Helen Campbell was a quiet, almost timid woman in her mid-60s who had been a social worker and was a massage therapist at Stanford when I met her. Hardly a person you’d expect to win awards for dynamic public speaking. Yet she won PowerSpeaking’s Golden Mic Award in 1993.
This is her story
I first met Helen in Toastmasters. To become a massage therapist for dying patients at Stanford she went up against a science-based medical establishment. She described one compelling story during her journey in my book, PowerSpeaking: How Ordinary People Can Make Extraordinary Presentations:
Helen went on to tell her story of compassion to an enthralled audience at a National Speakers’ Association meeting in San Francisco.
Now in retirement, I spend days sorting through boxes of tapes, photos, newsletters, etc. I came across a letter she wrote during this process:
I hope you realize how grateful I am to you for all you have done for me. I wouldn’t have even considered doing a NSA Showcase without your suggesting it, or much less actually doing it, if I hadn’t known I could come to you for coaching.
Since doing it, I’ve crossed a very important bridge; I never have to be that scared old grandmother again. Sort of a baptism by fire. You see, I used to be a scaredy-cat just staying at home, puttering in my garden, and making quilts and doll’s clothing for my grandchildren.
Most of all, I’m grateful that you and Mary never treat me as an aging grandmother, but just as a friend and a human being. This is a special gift to an elderly person in a culture in which youth is idealized and old age is looked upon as almost a disease.
Over a forty-year career in speaking and training, it is letters like this, and my friendship with Helen, that makes me feel so proud of what Mary and I and PowerSpeaking have done to boost the confidence and success of so many people.
Join me in a big round of applause for Helen Campbell, recipient of the 1993
Golden Mic Award.