Div C – Michaela Talbot

Nominated Candidate for Division C Director

Candidate Statement

With over fifteen years as a member of Toastmasters International, and various officer roles including President within my club Holborn Speakers, I gained experienced at District level as Finance Manager for the “old” District 71, and as Audit Committee member. I am currently Area Director of C2 and  wish to put my learning and experience to use and serve as your Division Director.

Having attended many District conferences and two International Conventions I have learnt so much, and I continue to learn from highly experienced Toastmasters, and to share ideas and best practice.

Whilst having held operational and strategic leadership roles in my work, these skills and those I have learnt from my District roles (especially the power of acknowledgement, recognition and reward), I will apply to leading Division C. This year I have completed the Speaker to Trainer programme, which has further helped me build my skillset to support Area Directors in their roles to support club officers.

I’m a good listener, love to hear new ideas, a problem solver and a life long learner.

My experiences at Toastmasters have led me to do things I could never have dreamed of doing – to Co-Chair a Women in Finance network for ten years, to speak at events eg Inspirational Women in Business 2018, a panel speaker at a trade press event. As a Division Director I want to support our members to have the high quality, fun and life changing impact as I have from Toastmasters International.

Please support me to support our members in the “new norm” environment to:

  • Rebuild and grow membership
  • Manage the hybrid environment and beyond
  • Embrace the educational programme
  • Support corporate clubs specific requirements

Why are you applying to become Division Director?

It would be a privilege to serve as a Division Director in this wonderful organisation that has had such a significant impact on so many members lives, including myself.
I am enjoying being an Area Director and would like to build on it as a Division Director. In this difficult environment and the move to online meetings and communication, the core focus has been membership numbers, retaining members and new members. As the environment moves to a new normal, there will be further challenges of transition and adjustment. As Division Director I would want to support the transitions to hybrid meetings, and focus on gaining full engagement of all members with Pathways, and a refocus on club DCP.

What leadership roles have you had in Toastmasters so far and when did you serve in these roles?

Treasurer, Holborn Speakers c2005-06
VP Membership, Holborn Speakers c2007-08
VPE, Holborn Speakers c2008-09
Finance Manager, old D71 (UK & Ireland) 2010-11
Audit Committee, old D71 2012-13
President, Holborn Speakers 2018-19
Area Director, C2 2020-21

What have been your key accomplishments and what have you learnt from in past leadership roles?

As Area Director, being used to challenging and changing environments in my work career (which involves change management), I feel that I have been able to support clubs officers in this difficult world climate, and to support, encourage and help them to look positively forward, as well as come up with ways to handle the challenges now and to remain positive in the here and now. Also to seek out opportunities in the challenges.

As President of Holborn Speakers, I expanded the membership diversity of the club, as it had hardly any women when I joined, and grew this to c40%.

I really developed as a speaker and leader in delivering motivational and inspiring introductions to the club meetings three times a month. Led the club to Presidents Distinguished Award with 10/10 goals.

I had to deal with tough situation between two members which had the potential to be very problematic, I addressed it swiftly and resolved it.

As Finance Manager for the old D71, after a few years without it having strong financial leadership, I made some major changes in the quality, visibility and clarity of the finances to the District Leadership.

In my leadership roles to date, I have especially learned a lot about motivating people in a voluntary organisation. And how powerful acknowledgement, recognition and reward are.

What are the main responsibilities of Division Directors that you are aware of?

My understanding is that Division Director is a leadership role which takes responsibility for a Division, and supports the Area Directors to support the clubs, to deliver an excellent experience to members.
Supporting the delivery of the plans of the District top team.
It involves establishing a plan for the Division for the year (DSP). Building working relationships, regular communications, and giving guidance to ADs. Overseeing and tracking the Divisions progress.
It incorporates organising (with support of Assistant DD potentially, ADs) Division level contests and training, and supporting ADs with similar at Area level.
Exchanging ideas with other leaders and members, and sharing best practice and ensuring consistency between clubs is also part of the role.