Luca Graziani – Nominated Candidate for Division B Director
Toastmasters member since 2017
MSc in Engineering of Computing Systems, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
MSc in Computer Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
Toastmasters offices held and terms of service:
Club Treasurer, Bloomberg London Toastmasters, 1 July 2019 – 30 June 2020
Club President, Bloomberg London Toastmasters, 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021
Area C58 Director, Toastmasters District 91, 1 July 2021 – 30 June 2022
Toastmasters honors and recognition:
Dynamic Leadership 5 (DLS), 21 November 2022
Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a District leader:
Software Engineering Team Leader. My interest in Toastmasters leadership, at club and district level, stems from my desire to hone my leadership skills. I have become a team leader within my organisation in March 2022 but I recognise I still have much to learn
What experience do you have in strategic planning?
As Club President, I was deeply involved in every aspect of planning for the club, from organising events to increase membership, securing guest speakers, making sure club officers would be trained to rolling out a member mentorship program. As Area Director, I made sure to plan ahead so that all my clubs and the Area as a whole would respect deadlines for club officer trainings, speech contests, membership renewals and Area Director Club Visit Reports
What experience do you have in the area of finance?
As Club Treasurer, I was responsible for ensuring memberships would be renewed on time.
As Area Director, I managed a £300 yearly budget. Because of the virtual settings of trainings and contests, I used said budget to purchase Pathways recognition awards for members in my area, ending the year with a positive balance.
What experience do you have in developing procedures?
Both in Toastmasters and in my work, I have been establishing clear procedures to reach consensus in meetings, setting up objectives, assigning people to specific tasks and centralising information to avoid repetition and information asymmetry
What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?
Throughout my term as Club President, I have learned the importance of knowing who to trust with a task, especially in a volunteering organisation. When someone’s commitment decreases, it’s important to reassess who can be relied upon.
As Area Director, I have learned the critical role that delegation plays in any leadership role. While I was able to delegate duties to my Club Presidents in a limited fashion, I observed how my Division Director was able to empower us Area Directors to organise Club Officer Trainings and Division speech contests. I hope to further develop my delegation skills as Division Director
Why do you want to serve as a District leader?
I regard District 91 as almost an extended family, having been part of it for over 5 years. As Toastmasters has had a deeply positive influence in my personal and professional development, with the Division Director role I hope to further serve the District by helping my Area Directors support their clubs throughout the year and potentially create new clubs. I hope I can bring my prior experience as Club President and Area Director to advise, mentor and share the lessons I’ve learned.
I also see this role as a further chance for me to hone my leadership skills, which are nowhere near complete
In your opinion, what are the District mission’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?
Members’ experience should be at the core of each District’s mission. Toastmasters wouldn’t exist if people didn’t find it a valuable means to hone their communication and leadership skills and that should be at the center of every decision we make. This means ensuring primarily that each club has the support they need to develop their members. Areas and Divisions should be working to enable collaboration between neighbouring clubs while fostering a thriving community of leaders that can then take up roles outside of their clubs and give back to the wider organisation.
This involves ensuring that trainings are excellent and punctually delivered, that clubs’ progress and issues are promptly tracked and addressed and that District leaders create occasions, such as contests, to allow multiple clubs to come together as one.
Additional information about yourself:
When I’m not working or public speaking, I enjoy playing the guitar in my rock band as well as dancing Salsa. I train at the gym and swimming pool to keep my body sharp as well.