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Journalism alumnus is public speaking champion

September 5, 2012

In 2005, Ryan Avery graduated from Humble High School in Humble, Texas.

Seven years later, he is well past his “Humble” beginnings after becoming the youngest-ever World Champion of Public Speaking through Toastmasters, an international organization focused on helping members become better communicators.

Dream big

He was known to his friends simply as “Avery” when he was a student at Colorado State University.  As a journalism and anthropology double major, as well as a staff member at the Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation, Avery was well known for his work ethic, enthusiasm and positive attitude.  For years, his theme in life has been "Dream Big."

After graduating in 2009, Avery turned those qualities into a job as director of marketing and communications for Special Olympics of Oregon. He then decided that he had something to say, and that he should say it well. Although he had only one public speaking course under his belt from CSU, he was determined to develop his voice.

“It took lots of practice to get to this point!” says Avery. “In my bedroom I have a sign that says, ‘What would Michael Phelps do?’ If he could get up early to practice every day, so could I. I also have lots of mentors, and my wife was incredibly supportive. The process has helped me grow as a person and realize that Toastmasters is an amazingly supportive organization.”

Hundreds of speeches

According to the Portland Oregonian, Avery’s journey to the national championship involved hundreds of speeches, and more than 30,000 competitors from 116 countries. The actual Toastmasters International tournament began six months ago, with many rounds of competition leading to the August 2012 finals in Orlando, Fla.

Contact: Greg Luft
Phone: (970) 491-1979