Tamala TakahashI


Candidate's Office: International Director

Region Number: 2

Toastmasters member since: 2007

Education: Excellence in Education and Training – 2014

Employer and/or position: Community Engagement Strategist, Consultant

Served as district governor of district number: 52

Term of service: 2014-2015

In term as district governor, district achieved:

Website: http://TamalaTforID.com

Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international and regional level):

Toastmasters honors and recognition (international level):

  • 2013-2014 Excellence in Education and Training

Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a Board member:

I have a wide range of experience, including teaching, tech support, retail, business to business sales, social media marketing, editing, community organizing, and most currently, community engagement strategy. The unifying thread of my work history is supporting others in success. My diverse background gives me an overarching understanding of the various aspects of long-term business strategy, particularly in regards to the ongoing satisfaction of a business's customers, or in the case of Toastmasters, its members.

What experience do you have in strategic planning?

Non-profit planning and board experience, focused on community engagement strategy - 10+ years, Magazine editor - 5 years, Classroom and small group educator - 20+ years.

What experience do you have in the area of finance?

President of California Homeschool Network, a California non-profit with 100k budget, 2010-2011, Budget and financial planning for local non-profits, 2011-present

What experience do you have in developing policies?

Edited and updated bylaws, policies, and procedures while serving on non-profit boards. Drafted bylaws and policies for formation of the “Knerdy Knitters” artist guild, Worked with small non profits and community groups on improving policies and on developing best practices for customer and member engagement, California state proposal specialist for local chapter of League of Women Voters

What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?

I learned that leading and management are different skills. While it is important to be aware of the details, high level team leadership requires a focus on the long game. Strong leaders see how all the pieces fit together, and trust that the tactical team will take care of implementation once the strategy is determined. I have also learned the importance of referring back to the mission, vision, and values of the organization on a regular basis. The guiding principles of a group or organization must be clear and visible in every decision the group makes.

What experience and key strengths would you bring to the Board of Directors?

Strategic vision. I prefer addressing an issue in its totality, looking ahead toward long term goals and how decisions are likely to play out over time. This is particularly important as groups grow and mature. I practice this regularly when working with groups to develop their strategy for community engagement. Ability to entertain multiple viewpoints. In the League of Women Voters, for example, one of my responsibilities is to understand and explain state and county proposed laws from all points of view, with their benefits and disadvantages, regardless of my personal opinion. This awareness of all sides combined with my natural inclination to get things done efficiently, makes me a strong and engaged team player.

Why do you want to serve as an international officer/director?

I am particularly interested in the three main foci of the strategic plan - Club excellence, Member Achievement, and Awareness, Engagement, and Participation. In the past few years, the Toastmasters leadership has made significant progress on the goals of the 2015 strategic plan. I would like to join the board to continue this progress, providing ever increasing value to our members. I believe my creative energy, analytical intuition, and collaborate style will be a positive addition to the team.

What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?

I have volunteered not only as a board member and president for a number of non profits and community groups, but I also volunteer regularly in other positions. Some of them are: Burbank Public Library, Unitarian Universalist Church, California League of Women Voters, City Clerk’s Office, Parent Support groups, Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, local community events, game conventions, and art events. In most of these roles, I served in positions of community engagement, volunteer recruitment, outreach, community service, or event planning.

Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters? If so, describe your experience.

Civic Pride Committee - Vice-Chair (Present), League of Women Voters Glendale/Burbank - Membership Chair/Board Member (Present), California Homeschool Network - President (2010-2011), “Knerdy Knitters” Artist Guild - Founder and President (Present) I have also been in chair positions for a number of other organizations, working with boards to improve or coordinate outreach, online community management, meeting planning, and program development. It is through serving on these boards, while working the program in Toastmasters, that I have become the leader that I am today. I started as an educator, and moved into community engagement strategy in large part due to the mentorship and experiences of working on non-profit and community boards.

In your opinion, what are Toastmasters International’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?

Member retention. Right now, and in the next few years, increasing member retention rates is a high priority. This is true both in districts with rapid club growth and in districts that have largely stabilized, albeit for different reasons. Revamping the Toastmasters education program was an essential launching pad for improving retention rates, for it increases the value of maintaining a long-term Toastmasters membership. Many of the other organizational objectives in fact fall under the membership retention umbrella: club quality, leadership support and training, mentorship, program cost analysis across global districts, and district and club success measurements, for example. When Toastmasters leadership puts attention on increasing member retention in the next few years, this will address many, if not most, of the goals in the 2015 strategic plan. If I am elected to the board, I will work with the other board members to analyze the data and trends, to listen to the members’ experience and feedback, to recognize areas of success and areas where we can improve, and to support policy and procedures that underscore the diversity of our districts’ resources, demographics, and geography.

Additional information about candidate:

3 Children - 19, 16, and 14, Fiber Artist and Knitwear designer, Author two books - Deschooling Gently and Zenschooling