MCC hosts Small Business Networking Forum

McLennan Community College’s (MCC) Small Business Development Center, in partnership with Dallas College’s Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, will host an engaging Small Business Networking Forum on July 25 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the MCC Conference Center, located at 4601 North 19th Street, Waco, Texas.

This forum offers small business owners a valuable opportunity to connect with resources dedicated to fostering success in their ventures. Participants will gain access to crucial information about the McLennan Community Investment Fund, Start-Up Waco, MCC’s Small Business Development Center, local Chamber of Commerce organizations, and various other small business advocacy groups. 

A highlight of the forum will be a presentation from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, an investment program to support the growth and job creation of small businesses by offering education, capital, and business support services. Over 12,800 business owners from all 50 states including Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, have graduated from this program to date. 

The Forum will conclude with networking and one-on-one meetings with small business resources and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses representatives.

            Registration for this free event is at For more information, contact Dr. Frank Graves, Dean of Workforce & Public Service at MCC, at 254-299-8126 or[email protected].

Lifelong Learning joins Mayborn Museum

By Terry Wright

Baylor University’s Lifelong Learning is excited to join the Mayborn Museum Complex and give our long-standing program a new home.  Lifelong Learning is a primarily volunteer-led membership-based organization that offers an array of learning opportunities and experiences.

Each fall and spring semester, member-designed courses and special events entice intellectually curious adults, age 50 and older, to explore a wide range of interests. Join us if you are looking for a comfortable venue for friendship, leadership opportunities, and stimulating learning.   

Members of the Lifelong Learning program are invited to join us at the Mayborn 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, July 30, for a Membership Picnic. This will be our first official event since formally merging with the museum June 1. This lunchtime event (food served 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.) will include a hot dog picnic and a museum trivia contest. Admission for the event is a paid annual membership to Baylor Lifelong Learning at the Mayborn for the 2021-2022 program year. 

A special museum trivia contest has been developed for the event for those who want to participate. LLL members will receive a form to fill in the blanks as they move from room to room in the museum. The activity is designed for approximately 60-90 minutes of museum viewing. Forms can be submitted at the end of the activity (before 3:00 pm) with the five LLL members earning the most points receiving prizes. 

Current, former, and new Lifelong Learning members are encouraged to sign up for membership prior to the Membership Picnic. Membership status will be verified before admittance. A Lifelong Learning membership includes a membership to the Mayborn Museum and also enables the LLL member to enroll in fall/spring courses for the coming year at $20 per course, as well as to attend coffee speakers and other special events. 

Learn more about Lifelong Learning and purchase a membership at

Terry Wright has called Waco home since 1981. He initially worked for a local nonprofit. In 1997, he joined Baylor as the system analyst in the Office for Scholarships and Financial Aid, where he worked until his retirement in 2017.  Terry was introduced to BU Lifelong Learning by his wife, Linda, where they have both been active in courses and events for many years. He was installed as president of the organization in June.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

What Toastmasters did for me

By Gary Lee Webb

I have been in Waco 21 years. Before that, I had never heard about Toastmasters International; although, I did participate in some speaking organizations back in high school (Model UN while in California and the Arizona Model Legislature) and thought I was a great speaker. 

It was not until a demonstration of Toastmasters at my work in 2007 that I learned about the organization. It reminded me of the fun I had in high school, and one can always improve their communication skills, so I joined.

This is a Zoom virtual event of Toastmasters and is open to the public.

I quickly learned that I was only good, not great. I had a long way to go. But Toastmasters has taken me from being a good speaker to extremely good, top decile in the world. I learned to use my voice to its full capacity — pitch and intonation, speed and cadence, how to moderate to best effect, when to stage whisper across a room. I improved my use of gestures and movement across the speaking area. I learned rhetorical devices, assonance and alliteration, and even the use of unusual techniques such as the paraprosdokian twist. After all, the voice is the sharpest scalpel within the surgeon’s kit of speaking. If you use it well, people will be intrigued and you can paint pictures. 

I also went from being a horrible humorist to someone who can occasionally win a humor contest. That is something I must still improve, but at least people do not stampede the door, exiting when I tell a joke.

I learned to think quickly on my feet, replying in one to two minutes to off-the-wall questions. In Toastmasters, we not only practice prepared speaking but also impromptu speaking at every meeting. We call it “Table Topics.” A predesignated Table Topics Master queries random people with questions he prepared earlier. Getting good at answering is a very useful skill for job interviews or a quick proposal to one’s boss.

Something else we practice at meetings is the art of constructive criticism: nicely telling a speaker where they can improve and how to do so, in a way that encourages him to take your advice. After all, our goal is to help every speaker to become better. Leaders should know how to evaluate others, whether they supervise paid employees or a group of volunteers.

We also teach leadership skills, much to my personal benefit. When I joined Toastmasters, I was happy to take a supportive role, assisting the leadership team, but never the lead role. Now I have learned to take the reins, if necessary. Thrice within the last 12 years, I have taken on one-year terms as Area or Division Governor or Director (titles have changed). 

Finally, we learn to guide, teach, and train. Every new member gets a mentor to guide them, and when they have become experienced we hope they will do the same. I have mentored three-dozen new members, assisting them to become better speakers and leaders. Some of them have hit heights I have never reached – what better result can any teacher expect? I have also taught the speechcraft seminar sixteen times: eleven weeks on speaking basics. More advanced skills as well. And I have led officer training for multiple leaders and even organized the event held at Baylor University, August 2014: ten trainers, twelve classes, training sixty chapter officers.

In short, Toastmasters International has enriched my life and improved my skills. What can it do for you? 

Gary Lee Webb is the grandfather of two (age 9 and 7), a long-time member of Toastmasters International and the National Storytelling Network, and the author of 17 published short stories. He is also a world traveler (having lived on three continents), an astronomer, and a software engineer. Currently, he is vice president of education for three Waco public Toastmaster chapters and can be reached at [email protected].

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].