Volume 38, Issue 6 Serving Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska December 2010
Pep Squad
Imagine Meets Possibility

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

Albert Mensah and the Imagine School kids

Imagine Charter Middle School Speech, Debate and Drama Class District 26 Fall Conference November, 2010

Front row behind Albert Mensah left to right: Shiloh Riley; Kelsey Brostrom; Alexis (Lexie) Paddock; Andrew Boswell; Josh Lyons Second row left to right: Jacob Seitz; Hailey Frederiksen; Andrew Stoops; Martin Weingartner; Donna Hammond, Classroom Assistant; Maddie Carlock; James Martindale; Kim Johnson, Teacher

his trophy until his wife threatened him. Albert liked to win, was used to it; he had a track record to prove it, and second place wasn’t good enough.

He worked his way up to become a top salesman for a Fortune 500 corporation. In less than a year as a Toastmaster, he competed at the championship level. Loss motivated him to tackle his dream--he quit his job to become a professional speaker. His wife gave him four months to start making an income with his speaking. He mortgaged his house, hired coaches and mentors to help him hone his skills, delivered unique presentations designed to a specific audience until he achieved the coveted Certified Public Speaker designation. He quickly grew his speaking business, The Mensah Institute, from nothing to well over $300,000 in annual booking fees.

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