Business Major Helps Classmates Hone Public Speaking Skills

Kim Didenko is a founding member of Rutgers-Camden's Toastmasters chapter.

Kim Didenko is a founding member of Rutgers-Camden’s Toastmasters chapter.

Upon meeting Kim Didenko, one would think that talking in front of a group of people would come naturally to her. The friendly, outgoing Rutgers University–Camden student seems comfortable talking to just about anyone.

Public speaking is a different ball game.

“I had to do a class presentation and I got so nervous,” Didenko explains, laughing. “I accidentally kicked off my shoe, I forgot to advance my slides, and my mind went blank.”

She can joke about it now, but public speaking is no walk in the park, especially for those who aren’t used to it. Didenko and two Rutgers School of Business–Camden classmates, Angelica Didoato (a 2014 graduate) and Emma Parry, came up with a plan to help other students shake off their fears and become expert orators. Together, they founded the Toastmasters, a student organization that teaches Rutgers School of Business–Camden students how to confidently deliver a public speech. The club is currently 25 members strong.

“I still get nervous, but now I can get up there and just breathe and do my thing,” says Didenko, who explains that the group’s bi-weekly meetings include selecting a random topic to talk about in order to get comfortable speaking off the cuff. “The more you practice, the better you get with speaking. The club has made a big difference in helping students build confidence, and that’s an important part of any profession.”

Didenko, a Monroe Township resident and mother of three children, enrolled in the Rutgers School of Business–Camden in 2013 to study management and international strategy.

In addition to Toastmasters, she is a member of Rutgers–Camden’s Business Leader Development Program (BLDP), which provides students with opportunities to gain enhanced leadership training, networking experience, and mentoring by faculty and business leaders from a wide variety of industries.

“BLDP is about teaching leadership skills and if you want to get anywhere in business, you can’t be a follower,” says Didenko, who also serves as a Rutgers–Camden student ambassador and is an Honors College student. “I always wanted to go back to school, and I’m glad that I made that decision. My whole Rutgers experience has made a big difference in my life.”

Didenko says she is comfortable taking on a leadership role and takes pride in being able to assist her classmates and perspective Rutgers–Camden students. Now that she’s overcome any hesitation she’s had in pursuing her degree and mastered public speaking, Didenko is ready to clear the next hurdle. She wants to work in international business and marketing after she graduates in May.

“There are a few opportunities out there,” she says. “I’m confident about what lies ahead, and Rutgers has helped to put me in this position.”

Posted in: Student Achievement

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