The latest Faces of Four highlights Greg Cummings, a District veteran. Greg has served as Area Director an amazing 4.8 times as well as held a variety of club mentoring positions. Let’s take a moment to get to know Greg.
Tell us a little about your Toastmasters career (e.g. How long have you been with the organization, what clubs do you belong to, what made you join, etc.).
I joined Toastmasters in 2000. I am a consulting engineer, and in 1999 my supervisor suggested that I could improve my presentation skills by joining Toastmasters (we made it one of my performance goals). I joined Oakland City Center Toastmasters in 2000 and was their President in 2001. In 2002 I changed jobs and transferred my membership to Crownmasters. At my new employer they found out about my Toastmaster experience and asked me to help start a corporate club – Watermasters. I’ve been a member of Crownmasters since 2002, except for 2014-2015 when I transferred to Pucksters to be closer to a temporary work location. My favorite role in Toastmasters is Area Governor (now Area Director) – officially I’ve had this role 4.8 times (in 2015-2016 I took over Area D2 in October). I’m working on my fourth DTM (not very quickly, unfortunately – Jim Ferrer’s going to lap me this year).
How has Toastmasters helped you in your professional career?
As a consulting engineer I’m required to help sell our work to potential clients and to give technical presentations. Toastmasters has given me the confidence to enjoy public speaking – after being in Toastmasters for a few years, I realized that I had progressed from literally dreading being called up to speak, to excitedly anticipating getting started talking! I stay in Toastmasters to keep that speaking excitement.
What is the best public speaking advice you’ve ever received?
“Most, if not all of the audience, would never know if you forgot a small piece of your speech.”
Early on, I would depend on my notes and repeat points I thought I had forgotten. Several experienced members reminded me that most, if not all, of the audience would never know if I had forgotten a small piece of my speech, and so the lesson was not to worry so much about forgetting something.
What has surprised you the most about yourself since you joined Toastmasters?
I used to participate in public speaking when I was in high school, and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed that. Toastmasters has reminded me that I truly enjoy public speaking.
What are your interests and hobbies outside of Toastmasters?
My wife and I like to travel – especially to see our daughter in Austin. I also enjoy reading history, snowboarding, and hiking.
How would you describe the perfect meal?
At home it would be pasta, bread, salad, and wine. However, there are so many good restaurants in San Francisco that my wife and I try to go to a new one each Sunday – and even with that we haven’t made a dent in going to most of them.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I enjoy learning languages. When I was in college there were too many required engineering classes, so I’ve been taking classes at City College for almost 25 years. So far I’ve taken classes in French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, and now I’m learning German.
What questions do you have for Gregg? Please feel free to leave a comment for him below!