“Wow…how exciting! I never win anything!” That was Donna Katoke’s reaction when I told her she was the lucky winner of the Apple iPad drawing from our fall public seminar promotion. Donna is a graduate of our Encore! Elegant Skills for Powerful Presentations program. As the Director of Workforce Development at the Department of Human Resources for the City of San Francisco, Donna provides career development for city employees. She gives presentations regularly but says she’s always “horrified” at the thought. “I’m not good at it,” she says. “Sometimes they turn out okay and sometimes they’re terrible. Either way, I’m a nervous wreck.”
A big part of Donna’s job is giving presentations. She runs training programs, speaks at meetings and events, presents to her staff and sits on several San Francisco-based non-profit boards where she has been an emcee at events for over 400 people. Yet, she never gives a presentation without terrible stress and anxiety.
“I knew I needed help,” says Donna, “and then I heard about DeFinis Communications. A colleague at the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District had hired DeFinis to train their employees, and she encouraged me to sign up. ‘You have to take this class,’ she said. ‘It will really help you.’ So I signed up. But I was scared and skeptical.”
“My introduction to the process was a phone call from the instructor, Kathy Andre. Kathy called me for our pre-class interview and asked me why I had signed up for the class. I told her about my overwhelming fears and lack of confidence. She listened thoughtfully and then said with confidence, ‘Oh, we can help with that. It’s completely doable.’ “Yeah, right, I thought.”
“I had low expectations going in, and I was blown away at how great this class was! The small class size for one thing—we all got to know each other and the group was friendly and helpful. There was a sense that we were all in this together. The program is designed to build skill and confidence, and that’s exactly what it does. Kathy is so supportive and a great teacher and coach. She kept asking us to do more and everyone did. She was patient and positive, and she has excellent presentations skills, so she was a great role model for us.
“I loved the class. Everyone improved tremendously in just two days. It was hard to believe. The feedback was individually geared to each person and exactly what they needed. I loved that we repeated the same presentation over and over. I felt stronger with each presentation that we did, and when we got around to doing the final presentation, I was ready. I still have a way to go, but I gave a really good final presentation! I was confident and proud. And I’m so happy that I won the iPad!”
Congratulations, Donna, for having the courage to sign up for the class, for working so hard to improve your skills, and for delivering a powerful and compelling final presentation.
Now, enjoy your new iPad!