Yasmine Brown '15: President of Toastmasters

Most students try to avoid public speaking at all costs. According to some research, people fear public speaking more than they fear death! However, this is the opposite for senior Yasmine Brown. Yasmine is the president of (and helped found!) the Toastmasters International club on campus, an internationally recognized public speaking organization. 

Her Campus American University: As president of Toastmasters International and American University, can you tell us what exactly Toastmasters is?

Yasmine Brown: Toastmasters International is a nonprofit education program founded worldwide that aims towards enhancing public speaking, and inevitably leadership skills. There are over 14,000 clubs chartered worldwide with a vast and diverse network. Overall, and most importantly, it allows individuals to face their fear of public speaking in a safe space.

HCAU: Why should students join Toastmasters?

YB: Students should join Toastmasters because public speaking skills are necessary for almost every field of interest. Post-graduation success isn’t just about grades and student involvement, but also how well one is able to effectively communicate their ideas, thoughts and experiences. By joining Toastmasters, students get to practice this skill set outside of an academic environment. Also, Toastmasters has excellent brand recall among employers and that’s always a plus for resume building.

HCAU: Not only are you the president of the club, but you also helped found it. Talk more about this.

YB: A close friend of mine, who recruits for EY, suggested that I look into Toastmasters, after I expressed some concerns about public speaking. When I was interested in joining, the club had been inactive for two years and I was really interested in bringing it back. Another student and myself decided to restart the organization so students like myself could start practicing this vital skill.

HCAU: Aside from Toastmasters, what else are you involved with on campus?

YB: Besides being president of Toastmasters, I am also the VP of professional development for the Kogod accounting club.

HCAU: What are you studying here at AU?

YB: I’m an accounting major.

HCAU: With graduation coming up soon, what are your plans for post-college?

YB: Post-graduation, I plan on starting my new job in July in sales at HSBC. I’m super excited to use the skill set I’ve developed with Toastmasters on the job.

HCAU: What has been your favorite memory during your time at AU?

YB: My favorite memory at AU was participating in S.T.E.P., the Summer Transition Enrichment Program, offered to selected students the summer before freshmen year. I spent that summer making wonderful friends and memories, while getting a head start on classes. It showed me that American University really cares about its students and that college wasn't such a scary place. Being in Washington, D.C. overall has been an amazing experience and I've loved every second of it. 

HCAU: What classes have been your favorites and why?

YB: My favorite class was managerial accounting- ACCT-241. It was my favorite class due to the combination of valuable material and an excellent professor, Emily Lindsay. After taking that class, I declared my major in accounting and eventually grew a profound love for business. I think accounting and finance skills are imperative and every student at AU should try taking both. 

HCAU: Lastly, what advice do you have for younger students here at AU?

YB: Each year in college serves an important role throughout your academic career. Pay attention to your growth throughout college and try not to remain stagnant throughout the process. Challenge yourself and do things that intimidate you. Everyone always talks about work-life-balance, but it's important to maintain a personal development trajectory as well. Track your progress and try not to graduate as the same freshman that started college four years ago. 


Check out more information about Toastmasters at AU!