Andy Hessey – Candidate for Division Director
Why are you running for this District Leadership Role? Why now?
There are many reasons why I am running for a District Leadership Role. Firstly, I am enjoying my year as AD immensely. I have been fortunate to work with some outstanding leaders and I have learnt so much about myself and my leadership capabilities, but I feel it is unfinished business. I have so much more to give and give back to Toastmasters. I feel that I have learnt valuable lessons already that can help clubs. I like to think that I am an effective cheerleader for Toastmasters and able to enthuse and motivate members as well as helping those who need more information on important areas such as Pathways and People Management. I like to think of myself as someone who can make people smile and feel good – something I often to with my fellow AD’s on our WhatsApp group
What is your vision for the role?
My vision for the role is simple: To end my term with my clubs in a much stronger position than I inherit them. I know the obvious answer is for “every club to be distinguished”, however, there will always be times when that is not possible because of internal issues or wider-club problems. I would also envisage that I would be learning the lessons from this year’s TLI in order to deliver an even better one next year.
How will you go about achieving this vision?
One of my core skills is being able to build strong relationships and by having a great working relationship with people allows me to be able to build strong goals and get to the root of problems rather than being give the response people think I want to hear. In addition, I will work with the clubs to make sure they have the skills, members and enthusiasm to become a distinguished club by putting hosting area events such as the COTs and the Speech Contests. I will promote Open House meetings and membership drives and help educate club officers to understand the benefits and processes to make Pathways a success.
How do you plan to achieve Distinguished status?
Getting clubs to distinguished level is not a simple one-size-fits-all approach, especially going into the critical final transition year between the original education programme and Pathways. There is going to need to be a focus on getting clubs from just delivering levels 1 and 2 in Pathways towards encouraging people to be getting Levels 4 and 5 completed. Ensuring that club retention is high will help with that and also will make it easier for when new members need mentors. Mentoring is a bit thing that I have probably not taken seriously enough in my first 6 months as an AD, but it is something that I want to address before the end of my term. I want to make sure that all clubs as part of their Club Success Plans have mentoring as a high priority, ensuring that there is a consistent approach to not only new members, but members who are doing roles for the first time such as General Evaluator and TME.
What is the greatest challenge you may face as District Leader?
As difficult as it may be to see into the future, I expect one of the greatest problems to be rejection of ideas and the ingrained attitudes where clubs are happy doing it their way. This is a problem not just within Toastmasters but within other organisations I have been involved in as well as clients that I have worked for. The resistance to change is natural but given the changes that have happened in Toastmasters over the past couple of years, it is really important that clubs understand that times must change. Often this is dealt with through a combination of education and explanation – the formal training on why Pathways must be embraced especially with June 2020 in mind, and the less-formal conversations, understanding why a club feels that change is a negative force.
How will you work with others to achieve success?
The way I will work with others will not change. It will be, first and foremost, collaborative. I have been fortunate to have worked in a number of very high-performing teams. I like to think that the team building exercises at the recent District Officer Training was demonstration that I am able to provide great input when I am able to and provide advice and expertise when I am able to.