BY SARA MILLER
Members of the Ebony Toastmasters chapter met at St. Matthews Barnacode to hear motivational speaker, Flex Farley share his knowledge on public speaking and how to build a professional and successful career out of it. Dressed in a light blue blazer with blue shoes to match, Farley spoke to a lively crowd that was packed with professionals, close friends and curious visitors hungry for his knowledge. Toronto native Flex Farley has had a successful career in the music industry, formerly managing the rap career of Canadian music pioneer, Maestro Fresh-Wes as well as holding the position as a judge on the television series, Canadian Idol.
The room was filled to capacity as Farley touched on several topics, first starting with how individuals can monetize a career out of public speaking. He first asked the audience an important question: “What are the necessities of life?”“Food” one male member said. “Shelter” another one said. “Finances” a woman said.
But for Farley, his answer to what motivates him and his career was much simpler: “For me its love,” he said. “Love for me, defines my thought process. What do I love about myself, what do I love about others around me. I define myself for myself so others don’t define me for me. If you let other define you for you, you’ll find decisions being made on your behalf. If we talk about the monetization of anything, we have to understand how much performance we can get out of our potential.”
Another important factor that Farley said was crucial to creating a successful speaking career was passion, something he sees in twenty year old singer/song writer, Charmie Deller, whom he praised for her dedication and talent. With her sweet voice and guitar in hand, Deller performed two of her original songs flawlessly in front of the crowd with ease, earning a jovial applause from Farley and every single person in the room.
From a young age Farley had always had a knack for speaking in front of people, with his parents encouraging him and his siblings to express their thoughts and feelings whether it was through singing, poems or playing an instrument.
“I’ve been speaking since I was about five years old,” he said. “I grew up in a family where Sunday after church when we got back home, we had to present something. It could be singing a song or playing an instrument or some rationale as to why you are who you are. It was standard protocol.”
At the end of his presentation, club President, Rita Burke awarded Farley with an honorary Ebony Toastmaster’s status and an invitation to return to speak to club members again.
“Mr. Farley said several things that will resonate with me even when this evening is over. One of those things is: ‘if you respond to what I say, then you are engaged,” said Burke. “I am sure that you have said many things that will undoubtedly leave marks on the minds of the people who attended this evening.”
District Director, Elton Brown as well as long time mentor, Deborah Austin were also recognized for their dedicated contributions to the club.
Ebony Toastmasters is a local chapter based off of Toastmaster’s International, a non-profit organization that helps individuals improve their public speaking and leadership skills. At a meeting, members regularly give speeches and receive important constructive feedback from other members as well as club mentors. Currently, Toastmaster’s International boasts more than 332,000 memberships with over 15,000 local clubs available in 135 countries.
Ebony Toastmasters meet Monday evenings (excluding holidays) at 6:45 pm in St. Matthew’s Bracondale House.