April Featured Toastmaster: Owen Dodge

Owen Dodge

Owen Dodge is a family man, bodywork therapist, and plant nut, among other things.  Since 1999, Owen has been a therapist and owner of Triangle Body Therapy, located in Chapel Hill.  He enjoys helping people reduce or eliminate pain, move more easily and foster emotional evenness through a highly effective form of hands-on, manual therapy called Myofascial Release.

He lives in Durham with his wife, two young daughters and one very lucky dog.

Joseph Joel Sherman was previously Vice President of Public Relations for Chapel Hill Toastmasters. He is the director of Business Tribes Management Consulting.

Joseph Joel: Why are you a Toastmaster?

Owen:  I grew up a preacher’s kid.  This led me to take public speaking skills for granted.  It also developed a vision of what success looks like. I started in on developing my own such skills several years ago.  I realized pretty quickly that public speaking is more challenging than most people seem to make it look.    So, I’ve joined Toastmasters simply because it seems like a sensible, supportive way to intentionally develop this aspect of myself.

Joseph Joel:  What is special about Chapel Hill Toastmasters?

Owen: I suspect I don’t fully realize how special it really is.  I have an inkling of an idea only because I went to a bunch of meetings at another group a couple of years ago.  Those meetings weren’t nearly as dynamic as they are with CHT.   What I do know about this group is that it’s full of very diverse, talented and dedicated speakers. I really like the inspiration this provides.  It demonstrates how developing public speaking skills can be much more than a means to an end.  It can be an incredibly powerful personal development tool.  This really appeals to me.   I suppose talented speakers might hang out in any group.  Another factor that appears to make this group special is its size.  There is a critical mass that effectively reproduces the energy of a public speaking experience.

Joseph Joel: I agree.  We have a supernal club.  Could you please share a favorite Toastmasters moment that you especially enjoyed for found to be inspiring?

Owen: I was surprised on around my 3rd meeting when I showed up for the humorist contest.  I was blown away by all three contestants: Dan Puckett, Anastasiya Tokarska and Mary Davidson.  I mean blown away.  They were all incredible.  I was particularly inspired by Mary Davidson who has such a fun and infectious playfulness.  Her participation in that and other meetings has consistently reminded me how not to take myself so seriously- a reminder I seem to need more than I wish I did.

Joseph Joel: What speaking goals have you set as a Toastmaster? What are you doing to meet those speaking goals?

Owen: I’ve committed to the Competent Communicator track for starters.  I really haven’t set any goals for myself beyond that vision.  I’m still trying to size up the organization.  I find it easy to imagine myself jumping in and getting serious at some point.  Right now I feel like I’m testing the waters with my big toe.

Joseph Joel: Do you apply what you learned in Toastmasters to your work, academic studies, community or faith based organizations?

Owen: As I said above, I’m just engaging the ignition switch (and it looks like I’m going to to  need a little WD-40). I’m sure with time I will apply the skills I develop in Toastmasters to all facets of my life.  I feel a little like I’m developing these skills for as of yet unknown applications for them.  It just seems like an important, worthwhile thing to do.


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