Anita Taylor Wins Third Place in World Championship
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Aug. 27, 2018 — With a speech titled “It Is What It Is, It Ain’t What It Ain’t,” Anita Fain Taylor, a member of District 47 (South Florida and The Bahamas) of Toastmasters International, placed third in the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking.
Decided Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Toastmasters International Convention in Chicago, Illinois, the results were historic. For the first time in the contest’s history, women took all three top spots.
“I am overwhelmed to be a part of Toastmasters history,” said Taylor, a consultant who lives in Pembroke Pines. “I witnessed some of the most outstanding speakers from across the globe, and I am so blessed to have been among the greatest public speakers.”
Taylor’s six-minute speech about rising above adversity resonated with a capacity crowd of nearly 2,000 from around the world at the McCormick Place convention center. She claimed her place with a motivational story of her own life, titling it with the advice her father gave her when she was struggling with divorce and job loss: “It is what it is, and it ain’t what it ain’t.”
At first, Taylor said, she did not understand what her dad’s wise words meant. Later she came to realize he meant that you can’t change what has already happened but you can rise and soar to new heights.
She reached the championship level after several elimination rounds that began six months ago in her home club, Gelfand Good Morning Toastmasters in Hollywood, Florida. About 30,000 Toastmasters from around the world entered the contest at the club level this year. Taylor won her district competition in April 2018 and then her international semifinal round Aug. 23.
She was one of 10 Toastmasters competing in the final round Aug. 25. Speakers delivered five- to seven-minute speeches on wide-ranging topics, and were judged on content, organization and delivery.
The first-place winner, Ramona J. Smith of Cleveland, Ohio, is only the fifth woman to capture the World Championship of Public Speaking title since the contest began in 1938. Smith’s thesis was that you will face some challenges in life; even though you will fall down and stumble, all you have to do is find whatever strength lies within you or outside you from family, friends, faith, your mentors and coaches to help pull you back up. Watch Smith’s winning speech here.
Second -place winner was Zifang “Sherrie” Su, a teacher from Tianjin, China, with her humorous speech titled “Turn Around” about salvaging personal relationships and meeting her husband in Toastmasters. An experienced speech competitor, Su said she entered this contest to “Let the world hear the voice from China and prove that Chinese speakers can be world class.”