker, Trainer, Writer- serves as the VPPR of Christ Universal Temple Club #3 for the past two years. She has worked as an IT Consultant for over 15 years and within that time, interviewed hundreds of clients asking basic to specific questions to get detailed information for creating software-design documentation.

Debra Blackmon-Parrish M.Ed., CC, ALB – D103 Immediate Past South 54 Area Director now serves as the President of Christ Universal Temple Club #3 and Coach/Mentor for the Lemont Toastmasters Club. Debra worked as an Educator, Union Delegate, Local School Council and Teacher Pension Representative with Chicago Public Schools for 34 years; within that time she served with a team to negotiate and solve problems for her colleagues, students, and parents.


“Leading with Humor — 4 Feedback Strategies” by Justin Lopez, M.A.

Feedback is as much about you, as it is about them. In professional settings, getting and giving feedback feels daunting. We’ll explore how to use behavioral economics, psychology, and humor in finding ways to make feedback count.

Justin Lopez, M.A. brings to life the opportunities that exist in our own development through giving and receiving feedback. With years of extensive research and his own personal experiences, he is able to effectively connect and engage with others with humor.


“The Art of Effective Evaluations” by Allen Green

We will work on learning ways to give valuable and beneficial feedback to speakers in a kind way. We want them to feel safe and to know we sincerely care about their growth and improvement. This will be a hands-on workshop.

Allen Green has been a member since 2001. He has served in many club officer roles and was VP of PR for the district promoting Toastmasters throughout Chicago. Allen believes in making his club a safe place for speakers as well as evaluators and champions training others to evaluate effectively and in a kind manner.


“There is a Character ‘I’ in Team” by Kailas Girase

Kailas Girase is a motivational speaker and personal productivity expert in Chicagoland. He is a member of the National Speakers Association’s Illinois chapter. Currently serving as a Division Director for Toastmasters District 103. He had an opportunity of being committee chair for the prestigious world championship of Toastmasters 2018. Being a software engineer, Kailas talks about technology tools available personal productivity and team collaboration. People enjoy his speeches because of the creative way of delivering a motivational message. His family includes caring mother, two toddler wonder daughters, and a lovely wife. He is a proficient speaker in three different languages. He does poetry and contributes to social work.


“Relating to your Audience” by Dushun Mosley, DTM

Whether you are presenting to a small group of 20 or a large group of 200, there are many things you can do in advance to ensure that your presentation achieves the desired response. You can learn the logistics of your venue. Most importantly, you can know and understand your audience.

Before you approach the stage, it may be hard to find out what your audience came for, unless it is your Toastmasters Club. Therefore, your goal is to structure your speech in a manner to learn more about your audience. You must get to know them on the stage, and they must get to know you from the stage.

This fun workshop will have audience participation and cover;
* Researching your topic
* Greeting your audience at the door
* Using “call-and-response” techniques.