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Alumna wins Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking

Ramona J. Smith '17 delivers the speech that won her the Toastmasters International 2018 World Championship of Public Speaking

Ramona J. Smith stops by BW with the Toastmasters championship trophy!Less than a year after her December 2017 graduation, BW alumna Ramona J. Smith was crowned winner of the Toastmasters International 2018 World Championship of Public Speaking, catapulting her closer to her dream of working as a motivational speaker.

The global contest started with 80,000 competitors, which was reduced to 106 semi-finalists, then to 10 finalists, and over the weekend to one world champion!

According to an article on, Smith is "only the second African-American woman to win the competition in its 80-year history and the first woman to win in 10 years."

Still Standing

Smith says that because she was required to deliver new material for the finals, she wrote her boxing-themed speech, "Still Standing," in her hotel room the night before, drawing inspiration from her own life experiences perservering through adversity.

As Smith recalled in the winning speech, she dropped out of college more than once before enrolling at BW and completing her degree in public relations … with magna cum laude honors!

Coming to a keynote near you?

In her winning speech, Smith talked about graduating magna cum laude from BW.The Cleveland native relocated to Houston after graduation where she's been teaching and inspiring high school students while continuing to build her now world-champion skills as a motivational speaker.

Since the Toastmasters title is rocket fuel for a speaking career, Smith is on her way to achieving her dream. So, look for her soon at a keynote address near you!

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