Locals interested in personal and professional development may see a new opportunity popping up in Gretna.

A group of residents is seeking to established a Toastmasters Club in Gretna. The nonprofit organization teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of more than 16,800 clubs in 143 countries.

Along with leadership skills, avid Toastmasters member and Gretna resident Marian Gramlich hopes the club will allow community members to get to know each other in a setting other than through the school community.

“I love seeing all these people interact who would’ve never met each other if it weren’t for Toastmasters,” she said. “I’m hoping Toastmasters will bring welcoming inclusion to Gretna.”

Toastmasters International utilizes an online program called Pathways, through which members of all backgrounds and walks of life can choose different projects — for example, motivation, persuasion, humor — allowing them to hone a particular communication skill.

Gramlich said that many members receive promotions and improve confidence.

“It’s so we become better leaders in whatever we do,” she said. “We do a lot of clapping. That’s to fill dead space but also to be really supportive.”

Toastmasters clubs offer a friendly, welcoming environment to its members.

“It’s like a self-help cheer squad,” Gramlich said.

“Everybody wants to see you succeed when someone has the guts to get up in front of everyone and speak from the heart. Toastmasters helps us learn to channel that energy and share those messages.”

Local coordinators are currently trying to pinpoint a day and time of week that works best for interested parties in the Gretna area.

A survey link has been established. Those interested are asked to complete the survey at surveymonkey.com/r/PPGYQMT.

“If you can improve upon yourself on an ongoing basis, then why wouldn’t you?” Gramlich said. “It’s useful not only in business, but in your personal life.”

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