PQD – Rupa Datta

Nominated Candidate for Program Quality Director

Candidate Statement

My Vision
The club meeting environment can be magical and is simply the tip of the iceberg of the overall Toastmasters Experience. Our educational program has evolved over the past few years, yet why we as an organization exist remains the same, to provide ‘dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership development.’

All of you as members of District 91, deserve to be aware of all of the opportunities for growth and development to you, both in and outside of your club. I wish to build on what the District Leadership Team have done this year in this regard. Elements such as Speechcraft give you the opportunity to take Toastmasters to the outside world and our Youth Leadership program is a fabulous opportunity for us to reach the next generation of Toastmasters.

We deliver high quality training and this needs constant refining to ensure we are relevant for our membership and District needs. District 91 is less than 10 years old and as I have noticed in my role this year, additional training opportunities need to be made available for the lesser known roles. I will work alongside my successor for this and continue what our incumbent PQD has put in place with respect to training such as webinars, the trainers bureau and specific training for our corporate colleagues.

Why Me?
I spent 7 years of my early career in the field of recruitment and am currently, I run a business helping people build portfolio careers. As a champion of thought leadership on the ‘future of work’, I’m passionate about demonstrating to members and non-members alike, how giving and gaining skills within Toastmasters can help one navigate their own careers.

Training
I have delivered training in various guises over the last decade and recognise that the opportunity needs to be made available as we all learn in different ways. As stated above, the importance of role based training and relevance for our current District needs will be addressed.

Events
The 2019 Division B Autumn Conference was deemed to be a success. Outside of Toastmasters I have been involved in comedy dinner shows, property industry networking and even Dragon’s Den style events.

Lifelong, experiential learning – Will you give me the opportunity to show you why it is important and how our education program is unique and priceless in this regard?

Why are you applying to become Program Quality Director?

One of my main observations this year, perhaps as a result of the pandemic and of course currently serving on the District Leadership Team is that a number of our fundamentals aren’t in place or have been lost over time. Whilst we are presented with this challenge, this also gives us the opportunity to reset and re-educate and that would be my primary focus of my tenure if elected. Training of both District and Club Officers on the fundamental parts of the roles, whilst giving those organising and delivering the flexibility on how.

Inevitably, in my current role I have a greater awareness of the bigger picture and can see this as an organic next step, building on the work done this year around club quality and raising awareness of the Toastmasters educational program in its entirety such as Speechcraft.

Finally, I have extensive experience and exposure to putting on events – inside of Toastmasters, the Division B Autumn Conference was deemed to be a success and outside of Toastmasters I have been involved in comedy dinner shows, property industry events amongst other things. Being accountable for a District Conference in this uncertain time would be an interesting challenge!

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

D91 Club Growth Director Jul 2020 – Present

Division B Director July 2019 – June 2020

Area 29 Director July 2018 – June 2019

President – Trojan Speakers July 2017 – June 2018

VP Membership Trojan Speakers July 2016 – June 2017

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

As VP Membership, we closed the year on a 20% net growth. I was thrust into the role very early in my Toastmaster career and very quickly recognised that my membership was just as much about contribution as development. As President, we finished the year as President’s Distinguished – only the 2nd time in the club’s history. This was my year of largest growth and in hindsight, the importance of building a team and having a plan that was regularly reviewed was the reason for this As Area Director, my main learning was that it isn’t about some of the metrics that are there – they are indicators. Here I learned the importance of leaving a role in a better place. As Division Director, we closed out the year as President’s Distinguished – the importance of seeing these roles as strategic and long term is paramount. As Club Growth Director – I’m still learning! So far I can say that best laid plans are often hit with curve balls, it is imperative that we think long term and it doesn’t matter how good an operator you are, it is about a team.

What are the main responsibilities of the Program Quality Director that you are aware of?

Ensure District Officers are trained to fulfil their roles
Ensure Club Officer Training is of a standard for clubs to be successful
Responsible for the District Conference – put together a team
Overseeing the quality of contests
Actively contribute to District Leadership Team meetings
Contribute to the District Success Plan
Strive to ensure as many clubs as possible are Distinguished by the end of the Program year through best practice