August 18th. Portland resident wins Toastmasters’ 2012 World Championship of Public Speaking! Rising above 30,000 participants, 25-year-old Ryan Avery is youngest ever to win world’s largest speech contest!

With an inspiring speech that shared insights on pushing past one’s fears to succeed in life, Ryan Avery, a Toastmaster from Portland, WON in the final round of the Toastmasters 2012 World Championship of Public Speaking.

Ryan Avery at the 2012 Semi Finals of Toastmasters in Orlando,FL

Ryan Avery at the 2012 Semi Finals of Toastmasters in Orlando,FL

In the finals competition, Avery delivered a speech titled “Trust is a Must,” a story about growing up and keeping one’s promise. Avery, a Director of Marketing for Special Olympics Oregon and a member of the Portland Toastmasters club (District 7), impressed and entertained the crowd at the Toastmasters International Speech Contest Semifinals a day earlier. “It took lots of practice to get to this point!” says Avery. “In my bedroom I have a sign that says, ‘What would Michael Phelps do?’ If he could get up early to practice every day and eat healthy, so could I. I also have lots of mentors, and my wife was incredibly supportive. The process has helped me grow as a person and realize that Toastmasters is an amazingly supportive organization: It’s where friendships are made!”

Avery progressed through a six-month process of elimination in the world’s largest speech contest, reaching the top nine finalists from a pool of 30,000 competitors.

A panel of 14 Toastmasters judges evaluate the finalists on a range of criteria, including speech content, organization, voice quality and gestures. The five- to seven-minute speeches cover wide-ranging topics.

The speech contest highlights the annual four-day Toastmasters International Convention, which draws a capacity audience of some 1,500 people from around the world. Contenders in Toastmasters clubs from 116 countries enter the contest on a local level, progressing through club, area, division and district competitions.

Congratulations to Ryan!


About District 7

District 7 is one of 88 districts around the world. It comprises more than 170 corporate and community clubs in Western Oregon and Southern Washington. To learn more, please visit

About Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Founded in October 1924, the organization currently has more than 280,000 members in 13,500 clubs in 116 countries. Each week, Toastmasters helps more than a quarter million people of every ethnicity, education level and profession build their competence in communication so they can gain the confidence to lead others. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit Follow Toastmasters International on Twitter @Toastmasters.