Academy for Public Speaking – President & Founder
I have always been a huge fan of the educational process whether I’m inspiring others or learning something myself. I think it is a shame public speaking skills are not taught or more heavily emphasized in our schools. After all when it comes to successful communication, confidence is key!
“You give one of the best gifts in our kids’ lives! To be able to speak in front of many people with confidence, pride, strong leadership, and a positive attitude. What an inspiration you give to our children – to be able to express their thoughts and feelings without any fear.” (Natalya Abramovich, Parent)
Jim Tucker – Courses & Summer Camp
I am passionate about speaking. It changed my life. I was the quiet and reserved person who preferred to listen rather than speak. I soon discovered that strategy is ineffective in a job where selling myself and my ideas is essential for success.
Fortunately, a supervisor introduced me to his Toastmasters club. This club provided weekly meetings where I was able to gain the speaking and leadership training needed to overcome my speaking anxiety. I have since gained an appreciation of the importance of effective communication in personal and professional environments.
I am one of many who wishes they could have pursued this training at an earlier age. Today, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to assist others in doing just that.
Public Speaking Experience & Achievements
Contestant in the Final Level of the Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking – 2002, 2003, 2004
Keynote Speaker, Toastmasters Districts 3, 4, 5, 9, 12 and 52 Conferences
Keynote Speaker, MV-90 Software Conferences and Itron Conferences
Presenter, Toastmasters Leadership Institute and Leadership & Communication Expo
Speaking & Media Coaching Training Team, San Diego Chargers Girls
Distinguished Toastmaster Award, Former Area 9 Governor & Club President
Judge, Optimist and Golden Gavel Speech Contests
Dale Carnegie Public Speaking Graduate & Graduate Assistant
Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering, Certificate in Commercial Design
SDG&E Energy Speaker Corps, Conducted Public Speaking Workshops
Past Chairman, SDG&E Young Engineers Club and IEEE Power Engineering Society
Senior Electrical & Registered Professional Engineer, California
Former Partner & Engineering Manager
Past Junior Achievement Advisor, Past Member Rotary & Kiwanis Clubs
Past Board Member, Our Center of Self Esteem, Elementary Institute of Science, and San Diego Engineering Society
Past President, San Diego Council of Black Engineers & Scientists
Past Chairman, San Diego Coalition of Black Organizations
Announcer, Annual Mother Goose Parade
Published Author, The Heart of a Mother and The Heart of the Holidays Book Series
Contributing Author, Confidence is Key! 12 Amazing Ways Public Speaking Empowers Your Child
Norman Nomura – Courses & Summer Camp
I spent my early years trying not to stand out and was more intent just trying to fit in. I was quiet and reserved. It may have been cultural, but it was evident my lack of communication skill would not serve me well in my adult life. In college I was content sitting in a lab by myself staring into a microscope. It wasn’t until I entered the working world that I realized my lack of communication skills was hindering my advancement.
After joining the Toastmasters organization, I was able to come out of my shell and learn the communication skills that changed my life. A friend encouraged me to enter speech contests. Over the years, through the contest venue, I’ve become a better public speaker and found some success in contests. The main benefit was the skills learned gave me confidence that not only improved my communication from a stage, but more importantly, improved my communication on a personal level with family, friends, and colleagues.
Today, I am happy to say I’ve “found my voice.” The power of public speaking allows me to not only communicate with others, but to better voice the passions that live inside me. To me, this is the true value of learning this life-changing skill. Not only can you change your life, but you are able to change the lives of others through your words. I appreciate this opportunity to teach this valuable life skill to the young people of America.
Toastmasters Achievements & Awards
Distinguished Toastmaster Award, 2011
World Championship of Public Speaking Semifinalist, 2011
District 5 International Speech Contest, 2007 – 1st
Region 12 International Speech Contest 2007 – 3rd
District 5 Humorous Speech Contest 2007 – 1st
District 5 International Speech Contest 2008 – 2nd
District 5 International Speech Contest 2009 – 3rd
District 5 Humorous Speech Contest 2010 – 1st
District 5 International Speech Contest 2011 – 1st
District 5 Humorous Speech Contest 2012 – 3rd
District 5 Evaluation Contest – 2012 Finalist
District 5 International Speech Contest 2013 -2nd
District 5 International Speech Contest 2015 – 2nd
District 5 International Speech Contest 2016 – 3rd
Leadership & Community Service
Presenter Toastmasters Leadership Institute 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015
Presenter Leadership and Communication Expo, 2013
Toastmasters Area 23 Governor, 2003
Toastmasters District 5 Membership Chair
Past President, Poway/Black Mountain Toastmasters
Past President, Excelsior Toastmasters
Past President, Felicita Humor Toastmasters
Past VP Membership, Professional Women’s Toastmasters
Off the Cuff – Patio Playhouse Escondido
Funny Things Improv – Broadway Theater Vista
Golden Idol 2015 – 1st Place
Mother Goose Parade – El Cajon
4th of July Parade – Oceanside
Entrepreneur, Consultant & Speech Coach
BS Biological Science – UCI 1976
MS Biological Science – CSCLB 1980
Jessica Arredondo – Level 1 & Advanced Courses
From a young age, I valued academics and furthering my education. Whether it was participating in spelling bees or playing an instrument, there were many things to learn.
It wasn’t until college that I finally found my voice and the difference using it could make in the world. I didn’t realize I had so much to say until I finally started really using my voice.
While at San Diego State University, I had many opportunities to succeed as a public speaker and a leader. Through community outreach programs I spoke to college students about challenges related to public health. During my senior year I was asked to speak to 3,000 students to share my experiences and inspire them to make the most of their college years.
Now I take pride in helping young children find their voices before they get to college. Although I’m thankful I discovered my voice when I did, how much more beneficial would it have been to learn to confidently express myself earlier in life? Having the confidence to speak in front of others is an invaluable skill for achieving success and happiness.
Educator, Narrator & Tour Guide at SeaWorld, San Diego
Peer Health Educator & Speaker, San Diego State University
Academic Tutor & Resident Advisor, San Diego State University
Dean’s List, San Diego State University
Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society
Certified Academic Tutor – Varsity Tutors, San Diego
Science Summer Camp Counselor – Blue Sky Meadow
Austin Zhang – Debate Courses & Debate Coach
My public speaking journey began with the Academy for Public Speaking, when I entered Mrs. Petrone’s class for the first time as a nervous seventh grader. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was my first step onto a path that would take me to heights I could not imagine. It was the start of my personal evolution from an insecure and unsure middle schooler into a self-assured and passionate individual.
Oratory has armed me with poise, confidence, and presentability, and such skills have served me well in both formal and personal contexts, but beyond that, it has allowed me to make so many personal discoveries. I would never have known the joys of competing in speech and debate, getting to meet teammates and opponents alike, without public speaking, nor would I have learned the trials and fruits of leadership. Most importantly, I would not have known the deep satisfaction that is educating and teaching others in this same craft without the lessons of the Academy for Public Speaking.
It is thus my high honor to return to the Academy, where I was once a student, to continue to pass on the skills I have honed in its classrooms. I firmly believe a solid understanding of the mechanics of speaking, paired with the self-confidence one gains from being able to stand in front of crowd, is an invaluable asset to anyone, in any field, and I’m more than happy to be part of any student’s own journey into this most rewarding of pursuits.
Debate Course Teacher & Coach, Academy for Public Speaking, 2016-17
Speech & Debate Team President, Torrey Pines High School, 2015-16
Congressional Debate Event Captain, 2014-2015
Congressional Debate Varsity Team Member, 2013-2014
Congressional Debate Novice Team Member, 2012-2013
Public Speaking Achievements
Optimist Club Oratorical Contest District Champion & $2,500 Scholarship Recipient, 2015
Torrey Pines High School Speech & Debate Captain of the Year, 2015
Congressional Debate California High School State Championships Qualifier, 2014 & 2015
San Diego County Fair Oratorical Contest, 2nd Place, 2013 & 2014
Optimist Club Oratorical Contest, 2nd Place at District, 2013
Lions Club Student Speaker Contestant, 2013
Academy for Public Speaking, Graduation Judge, 2015-2017
Del Mar Solana Beach Optimist Club Oratorical Contest Judge, 2016-2017
North South Foundation Public Speaking Bee Judge, 2016
University of California, San Diego, Economics & Business Major
Hanrui Zhang – Courses & Summer Camp
I can relive my tragic, first ever public speaking experience like it was yesterday. It was a mandatory graduation style speech in 6th grade, and I had my notes on an index card with a pen. As I looked down at my note card when I found my place in front of the class, my notes had smeared illegibly from my sweaty, nervous 6th grader hands, and I felt exposed with the eyes of my entire class on me.
Thankfully, the Academy for Public Speaking gave me a proper and mature way to convey my ideas and express my feelings. It immersed me in an environment in which everyone else was just as enthusiastic about speaking as I was. The skills I learned from the Academy for Public Speaking allowed me to compete in Speech and Debate and Mock Trial events in high school, as well as many extracurricular oratorical competitions with great success.
As a Business Administration major at the University of San Francisco, my public speaking skills have continued to be an important aspect of my life as a professional. I am a coach at the Speaking Center at USF. I coach students around campus who need help with speech brainstorming, writing, and delivery. Additionally, I present an hour long Visual Aids Workshop in which I describe how to effectively use visual aids for any style of presentation.
I am incredibly thankful for the knowledge and opportunities that Kathleen Petrone and the Academy for Public Speaking have provided me with. I can’t wait to keep expanding upon my skills in the future and helping others improve their skills as well.
Public Speaking Experience
Speaking Center Coach, University of San Francisco, 2017
Debate Course Teacher & Coach, Academy for Public Speaking, 2016
Summer Camp Assistant, Academy for Public Speaking, 2015
Guest Speaker & Graduation Judge, Academy for Public Speaking, 2012-16
Masters Level Graduate, Academy for Public Speaking, 2011
Pre-Trial Attorney for Mock Trial, Torrey Pines High School, 2015-16
Lincoln Douglas Debater, Torrey Pines High School, 2012-15
Public Speaking Achievements
Optimist Club Oratorical Contest District Champion & $2,500 Scholarship Recipient, 2014
Optimist Club Oratorical Club & Zone Contests, 1st & 2nd, 2011-14
Lions Club Student Speaker Contest – 1st Place, 2014 & 2015
Lions Club Student Speaker Contest – 2nd Place, 2013
University of San Francisco, Business Administration Major
Jeff Mason – Level 1 & Advanced Courses
During high school, a teacher offered to help me with college applications. “Good grades aren’t enough,” he told me. “To get into the Ivy League schools or Stanford, you need more.” He encouraged me, among other things, to enter a speech contest, and he taught me how to write and deliver a speech.
I will never know what part, if any, winning speech contests played in my being admitted to Stanford, but I know that what I learned from that experience has positively influenced and enhanced my life. It helped me in high school, college, law school, as a lawyer for more than 30 years, and as a teacher.
I am, therefore, pleased to help young students gain the many benefits of learning how to speak confidently to adults, in front of classmates, and before whatever audience they may find themselves.
Teacher, Grades K-8th, San Diego City Schools
English & World History Teacher, 7th Grade, Thurgood Marshall Middle School
English, Social Science, & California Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials
Board of Trustees – Francis Parker School, 10 Years, President for 3 Terms
Lions Club Speech Contests, 1st Place Winner – Club, District & Regional Levels
Hilmer Oehlman Jr. Award for Oral Advocacy
Marion Rice Kirkwood Moot Court Competition Oral Advocacy– 1st Place
Stanford University & Stanford Law School Graduate
Lawyer – State & Federal Courts at all Levels, including the Supreme Court
United States Army – Judge Advocate Officer and Military Judge
Masters Class, Private Courses & Coaching
Academy for Public Speaking President & Founder Kathleen Petrone offers personal coaching sessions for children and adults and teaches the masters class and private courses.
“I love helping children and adults who have mastered the basics take their public speaking skills and confidence to the next level to achieve their goals! At the advanced and masters levels, students have so much fun expressing themselves and unleashing their creativity.”
Kathleen also offers private coaching sessions to help children and adults prepare for presentations, pageants, interviews, and speech contests.
Public & Private School Educator for 11 Years, 1997-2008
4th Grade Classroom Teacher
7th & 8th Grade Reading Specialist
3rd-5th Grade Special Day Class (SDC) Teacher
6th-8th Grade SDC Teacher & Resource Specialist
Teaching Credentials & Degrees
Bachelor’s in Elementary Education, Early Childhood Emphasis, 1997
Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, Pre-K – 8th, 1997
Master’s Degree in Reading Education, 2000
Reading Specialist Credential, Pre-K – 12th, 2003
Crosscultural, Language, & Academic Development Certificate, 2003
Education Specialist Credential, Pre-K – 12th, 2004
Confidence is Key! 12 Amazing Ways Public Speaking Empowers Your Child, 2014
Public Speaking: From Painful to Powerful, 2014
Rise & Shine! Making the Most of Life’s Opportunities, 2014
Imagine Wisdom Education, Contributing Author, 2014
Next Level Speaking – Excelsior Toastmasters, Contributing Author, 2014
Judge, Miss Carlsbad Scholarship Pageant, 2016
Public Speaking Seminar, Miss Poway Pageant Contestants, 2015-2017
Public Speaking Contest Chair, North South Foundation, 2014-2017
Presenter, Allied Gardens Optimist Club, 2015
Judge, Lions Club Student Speakers Contest, 2014-2015
Public Speaking Seminar, Project Concern International, 2014-2015
Speech & Debate Judge, Torrey Pines High School, 2014
Presenter, Girl Scouts of America, 2014
Special Guest Speaker, Altrusa International, 2013
Public Speaking Seminar, Teen Volunteers in Action, 2012
Speechmasters Program Instructor, Carmel Creek Elementary, 2010-2011
Carmel Valley Youth Leadership Program Instructor & Coordinator, 2010
Toastmasters District & Club Officer Roles
Area 24 Governor – Carmel Valley, 2010-2011
Former President of Hi-Fi Speakers in Carmel Valley, 2010
Former Vice President Membership of Hi-Fi Speakers in Carmel Valley, 2009
Toastmasters Awards & Achievements
Distinguished Toastmaster Award, Fall 2011
Toastmasters Leadership & Communication Expo Seminar Presenter – Discovering & Living Your Soul Purpose, Summer 2013 & Fall 2014
Toastmasters District 5 Blog Talk Radio Guest – 7 Insanely Successful Keynotes, Summer 2013
Toastmasters International Speech Contest Spring 2014, Area 24 – 3rd Place
Torrey Pines Toastmasters International Speech Contest Spring 2014 – 2nd Place
Excelsior Toastmasters International Speech Contest Spring 2014, 3rd Place
Torrey Pines Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest Fall 2013 – 2nd Place
Toastmasters International Speech Contest Spring 2013, Area 24 – 2nd Place
Torrey Pines Toastmasters International Speech Contest Spring 2013 – 2nd Place
Excelsior Toastmasters International Speech Contest Spring 2013 – 2nd Place
Toastmasters Tall Tales Contest Fall 2012, Area 24 – 2nd Place
Torrey Pines Toastmasters Tall Tales Speech Contest Fall 2012 – 1st Place
Excelsior Toastmasters Tall Tales Speech Contest Fall 2012 – 1st Place
Southern Division International Speech Contest Spring 2012 – 2nd Place
Toastmasters International Speech Contest Spring 2012, Area 9 – 1st Place
Torrey Pines Toastmasters International Speech Contest 2012 – 1st Place
Excelsior Toastmasters International Speech Contest 2012 – 3rd Place
Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest Fall 2011, Area 24 – 1st Place
Torrey Pines Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest Fall 2011 – 1st Place
Excelsior Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest Fall 2011 – 2nd Place
Toastmasters Evaluation Contest Spring 2010, Area 24 – 2nd Place
Hi-Fi Speakers Toastmasters Evaluation Contest Spring 2010 – 1st Place
International Speech Contest Spring 2010, Area 24 – Contestant