Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Breaking the Ice

Breaking the Ice - The Story of, Helen Blanchard, DTM, the First Woman President of Toastmasters International.

"Looking back at my life experiences, a common thread seems to be woven in the tapestry of my years. From my Nebraska school teaching days, to success in Federal Service, then attaining the highest office in Toastmasters, I accepted challenges that made me reach far beyond my comfort zone, time and again". "...I credit Toastmasters for training that gave me the confidence and communication skills to pursue the opportunities that came my way". ..."Toastmasters gave me the knowledge...Ultimately, my ability to share this knowledge earned me recognition and more opportunities". Helen Blanchard Pg. 219 Breaking the Ice

Buy the book

WOW - I am soooo excited to have a signed copy of Helen's book Breaking the Ice - This was a MUST DO at the 2008 Calgary Convention this year. I had emailed both Helen and Pauline Shirley about my being honored by THE HOME and Pauline informed me that Helen was finally launching her book - and what better place to do it then the 2008 Toastmasters International Calgary Convention!!

Right after the Region Vii Outgoing LGM (now incoming LGETS) lunch at A & W for some burgers, fries and rootbeer floats - I went right to the TM book store, bought "Breaking the Ice" and got in line to be one of the many Toastmasters who got a signed copy before the book is being released.

In it Helen writes: "To Sherri, Enjoy life's journey - Yours - and mine. Helen Blanchard International Convention, Calgary, Canada August 2008".

You can be sure that this signed book is ONE of my FAVORITE possessions and memories from the Calgary Convention. My only regret is that I was counting on getting another photo at the President's Dance with two first female leading ladies - both Helen Blanchard (1985-86) and Pauline Shirley (1994-95) fingers crossed for the 2009 Convention when it comes to Connecticut! view the 2007 Phx photo on my Website Toastmasters Page


"The Helen Blanchard story leaves those of us who took action in the 1970's, to change our by laws, with a deep sense of pride. Her story is the front runner of a much broader benefit where we no longer look at Toastmasters separately as men and woman, but as members in a worldwide community of diversity. A delightful read for not only Toastmasters, but for those interested in woman's history". Robert W. Blakeley, DTM, International President 1976-77

From the Back Cover :

"From Homer to Madam President - Not long ago, woman lived the lives that tradition dictated. Few Dreamed of becoming anything other than a wife, mother, or perhaps secretary or teacher. This is the story of Helen (Pallas) Blanchard who broke through the barriers of tradition".

Taken from Helen's marketing postcard

"Helen "Homer" Blanchard won the hearts of acquaintances, supervisors, co-workers, and - most of all thousands of members of Toastmasters International during her ground -breaking successful carreer as a mother, Navy civilian employee, and female president of Toastmasters International".

"In breaking the barriers of tradition, Helen blazed the trail that thousands of woman have followed to join Toastmasters, participate fully, and see their dream of leadership come to life".

"Breaking the Ice is Helen's inspiring story, a story of passion, hard work, dedication, guts, smarts, friendship, and meaning".

ISBN- 978-0-9816640-1-9


Break the ice


To break down social formality and stiffness.


The earlier meaning of this phrase, i.e. 'to forge a path for others to follow' alludes of course to the breaking of ice to allow the navigation of boats. The figurative use is quite old and was recorded by Sir Thomas North in his 1579 translation of Plutarch's Lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes:

"To be the first to break the Ice of the Enterprize."

It wasn't until the latter part of the 17th century that it took on its current 'establish a relaxed relationship in socially awkward situations' meaning. For example, Samuel Butler's Hudibras, 1678:

"The Oratour - At last broke silence, and the Ice."

If we move forward another two hundred years 'breaking the ice' reverts to its original usage, when specialist ice-breaking ships were introduced. These ships, known as ice-breakers, were equipped with strengthened hulls and powerful engines, were employed in the exploration of polar regions.

Soon after the ships were introduced the term 'ice-breaker' began to be applied to social initiatives which were intended to get strangers acquainted with one another. In 1883, Mark Twain used the wordb that way in Life on Mississippi:

"They closed up the inundation with a few words - having used it, evidently, as a mere ice-breaker and acquaintanceship-breeder - then they dropped into business."

No comments: