REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (May 12, 2021) – Rontario Hicks, the division chief for the U.S. Army Redstone Test Center’s Logistics Management Office, and a member of the Premier Providers Club of Toastmasters International, was recently honored with the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award.
The DTM represents the highest level of educational achievement in Toastmasters. Toastmasters International has four Toastmasters clubs on Redstone Arsenal that focus on developing organizational, public speaking, and leadership skills.
Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, the organization's membership exceeds 364,000 in more than 16,200 clubs in 145 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders.
The Premier Providers Club was chartered at Redstone Arsenal in 2016, the same year Hicks joined while serving as a major in the U.S. Army, serving at the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC).
“When I joined AMC in 2012, Maj. Ron Hicks worked in the Chief of Staff's office. While he was a super logistician his articulation skills were lacking,” explained Jesse Barber, one of the founders of Premier Partners. “His flow during presentations to the staff were full of stumbles and missteps. I recruited Ron to be one of the original 26 AMC employees to charter our Toastmaster's club. I can remember Ron's first speech he had so many ‘ahs’ and ‘umms’ that we stopped counting when he passed 50 in the first two minutes of his speech.”
Barber added that as Ron's mentor, they discussed techniques to help him improve and with each speech, his improvement were remarkable.
“By the end of the first year Ron had eliminated all ‘ahs’ and ‘umms’,” said Barber. “His speaking proficiency has gotten so good that he can deliver a 30 minute speech with no ‘ahhs’ or ‘umms’ and the flow is exceptional. His use of graphics, slides, and jokes during his speeches is on par with our clubs most experienced speakers.”
To earn the DTM, a Toastmaster is required to complete a series of learning paths, which typically can take many years to complete. Hicks is the first charter member of Premier Providers to receive this honor.
“This award is significant because Ron has been able to accomplish in four years, what sometimes can take up to 10 years to achieve. Ron completed the Competent Communicator (10 Speeches), Advanced Communicator Bronze (10 Speeches), Advanced Communicator Silver (10 Speeches), Advanced Communicator Gold (10 Speeches), three special projects, served as District officer for one year, completed the Competent Leader, Advanced Leader, and High Performance Leadership programs. In addition, he served as a Club Coach, Mentor, and Sponsor, and he still has had time to assist his home club members develop their skills. He is truly a remarkable leader. This is what Toastmasters is all about… developing your individual skills to make you a better leader and communicator for tomorrow,” explained Barber.
“Toastmasters has been a true life changer for me,” said Hicks. “It has allowed me to rise to the occasion and stand out when it comes to speaking in public. It has also assisted me with presentations in both my personal and professional environment giving me the confidence to speak with power and poise.”