Welcome Toastmasters to the Flagship City
It was competing in speech and debate in high school that helped me solidify a career in communication. I realized I wasn’t afraid of being in front of people–especially after placing on the state level and making it to the National Forensic Tournament in high school.
I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. I enjoy the Italian traditions I was raised with…and still help out each year with the Greater Youngstown Italian Festival. That’s also the area where I had my first internship, another was in nearby Akron, OH–where I graduated from college with a double-major in Mass Media Communication and Public Relations from the University of Akron.
Immediately after graduation, I started work as a radio news reporter for WDPN in Alliance, OH. I covered city council and school board meetings and did daily, radio newscasts. But, I always wanted to write and broadcast TV news, so I took a job as a bureau reporter for WDTV in West Virginia, covering the Morgantown area. The bureau never materialized, so I lugged a camera and equipment home each night, and slept with a police scanner. I learned a lot.
From there, I moved back to the Buckeye state for an anchor/reporter job at WMFD, a cable station in Mansfield, OH. I then got a job in Youngstown, at WYTV. I produced, anchored and reported before and after the station joined WKBN and FOX Youngstown. Over time, I filed feature and breaking news reports, interviewed celebrities who came to town, and even reported from Nashville, TN for the Country Music Awards.
I left Youngstown to take a job in Wilkes-Barre, PA as a morning anchor and reporter…and now, I’ve moved back to the Lake Erie Region to join the Erie News Now team. Yes, the snow can be a little much in the winter, but I’m proud to work and live in this area.
I love news-writing, reporting, anchoring, and all that comes with it. I also love getting out in the community, being a part of events in the area, and meeting viewers.
I’m an Indians and Browns fan, love going to ball games, cooking, baking… and am working on adding a few more 5ks under my belt.
Meet Ken: Leadership and teamwork in action, building positive team cultures, putting a lifetime of experience to work! Ken Achenbach’s career as a teacher and football coach has helped him to formulate the theories that he brings to his presentation and to refine his workshops, creating a curriculum that is both inspiring and fun.
Ken is married to Tina Achenbach, a retired French teacher who also serves with the Crawford Central Community Foundation. They have two grown sons and two grandchildren.
Life is good!
Melissa McGavick, DTM, Region 6 Advisor
Meet Melissa: Melissa holds a degree in Communications and Media Studies, and has completed hundreds of hours of professional development training in sales and sales leadership development, corporate business development, presentation skills, marketing, and career development. She is a recognized expert—working with individuals and organizations to develop successful sales numbers by becoming a better communicator. She brings real-world scenarios to life in the classroom and demonstrates how to apply classroom learning into real world situations.
As a trainer and coach, she coaches sales people and managers to help their teams perform at a higher level. Several of those teams have set sales records for their companies. Additionally, she has coached small business owners in business development and communicating with their teams. As Region Advisor, Melissa has coached club growth directors about how to have effective conversations with decision makers and district leaders through working together. As a DTM mentor, she has guided several people through the process of completing the DTM designation.
Your Cyber Security, Get the Facts
Nearly everyone has received an email claiming that someone you don’t know wants to send them a million dollars. You may not fall for that, but cyber criminals are smarter than they once were. They’ll use freely available company information from sources like LinkedIn to tailor an attack to get into your computer or your wallet. Would you be able to spot one of these sophisticated fake emails if it landed in your inbox? The average cost of a phishing attack for mid-sized companies is 1.6 million dollars. Find out how you can protect yourself and your business with some basic cyber security knowledge that will help prevent you from becoming part of that statistic.
Meet Don: Don Houk is the President of computer management company Houk Consulting, based in Pittsburgh, PA. For 17 years, he has helped small businesses manage every aspect of their IT departments, including how to stay safe in the dangerous online world. As part of his mission, he helps businesses standardize on best practices and plan long-term IT strategy.
Stephanie Simmons, DTM, Big 3! Head Coach
Meet Stephanie: Stephanie is an ordained Elder of Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church, and is active in many facets of the church. In addition to being a voting member of Church Council, she is Moderator of the Presbyterian Women ministries. In addition to her work with Presbyterian Women at her local church, she was on the Coordinating Team for Presbyterian Women in the Pittsburgh Presbytery serving in the roles of Directory Editor and Recording Secretary.
She lives by the words in Luke 12:48: “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…” She loves to spend time with many youth in her biological and church families encouraging, coaching, and mentoring them. She is a mentor for both Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Y-Achievers of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. She challenges all the youth she mentors to always strive to be the best and give 100% in whatever they do.
As a Toastmaster, Stephanie has earned the highest educational achievement of Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). She is a charter member of Culturally Speaking Toastmasters and has served the club as VP of Education, VP of Membership and President. She is also past President and past VP of Education for ProMasters Toastmasters Club. At the district level, Stephanie has served District 13 in the roles of Assistant Area 31 Governor, Area 24 Director, Assistant Division D Program Quality Director, Club Coach. and a Pathways Ambassador.
Meet Bill: After 20 years of coaching and developing leaders in the church world, Bill set out to pursue a new calling of coaching leaders in the marketplace. So, in 2014, after becoming certified as a John Maxwell Team speaker and coach, Bill stepped into his dream and launched his own business.
Watching his father start and build his own successful business and seeing the many challenges he faced along the way, Bill has a special place in his heart for business leaders. He has a passion to help them live deeply fulfilling and successful lives both personally and professionally. His “Why” is to help leaders live legacy lives and build transcendent companies that make the world a much deeper and richer place to live.
Bill has been married to Maureen (Moey), the love of his life for nearly 24 years. He and Moey have the privilege of raising their son Joel, their miracle, a basketball junkie and all-around great kid. Bill is passionate about people, their value, and their potential. He is a sucker for a great cup of coffee and a hopeless Cleveland Browns fan.