by Joyce Trimble, DTM
You may have been one of the fortunate Toastmasters to hear classic guitar music playing during the last year’s area and division speech contests. You may be one of the fortunate to hear the strumming of a well-trained guitarist during the next season as well. But who is that smiling face that also adorns the D25 website page?
MEET the face behind that music…Vanessa Rivera-Colon
Vanessa was born in Puerto Rico as an only child. Her music-loving parents had her taking lessons when she was 4 years old. At 5 she joined the San Juan Children’s Choir of Puerto Rico. Several years were spent going to the regular school from 8 am-2 pm and to the music school from 2:30 pm – 6 pm. She learned to play several instruments including various recorders and string instruments typical of the island. When she was a teenager, she joined a Music Conservatory and had two glorious years of learning to play classic guitar.
At 16 she and her parents moved to Tampa, Florida. After finishing the last two years of high school in a private school, she went to college at the University of South Florida, graduating with a bachelor of science in Computer Science. Early experience in an internship had her already working at the time of graduation. When not studying, her time was spent as an officer of various clubs at the university and volunteering to play classic guitar at the commencement ceremonies of the College of Engineering.
For 19 years she worked as a software developer and engineer. She met her husband at work in 2000. They have been together for 18 years and have an 11-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl.
Two years ago, she moved the family to Dallas and has been working as a Senior Quantitative Analyst for Mr. Cooper. She joined first as a contractor and learned of Toastmasters. She knew the minute she became an employee she was joining … AND SHE DID! I can still remember her first visit. She was a quiet guest but not timid. She immediately became an active member. Having given only 1 speech, I asked her to provide the target speech for a Division Evaluation Contest. The room was large, her volume quiet. But her warmth filled the room.
She accepted the office of VP Education her first year and is now President of Mr. Cooper Speaks. She is also a charter member of Coppell Toastmasters and Once Upon A Time, where she also serves as Secretary/Treasurer.
Playing guitar is her hobby, Toastmasters is her communication and leadership education, and friendships are her treasurers. And after you meet Vanessa, you will treasure HER friendship.