Weber to give his final talk in Bitterroot

Steve Weber will make his final presentation in the Bitterroot Valley on Sept. 17 at 6:45 a.m. at Hamilton Senior Center, 820 N. 4th St., in Hamilton. Weber is well known for his portrayal of Forrest Gump.

Bitterroot Toastmasters invites the community to a free talk entitled “Embracing Change, Reinventing Yourself” by Bitterroot-based professional speaker Steve Weber who has made a name for himself portraying the character, Forrest Gump.

Weber will make his final presentation in the Bitterroot Valley on Sept. 17 at 6:45 a.m., at Hamilton Senior Center, at 820 N. 4th St. in Hamilton.

He plans to move out of the Bitterroot Valley at the end of September after making his home here for more than a decade.

For more than 15 years, Weber represented the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company by portraying the character Forrest Gump. In that role, he interacted with more than a million people in exchanges that took place in just moments or a couple of minutes each.

Over the years, though, he has become more interested in sharing deeper exchanges in which he learns people’s personal stories and shares something of himself in return instead of portraying another character.

“The brilliant thing about what I did with Bubba Gump is that I literally became the character, but I did it at the expense of who Steve was,” Weber said.

He realized he was becoming better and better at being the character of Forrest Gump and entertaining people, but he wasn’t growing in his own identity as Steve Weber.

“This time in the Bitterroot was a time for me to reinvent myself, get back in touch with my own identity, and shed the identity that I had portrayed for all those years,” Weber explained. “While that was a lot of fun and I loved it, it was also a time when in many ways I suspended my own personal growth and development.”

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Weber will discuss in his presentation:

● Why change is so hard (and upsetting),

● Why Forrest Gump was able to ‘go with the flow'

● The best part about living in the Bitterroot

Bitterroot Toastmasters President Robbie Wisdom said that Weber’s topic is particularly relevant for the club and the community.

“Many of our members joined Toastmasters to develop the skills they need to successfully embrace change in their lives and reinvent themselves in their careers and community involvement,” Wisdom said. “Steve’s presentation last September was hugely popular with a big turnout. Even though it was early in the morning, everyone thought it was well worth it. We’re looking forward to many more folks taking advantage of this last opportunity to hear Steve speak in the Bitterroot.”

Coffee and other refreshments will be available starting at 6:30 a.m., and the meeting will be called to order promptly at 6:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Weber will speak and take questions for the first 45 minutes of the meeting. The last 15 minutes of the meeting will be dedicated to a send-off social during which everyone is invited to give him their well wishes as well as learn more about Bitterroot Toastmasters.

Bitterroot Toastmasters is the local chapter of Toastmasters International, a worldwide, nonprofit, educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Since 2011, Bitterroot Toastmasters has helped people in the Bitterroot Valley become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders. For information about this event or the communication and leadership benefits of Toastmasters, for more information visit bitterroottoastmasters.org or call 406-219-8694.