Aletta Rochat, DTM
Candidate's Office: First Vice President
Region Number: 11
Toastmasters member since: 2008
Education: Bachelor of Arts Degree - University of the Witwatersrand, Diploma in Marketing Management - University of South Africa, Certified World Class Speaking Coach, Certified Enneagram Coach, Purpose, Intuition and Systemic Coach
Employer and/or position: RodenroRodenro Investments - Co-owner since 2004, Voicing your Potential - Founder & CEO since 2010, Interview Survival Guide - Co-Founder since 2010
Served as District Director of District number: 74
Term of service: 2014 - 2015
In term as District Director, District achieved: Select Distinguished
Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international-, region-, and District-level):
- 2011-2012 Division Governor
- 2012-2013 Lieutenant Governor Marketing
- 2013-2014 Lieutenant Governor Education & Training
- 2014-2015 District Governor
- 2016-2018 Region Advisor
Toastmasters honors and recognition (international- and District-level):
- 2012-2013 Excellence in Marketing
- 2013-2014 Excellence in Education & Training
- 2014-2015 Select Distinguished District
- 2014-2015 Leadership Excellence for D74
Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a Board Member:
Building Brands has been my passion for more than 30 years. My career in Marketing Management with multinational companies allowed me to build a foundation of knowledge and experience based on international best practices. As a marketing professional, I was responsible for decision-making on all aspects of brand building including targeting, segmentation, production, budgeting, advertising, promotion, and strategic planning. Being an entrepreneur, I always examine the practical aspects of any strategy and policy to ensure that it works at the customer level. As a Coach, I have had opportunities to work with global business teams, senior executives and academics to hone their communication strategy and skills. I am a leader with a people-centric approach to consistently delivering results that exceed expectations. I believe in asking tough, yet relevant, questions and in looking at the bigger picture.
What experience do you have in strategic planning?
My career in Marketing Management has taught me the value of a holistic approach towards strategic planning. That means setting strategies that can be implemented and managed at the operational level. This bigger picture focus saves time and money by avoiding the limitation of thinking in silos. It also ensures a pragmatic approach to strategic planning.
Working on communication strategies with clients, I have learned the importance of clear messaging. If your strategy is not clearly defined and worded, there is a risk of not having buy-in from key stakeholders. Strategy also needs to be repeatedly communicated in a variety of channels and messages in order to be effective. Setting strategy is only one part of the puzzle. Operational procedures arising from the strategies need to be understood, adopted and supported to change outcomes. As an International Director and Second Vice President, I had the opportunity to contribute to our Strategic Plan.
What experience do you have in the area of finance?
Finance is one of the key components of executive decision-making. My experience as a Co-owner of Rodenro Investments has taught me the importance of long-term financial planning and monitoring. I have worked with financial professionals including chartered accountants, bookkeepers and business analysts to ensure compliance, fiscal prudence and future sustainability.
Managing finances through the COVID pandemic has illustrated the benefits of sound financial planning. As a result, we managed to retain all of our employees despite the financial constraints caused by the pandemic. This financial planning will continue to be in place as we navigate our way out of the pandemic.
As a member of the Toastmasters Board and as Second Vice President, I reviewed, approved and provided oversight of the Toastmasters International budget and monthly financial reports.
What experience do you have in developing policies?
I enjoy working on policies to ensure that they are practical and easy to understand. Working with board members from across the world, I have learned about the importance of a common understanding of policies. On the Policy Review Committee, I contributed to ensuring that our policies are workable and easily understood by our members and leaders across many cultures and countries. The pandemic required us to make many changes to cater for the fast-changing reality our members were dealing with. My experience as an entrepreneur has required me to consistently ensure that policies are up-to-date, relevant and also comply with legislative requirements.
I served on a number of Board Committees and subcommittees, including the Prioritization Committee, the District Excellence Committee and the Policy Review Committee, Leadership Credit Subcommittee and the RA Social Media Subcommittee.
What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?
In African culture, we refer to the spirit of ‘Ubuntu’. It means ‘I am, because we are’. I am inspired to be a contribution to those around me. As we grow our organisation, we positively impact members, families, communities and ultimately our countries.
Leadership is all about relationships with people. As a leader, it is not about you. It is about the difference you can make while you lead. My role as a leader is to bring out the best in my team. John Maxwell said: ”Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” My goal as a leader is to inspire those around me to go beyond what they thought was possible. I work to build teams that thrive - teams that talk about ‘being’, not just about ‘doing’. When we invest time and energy into our relationships, we build dynamic, high-achieving teams.
What experience and key strengths would you bring to the Board of Directors?
My life experience is one of geographic and cultural diversity. This is the norm for me, not the exception. I believe that the outcome of our efforts is enriched when we consult with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences. My experience working with teams from different cultures and nationalities has taught me to listen to understand where they are coming from. I bring that collection of global perspectives to the Executive Committee and to the board.
I believe in delivering results through people and relationships, not at their expense. My people skills have allowed me to build strong teams that achieve exceptional results. My collaborative leadership style makes for a positive working environment and a cohesive team. One of my key strengths is the ability to inspire and motivate others. I think deeply, encourage my team to ask many questions and always work collaboratively to see the bigger picture: Does this make sense? What problem are we solving? How do we keep things simple and also achieve our desired outcomes?
My experience working for multinational companies has taught me best practices in leading an organisation. My entrepreneurial experience has brought the customer experience very close to me. When you interact with your customers on a daily basis, you are able to get direct feedback on how your policies, strategies and tactics are working. This has allowed me to see the continuum of strategy, policy and tactics as a cohesive whole.
Why do you want to serve as an International Officer/Director?
We are a diverse organisation which operates globally. My experience serving in one of the most diverse and fastest growing regions in the world has given me a unique perspective. As we navigate our way beyond the pandemic and deal with global geopolitical challenges, it is essential that we have officers who have a global perspective. Our goal is not to go back to the way things were pre-pandemic. Our goal is to improve our offering and our engagement with our existing and potential members. Our members, clubs and leaders need support tailored to their specific needs.
My leadership experience has shown me that I am a leader who others want to follow. Together with my team, we focus on achieving our goals. We work hard to stay focused and to exceed expectations. I would like to use my experiences and skills to contribute to the future of our organisation, for the benefit of our current members as well as our future members.
What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?
I have been a volunteer since I was a child, as I always wanted to be part of the solution. I believe in volunteering in both my community and my professional life. I have volunteered and led as a Trustee for The Eden and The Allegro Trust where I managed funds on behalf of property owners and Trust beneficiaries.
In addition, for many years I have volunteered to raise funds for the schools my children attended as well as by volunteering in the 2nd Bergvliet Scout Group.
Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters? If so, describe your experience.
I serve as a Trustee for The Eden. This board oversees the management and maintenance of this 75 unit residential property. We manage funds on behalf of the property owners.
I also serve as a Trustee for The Allegro Trust. Together with my fellow trustees, we manage investments on behalf of the Trust beneficiary.
In your opinion, what are Toastmasters International’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?
I firmly believe that our major objective is to realise our envisioned future of being “the first-choice provider of dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership skills development”.
I believe we need to be unafraid of innovation. Our future success is directly dependent on our ability to keep innovating and adapting. Our members rely on us to look into the future and to create services and experiences tailored to our fast-changing world. To grow and sustain our global footprint, we have to continually deliver innovation. Marketing materials should be tailored to specific markets and cultures. Our service delivery and logistical support should be equitable and accessible globally.
Our product offering should be relevant to the needs of both our current and future members. As our business model is built around membership revenue, it is essential that we focus on membership growth and retention. To stay relevant, we need to expand our membership options and product offerings. When we consistently exceed expectations at all levels our membership base will grow.
It is imperative that we continue to invest in technology and human capital in order to make it easier for individuals and companies to do business with Toastmasters International. Customer expectations are high and we need to provide an intuitive customer experience. These actions will directly impact our future revenue.
Additional information about candidate:
I am blessed to have the support of my husband Rory as well as my three children, Nicole, Kate and Trevor. I believe in living life joyfully and constantly look for opportunities to explore, be in nature and to learn new things. I enjoy walking, hiking and running the occasional half marathon. My personal mission is to use my time and talents to make a difference. As a leader, I believe in nurturing relationships so that we build teams that thrive and exceed expectations!