Meet District 39’s First Accredited Speaker Donny Crandell
By Kristi Beres
On August 26, 2017, at the Toastmasters International Conference in Vancouver, Canada, Donny Crandell became the first speaker from District 39 and one of only 75 Toastmasters to achieve the Accredited Speaker award. Crandell, a 2016 World Championship of Public Speaking finalist shares his thoughts about his journey on becoming an Accredited Speaker.
When did you join Toastmasters?
I joined five years ago. My first Club was Placer’s Gold in Auburn, California.
What is the Accredited Speakers Award?
Toastmasters recognizes professional speakers with a rare, prestigious designation called, “Accredited Speaker.” Through a rigorous application process and video submission, the candidate must pass level 1. After that, it’s off to level two, speaking at the International Conference Accredited Speaker forum.
What is the screening process like?
It’s an arduous journey but well worth it. The level one video is judged by five judges and you must receive a 70 % scoring on average. You also have to complete 25 speaking engagements within a three year period. Fifteen of those 25 speeches must include audiences of 20 or more who paid to hear you speak. You also must have five endorsement letters from those fifteen paid engagements. A record of the location and the amount of pay received was submitted with the application.
How did you find out about the Accredited Speakers program?
I first heard about it through Emma Santa from our district, and later from [AS] Sheryl Roush when she presented a seminar on the subject at a district conference in Stockton.
Who helped you refine your Accredited Speakers presentation?
I received the best feedback from Jeffrey Purtee and other Toastmasters in the Reno area.
How was preparing for the Accredited Speakers finals similar or different than preparing for the semifinals of the World Champion of Public Speaking?
The biggest difference for me was that I didn’t have to memorize this presentation, but I did memorize my International speech. There is far less pressure with the Accredited Speaker’s accreditation because I was not competing against anyone but myself and the judges. And most importantly, you’re not disqualified for going over time.
When did you find out you were a finalist?
I found out that I passed level 1 on May 19, 2017. The night before I competed in the District 39 International contest in Anderson, California.
Who are the judges who judge you and the other Accredited Speakers finalists?
There are five anonymous judges at both levels; the video presentation and for the live presentation at the International Conference.
What were the highlights of the Toastmasters International convention?
Speaking at the Accredited Speaker program and earning the designation. I also enjoyed a bike ride around Stanley Park and having a late night visit with friends from Sacramento and Reno at the Marriot Pinnacle restaurant.
Now that you are an Accredited Speaker- what do you hope to do next?
I want to continue working as a professional speaker, but not yet ready to quit my day jobs. I also plan on competing to be the World Champion of Public Speaking. I will continue speaking as much as possible, in as many venues as possible, to be the best speaker I can possibly be. I still have plenty to learn to be a professional speaker.