Getting to Know

Vision loss doesn't hinder Toastmaster speech contest winner

2013-04-24T00:00:00Z Vision loss doesn't hinder Toastmaster speech contest winnerBy Times Staff
April 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Steve Pangere recently won the Area competition of the Toastmasters International Speech Contest held in Merrillville. Pangere advanced to the Division competition in South Bend, where he placed second.

With more than 30,000 contestants in 116 countries, the Toastmasters International Speech Contest is the world's largest speech competition. Participants practice and give their presentations in local clubs, then polish their skills as they advance to area, division and district levels.

The competition culminates with the World Championship of Public Speaking, held this year Aug. 24 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Pangere's 5- to 7-minute speech spoke of his challenges with progressive vision loss from Rod-Cone Dystrophy, and how it has led to his life shared with Hope, his guide dog and constant companion.

Despite Pangere's diagnosis, he continues to be successful in business and has become a strong advocate for individuals with vision-impairment and loss.

Pangere helps others with visual handicaps through the Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. He also established the Pangere Center for Inherited Retinal Diseases to improve the quality of life for the blind and visually impaired through advocacy, education, and technology programs.

Pangere graduated from Purdue University in Lafayette with a degree in industrial management. In 1994, he became president and CEO of The Pangere Corporation, and in 2012 was inducted into The Times BusINess Hall of Fame.

He has been a member of The Great Communicators of Northwest Indiana, a Toastmasters Club based in Crown Point, since 2011. The club meets from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month at the Purdue Academic Center, 9900 Connecticut Drive, Room 246, Crown Point. Guests are welcome to visit before joining.

People from all walks of life use Toastmasters to develop public speaking and leadership skills. For more information, call Dale Brooks at (219) 775-7788.

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