ackle Your Dreams — the theme of the Toastmaster District 26 Fall Conference — took on a new twist for me when I recognized a group of
middle-school-age students sitting front row waiting for the opening session. I’d noticed them surround our keynote speaker, Albert
Mensah, during registration. The rock-star status he had with these kids was unmistakable. As I introduced myself as a Toastmaster and
retired high school teacher, and shook hands with each Imagine Charter School student, I wondered how these kids knew this highly
successful motivational speaker. The questions would wait as Norm Frickey called us to our feet and the Toastmasters Color Guard opened
the conference. District Governor Julia Davis introduced our keynote speaker who held the audience spellbound for the next 30 minutes.
When he walked out onto the stage, Albert Mensah dominated it, made it his own. Wearing the traditional Adinkra, an extraordinary long
robe, elegant and beautiful, worn by men and highly respected in Ghana, his country of birth, his presence dazzled, his accent rang out
from the roots of his being. He spun a storied net of dream stuff come true, the strands of the web vivid, real, and honest——
He took us on a wonderful, life-affirming journey from the jungle and dirt roads of Ghana to this strange and foreboding new world
called New York City. We experienced the draw and the power of the American dream through the eyes, ears, heart and mouth of an immigrant
– and storyteller extraordinaire. And no, we won’t soon forget the experience.
Now he’s giving something back to Toastmasters after placing 2nd in the Toastmasters International World Champion Speaker contest 11
years ago. Devastated as they announced his name for 2nd place, he slumped in his seat, refused to go on state to receive overflowing