There comes a day when we all have to make a decision…
to give up or to press on and move forward. That day came for Jean shortly after she was born. She was misdiagnosed with epilepsy. In reality, she had febrile seizures that would manifest when she was too emotionally stressed. Her body core temperature would shoot up to 105F (40.5C) and she would seize if it wasn’t reduced quickly. For a toddler, an ice bath is not a pleasant experience. Doctors put her on phenobarbital until she was nearly a teenager–rewiring her neuropathways and disrupting her energetic levels.
However, it wasn’t long before she found her voice and began singing with her sisters in a little group that would travel around to different churches and sing at revivals. She was known as ‘the little girl with the BIG voice.’
Her communications continued to develop as she began writing poetry and stories. She joined the school band (marching and orchestra) and the choir, and she took part in her speech and drama class, too. Jean learned the value of focus and the need to communicate clearly in school. She was known as ‘the professor’ by underclass mates.
Her first ‘job’ was at a candy striper in a military hospital. Her last ‘job’ was as a senior manager in the NHS over 40 years later. In that 40+ years she has worked in many industries in various roles. Since that time, she has been recovering as she retired because of illness and she has been creating, writing, and engaging others from all over the world through the power of the internet and Zoom.
She joined Toastmasters in 2004 and had to leave in 2010 because of her disability – Charcot Marie Tooth disease – and her need to recover from the toxic environment she found herself in within the NHS.
She re-joined Toastmasters in 2021. Jean has mentored many speakers and club officers during her time in Toastmasters. She has been contestant, judge, and has held virtually every club officer role. Now, she does everything virtually. Through the power of the internet and Zoom, she can pursue professional speaking for the first time and she continues to create, to write, to mentor and teach, and to engage audiences all over the world. Jean is leaving Toastmasters in 2023 to pursue TV production and media coaching.
Jean has had to decide to give up or press on many times in her life. She has had a few near-death experiences. These experiences have helped shape who she is today. Jean is devoted to lifelong learning and has an insatiable curiosity, a sharp mind, and a rapier wit. She loves conversation, and she loves to help others overcome their self-imposed limitations so they, too, can press on with their lives.
Go ahead, my friends… move forward, press on.