Candidates Corner

Beauty Zindi – Candidate for Division Director

Beauty Zindi – Candidate for Division Director

Why are you running for this District Leadership Role? Why now?

I have gained a lot of experience in my various leadership roles inside and outside of Toastmasters. Division Director is a natural step forward in my personal development journey
within Toastmasters, as well as a great opportunity to serve an organisation whose values and mission I truly believe change lives.

What is your vision for the role?

My vision of the Division Director role is threefold:
i) Work harmoniously with all the Area Directors under my supervision, giving them all the support I possibly can in their service to Clubs.
ii) Work as an efficient and effective bridge between the District Leadership Team and the Area Directors so that initiatives coming from the DLT filter down to Clubs, as well as communicating feedback from Areas to the DLT.
iii) Encourage cooperation between clubs, via the Area Directors, so that stronger clubs can support weaker ones to enable all members who want to flourish to do so.

How will you go about achieving this vision?

I believe that the key ingredient to success in an organisation such as ours is building relationships. When people feel valued and supported they can accomplish much. It is my intention to get to know all my Area Directors, their challenges and visions, and to give them the support they need to help their clubs.

How do you plan to achieve Distinguished status?

My aim will be to have a clear Division Success Plan agreed with all Area Directors. This will keep us focused on the actions we need to take, with clear accountability for actions. I will ensure that we all understand the performance measures established by Toastmasters International HQ and most importantly communicate the fact that these measures reflect how
well our members are doing and are not just measures for measurement’s sake. My aim would be to come up with a plan for achieving President’s Distinguished Division.

What is the greatest challenge you may face as District Leader?

Inspiring my team to balance their time commitments by having a plan which focuses on agreed priorities

How will you work with others to achieve success?

i) Listen to my team to get their input and feedback
ii) Communicate in a streamlined fashion to avoid information overload while staying
focused on the key objectives
iii) Lead by example as I always strive to do.

Liang T Li – Candidate for Division Director

Liang T Li – Candidate for Division Director

Why are you running for this District Leadership Role? Why now?

The journey of thousand miles begins with one step.

 I believe taking the challenge step by step can help me to become a better me. I also like seeing other people become better themselves.  Therefore I choose to take a further challenge to run for District Leadership Role.  I’ve started my Toastmaster Leadership Journey on since the Club VPE in MLP London Bridge Speakers from Jun 2016, which is my second year of Toastmasters membership. Then I was lucky to be elected to be Club President for 2016-2017 and Area Director for 2017-2018. Every leadership role in Toastmasters bring my different challenges, and perspectives of perceiving things. Although it takes time and energy to deal with those challenges and unexpected issue, the feeling of achievement of being able to resolve problems and helping others is extraordinary.

Why now=> The first step to getting somewhere is to decide you’re not staying where you are.

“If not now, then when? If not me, then who? “

What is your vision for the role?

Lead and support the Division by supervising and supporting Area Directors to explore their potential and achieve goals.

How will you go about achieving this vision?

Plan it early and ensure every Area Directors get involved.

Communicate with Area Director monthly and find out if they need any help.

Being supportive and give them space to be a leader.

Encourage and then appreciate Area Directors and other helpers commitment.

How do you plan to achieve Distinguished status?

Monitor the clubs with unhealthy status (i.e. less than 20 members) and discuss with Area Director to generate plan to save the club.

Encourage every Area Director to create a new club and brainstorm the leads.

Build consensus with Area Director that it’s possible for every club to become president distinguished club as long as they plan it early and ensure the action is taken.

What is the greatest challenge you may face as District Leader?

Perhaps there might be Area Directors are not active and not committed their roles.

How will you work with others to achieve success?

Creativity, Patience, Encouragement, and Appreciation.

Vijaya Avula – Candidate for Division Director

Vijaya Avula – Candidate for Division Director

Why are you running for this District Leadership Role? Why now?

I strongly believe I can utilise my leadership skills gradually at a larger group of audience and it’s the right platform and time to step up to the occasion as I am continuously learning from inspiring leaders and distinguished Toastmasters at D91.

What is your vision for the role?

Division Director Role is strategically key role both upward and down ward directions, building leadership teams who intern have opportunity to build leaders at club and area levels. District is an Organization, Division is a Portfolio, Area is a Program and every club meeting is a Project. My vision for the role is making sure to have growth in terms of Quality, numbers and ultimately everyone gets benefited, changing lives for better.

How will you go about achieving this vision?

Continue with what works well, Arrive at the Division Success Plan alignment in line with Area and District Success Plans, Plan ahead, Ask for help ( create help where possible).

Active listening and proactively empowering the Area Directors with the needed resources and timely communications with DLT, Addressing the Red Flags as soon as they appear.

How do you plan to achieve Distinguished status?

Continue implementing District’s 1-70-100 Vision. Apply 80-20 Rule Spot that 20% that matters.

Quality & Publicity, Good Finances and Resources are the key coordinates for any Club to thrive

Periodical review of Clubs with Area Directors and making frequent visits to clubs in the Division to understand their needs and provide a possible collaborations.

Make sure every club has a Club Success Plan and Area Success Plans for every Area and a buy in from all the relevant stakeholders is the key.

Formation of new clubs and spotting the leads & as well as prospective leaders and offering them needed leadership training and team building.

What is the greatest challenge you may face as District Leader?

Getting everyone on to the same page quickly, this is one of the areas I have to master the skill.

How will you work with others to achieve success?

Servant Leadership, keeping all inhibitions and egos away and asking for help quickly when needed and at the same reciprocating back, sticking to the 4 core values of Toastmasters and providing (as well as receiving)  feedback from others and improvising in small steps.

Nikita Parks – Candidate for Division Director

Nikita Parks – Candidate for Division Director

Why are you running for this District Leadership Role? Why now?

Nikita Parks, ACS, ALB

When I joined Toastmasters to recover and develop my confidence and public speaking skills during my divorce, I did not anticipate that I would also develop leadership skills. These are precious and integral to becoming the best person I can be following my extraordinarily challenging life and eventual gender transition. I feel deeply grateful to and passionate about Toastmasters where I have received almost total acceptance in stark contrast to the adversity I experienced at work and from close relatives. That’s why I am determined to serve to the best of my ability.

I am volunteering for Division Director as progression from Area Director and Club President. I wish to keep on stretching and developing my leadership skills by taking on new challenges. I am highly motivated and enthusiastic, so it does not make sense to take a break. I also want my skills and experience in Toastmasters to be relevant to and be trusted by other District Leaders by the time district realignment occurs, to be of service when needed.

What is your vision for the role?

My vision as Division Director is to cultivate a sense of community within my division through delivering valuable activities. Toastmasters has a great deal to offer, yet due to the introspective nature of many clubs, there is a perceived ceiling on personal development which is misconceived. Through fostering inter-club mentoring, I want members to look beyond their clubs by default in future, to embrace all that Toastmasters can offer and to take the initiative to make things happen. Leadership skills come from committed active leading, not from mere attendance.

How will you go about achieving this vision?

To achieve this vision, I need to provide members of clubs with useful and relevant leadership and speaking experiences at club, area, division and district level. It’s not enough to entice a small minority of members to a remote district conference. I have already started at club level by seeking to replicate London’s successful general evaluator and speaker exchange in the west of our district. My vision would need to be shared and articulated by my Area Directors consistently in all their engagements with their clubs and delivered by organising and holding events. Toastmasters needs to think globally but act locally.

How do you plan to achieve Distinguished status?

Besides using tools like Moments of Truth, the Success Plans and Area Director visits, I will achieve distinguished division status through my vision. Cultivating community will improve membership retention because members will recognise that there is tangibly more on offer to them than the regular routine of their club meetings. Establishing, chartering and nurturing new clubs with effective mentoring and coaching provides continuous leadership development opportunities for those who embrace them.

What is the greatest challenge you may face as District Leader?

The greatest challenge I would expect to face as Division Director is inertia, that tired members remain in leadership positions within clubs and don’t identify and nurture their successors. In my present role as Area Director I am implementing a cross-club mentoring programme to provide mutual support and encouragement and to overcome inertia and foster creativity. My Area Directors will be on the front line confronting this inertia and my role is to support them and ensure that their motivation does not falter by recognising the nature of their leadership challenge and remaining persistent and determined throughout their term.

How will you work with others to achieve success?

Success in my role as Division Director would be dependent on working effectively with others and leading them to deliver my vision for our Division. I recognise that my allies are not only my Area Directors, but also our District Director, Club Growth Director, Programme Quality Director and fellow Division Directors. Leadership is not an individual activity, it is a team sport. I would be as open to the ideas and suggestions of others as determined to deliver my vision. I would engage effectively with our district leadership trio to help them achieve their goals. Collectively, we need to identify recurring themes across our clubs, nurture strengths and confront weaknesses. I will help change attitudes, so club visit reports become recognised as valuable actionable intelligence.

I hope my enthusiasm is infectious and that you will share my vision for Division J Director. Please vote for me in person or using your proxy vote on 4th May in Ashford.

Andy Hessey – Candidate for Division Director

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.