CAROL PRAHINSKI, DTM

Candidate's Office: International Director

Region Number: 6

Toastmasters member since: 2008

Education: PhD, MS, BSBA in Operations Management (Business); MBA (general); Second City Improv

Employer and/or position: Asst. Professor, Michigan State University, Eli Broad College of Business

Served as district governor of district number: 62

Term of service: 2013-2014

In term as district governor, district achieved: Distinguished

Website: https://carol4id.com/

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

  • 2016-2017 Region Advisor, Region 6
  • 2015-2016 Chief Ambassador, REP Program
  • 2013-2014 District Governor

Toastmasters honors and recognition (international level):

  • 2013-2014 Distinguished District Governor
  • 2012, 2015, and 2017 Distinguished Toastmasters Award
  • 2010-2011 Toastmaster of the Year, District 62

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

As part of the #1 program in Supply Chain at Michigan State, I have high performance standards. With 20+ years as a professor, I guide diverse multi-cultural young adults to identify problems, analyze alternatives and make decisions to deliver results. I coach students, professionals and friends with negotiation (conflict), strategy and leadership using stories, theory and framework. My work experience provides a strong foundation for the Board role.

What experience do you have in strategic planning?

As a professor, I teach strategic planning (e.g., resource planning, forecasting, and capacity). With National Speakers Association-Michigan (NSA-MI), we wrote mission and vision statements, and restructured the business model to achieve fiscal sustainability. I’ve written several international, award-winning organization strategy cases.

What experience do you have in the area of finance?

With financial management, risk and reward must be balanced. My experience is extensive and includes an MBA as well as teaching business skills including finance, such as ratios, balance sheets and income statements. In addition, I manage, or managed, budgets for National Speakers Association-Michigan, District 62 Toastmasters, and my personal assets; I have excellent credit history.

What experience do you have in developing policies?

I chair a Department Advisory Council at Michigan State University. We make decisions, guide our department chair, and write policies regarding non-curriculum concerns. I train students and business professionals to develop policies centered on ethics. I authored or am a strong contributor to several handbooks, including the Region Advisor Handbook (2016), the District 62 Finance Guidelines (2013), and the OSU PhD Program in Operations (1996-2001).

What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?

Leadership requires a vision, strategy, and compassion. Successful leaders learn to delegate the result, not the process. Leaders develop from three concepts. First, becoming a leader is an internal process. Second, effective feedback enables growth and confidence. Third, the listening and joyful support of a team encourages and guides the development of a leader.

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

As a business professor, business owner, and former buyer/supervisor, my experience offers several key strengths: 1) Courage and integrity to stand by decisions that are best for members and Toastmasters, 2) Enthusiasm for the Toastmasters mission, 3) Ability to think strategically and anticipate problems, and 4) Listen, clarify and gather different perspectives to strengthen the team and incorporate these perspectives into the decision making process.

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

I would like to serve as an international director for two reasons. First, I have a contribution to make, particularly while we are undergoing significant transformation. My skills – reflected through my seminars, publications and leadership – will contribute to the further development of our fine organization. Second, I want to continue learning and growing from the leadership experiences; it is a joy to work with strong leaders across the world.

What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?

My volunteer experience outside of Toastmasters is significant, including NSA-Michigan, church, bicycling fundraising and student group activities. For example, I am on the planning committee for the Ride of Silence, an annual bicycle memorial for individuals injured or killed while bicycling; I’ve been part of the ride since 2007. With the MS Society, I chaired many event planning committees (1991 to 2007), helping to grow MS awareness, participation and funds.

Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters?

My positive experience includes witnessing how diversity leads to success. Contributing factors include respect, listening, accountability, pride in work, achievement, and celebration. I work with several Boards, including Natl. Speakers Assoc.-Michigan for four years; I am President. I support, interact and attend City of East Lansing Council, Boards and Commissions. I chair and am a four-year member of the MSU Univ. Library Committee.

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

The objectives center on accomplishing the mission and 2015 Strategic Plan. As we transition with Pathways, we interpret how to achieve our mission and plan differently. Giving voice to concerns and addressing them are powerful ways to build consensus. With enhanced marketing and public relations, I would like to develop sustainable growth with young adults, internationally (incl. Latin America), corporations and online clubs.

Additional information about candidate:

• Advanced scuba diver (over 50 dives) with my husband, Flemming Mathiasen • Extensive travel to learn about local cultures – 49 states, 8 Canadian provinces and 20 countries, speaking English and/or passable Spanish • Bicycle touring enthusiast, including across the USA, along the Mississippi river, and many regional tours.