Sudha Balajee

SUDHA BALAJEE, DTM

Candidate's Office: International Director

Region Number: 13

Toastmasters member since: 2010

Education: B.Com, Chartered Accountant, Forensic Accountant, Diploma in Information Systems Audit, Forex & Treasury Manager, Masters Program In Women Entrepreneurship, Masters In Education, currently pursing CPA (USA)

Employer and/or position: Partner & Branch Head, S.V.Shetty & Associates, Chartered Accountants

Served as district governor of district number: 92

Term of service: 2017-2018

In term as district governor, district achieved: President's Distinguished

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

  • 2017-2018 District Director
  • 2017-2018 Pathways Guide
  • 2017-2018 Pathways Ambassador
  • 2016-2017 Program Quality Director
  • 2015-2016 District Finance Manager

Toastmasters honors and recognition (international level):

  • 2017-2018 Excellence in Leadership
  • 2017-2018 Presidents Distinguished
  • 2017-2018 Presidents Extension Award
  • 2016-2017 Excellence in Program Quality

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

I have over 24 years of experience in the field of Accounting and Auditing (including Risk based) for Corporate clients and Banks. I am an Advisor to Startups/Entrepreneurs in streamlining the areas of Finance, Taxation, Investment planning, Capital Structure planning and interacting with Government departments for approvals and licences. I am a visiting Professor for the past 12 years in Business Schools and have been also involved in determining Teaching methodology, Curriculum design and development. I believe my experience in Finance, Economics & association with Universities will be extremely relevant to the role as a member of the Board.

What experience do you have in strategic planning?

As a Partner in my firm, I am involved in creating Strategic plans and strategies for Marketing. For my clients, I help them with Financial Analysis, developing Business models & valuations and in the area of Corporate restructuring. My role in startups encompassed working with the Business Leaders in the areas of Budgeting, Human resource planning, short term and medium term projections. Over the past 3 plus years, I have been actively involved in strategies that identify and train potential leaders for District 92. My association with Universities has helped us retain the college clubs enabling District 92 to have the maximum number of college clubs.

What experience do you have in the area of finance?

My experience in Finance is two folds. One as a Chartered Accountant, I involve with Balance sheets, P&L Statements, Budgeting, Financial Analysis and Auditing. As District 92 Finance Manager, I was instrumental in liaisoning with Federal Bank to make them an official Banking partner across India. This helped District 92 open a Toastmasters District account for the first time. The bank also permitted Districts/Clubs across India to open their respective account. My interaction my government departments has helped my Local as well as International Clients in getting the necessary approvals and exemptions. As a Professor, I teach Finance subjects like Management & Financial Accounting, Auditing, Corporate Finance and regularly analyze Financial Statements of Global Companies.

What experience do you have in developing policies?

Throughout my experience, I have helped Startups / Entrepreneurs develop policies to run their Business. I have provided key inputs to Banks based on my Auditing in the areas of their Policies & Procedures, Risk based financing approach to hedge their losses. I have been involved in policy discussion around Women’s safety in the work place and policies dealing with Student conduct & behavioral aspects.

What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?

The most important lesson that I learnt during my Leadership journey is to always do the right thing rather than the nice thing and take tough decisions when necessary for the good of the members at large and organization in particular. Another key lesson during challenging situations is to motivate the team to look forward and ask “what next” instead of getting into a blame game. Trusting & Delegating authority along with the responsibilities empowers the team to perform. Learning and upgrading oneself does not stop regardless of age.

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

My entire experience as an Entrepreneur, Financial professional, as a Professor and as a Toastmaster has helped me develop into a person who understands Cultural diversity, Collaboration across teams, working with Business Leaders, Students and Community members.

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

The Toastmasters journey has been a transformative experience for me. I wish to continue and contribute further at an International level at a Strategic & Implementation level to increase the members reach. I wish to leverage on my Financial experience to help Corporates continue their partnership with our organization by streamlining the financial modalities. My aim is also to be a role model, serve and encourage more members to continue their Leadership journey in Toastmasters and take the lessons learnt into the outside world.

What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?

Based on my Toastmasters experience, I am taking baby steps into understanding the concepts of nation building by volunteering my time for social causes. We have the opportunity to transform our communities if we move into the leadership positions. Along with my family, I encourage Farmers group to move into chemical free natural farming and thereby achieve self-sufficiency. I also finance under-privileged children for their education.

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

I work with Entrepreneurs and Startup companies as part of their management team and help them set up their business and processes. This is the group that I prefer to work with since they have a lot of energy & ideas, an open mind, willingness to change and a never say die attitude. It helps me stay positive all the time.

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

In my opinion, the major objectives are to empower every member by fostering an environment of learning to become a Leader and an effective communicator. Since this is a self-paced program, there is a constant need to motivate our members to identify their goals and maintain the pace of their own development. I believe that Toastmasters provides ample platform to experiment, compete, unlearn & relearn in both the Leadership and Communication skills. My approach would be to guide members to constantly push the boundaries of their achievements, recalibrate their skills and succeed. Leadership is not about power but about empowerment.

Additional information about candidate:

I have been the Conference Chair of the first conference of the newly formed District 92 attended by over 420 members. My conference experience encompassed managing the overall budget, sponsors, events, people and conflict management. I have also conducted Youth Leadership Programs and Corporate Speech Craft programs. During my term as a Division Governor, I had chartered new Clubs in a single Economic zone and this paved the way to start a new Division in the subsequent term. During my term as a District Director, we chartered new Clubs in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities which has helped us to expand our footprint.