The Destin and the Gulf Breeze Toastmasters Clubs have joined Toastmaster Clubs from around the world to participate in the 2013 Toastmasters International Speech Contest.  It is the world’s largest speech contest, with more than 30,000 presenters in 116 countries vying to become the next world champion of public speaking.

The global contest begins at the local club level and proceeds through the area, division, district, and final levels. Eighty-two district semifinalists compete during the four-day 2013 Toastmasters Convention to be held in August in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Nine contenders will make it to the final round, where the winner is crowned the Toastmasters World Champion.

Jeanie Zepponi, a member of both the Destin Toastmasters and the Gulf Breeze Toastmasters clubs, will represent Gulf Breeze Toastmasters as its first-place winner at the area contest in Pensacola on March 23, 2013.  The winner of that contest will go on to compete at the division level on April 27, 2013, and the winner there will compete at the district competition in Huntsville, Ala., in May 2013.  The local district includes clubs from the Florida Panhandle, all of Alabama, and Southern Mississippi.

Zepponi has lived in Destin for over 22 years.  She has spent the past 17 years working as a top real estate agent.  She was named the No. 1 Re/Max Commercial Real Estate Team in the world in 2005.  And, said she attributes her success to her belief that “if you want to better at what you do, you must be better at who you are.” Which is why she spends a lot of time reading self-improvement books.  She loves gardening and cooking while listening to classical music. What inspires her most are positive people doing small “random acts of kindness” for others, reading motivational material, and inspirational stories.

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. The organization currently has more than 280,000 members in approximately 13,500 clubs in 116 countries. Since its founding in October 1924, the organization has helped more than 4 million men and women give presentations with poise and confidence. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, or to attend a contest, please visit