Chandra Munagavalasa, DTM
Candidate's Office: International Director
Region Number: 4
Toastmasters member since: 2015
Education: Masters in Industrial ManagementEmployer and/or position: Director of Engineering
Served as District Director of District number: 56
Term of service: 2022-2023
In term as District Director, District achieved: Not Distinguished
Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international-, region-, and District-level):”
- 2018-2019 Area Director
- 2019-2020 Division Director
- 2020-2021 Club Growth Director
- 2021-2022 Program Quality Director
- 2022-2023 District Director
Toastmasters honors and recognition (international- and District-level):
- 2017-2018 Pathways Guide
- 2020-2021 Resilience Award
Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a Board Member:
Serving as a Board Member of Toastmasters requires a diverse skill set that can be developed through various work experiences. I led Engineering teams successfully, both start-ups as well as big corporations, for over two decades. Leading a team successfully requires a combination of strong leadership skills, effective communication, strategic thinking, and emotional intelligence. I have set a clear vision and defined the team's purpose and long-term goals.
What experience do you have in strategic planning?
In my several years of work experience, some of my key strategic planning elements are:
- Learned the ability to analyze data and extract meaningful insights relevant to the organization's goals.
- Conducted thorough market research to understand industry trends, customer behavior, and competitors.
- Envision the organization's future and set long-term strategic goals.
- Incorporated innovative ideas into the strategic planning process to keep the organization ahead of the curve.
- Identified potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them.
- Prepared contingency plans for unexpected events that could impact the strategic objectives.
- Open to adapting the strategic plan based on changing internal and external factors.
- Quickly respond to market changes and adjust strategies as needed.
- Inspired and motivated teams to work towards the strategic objectives.
- Upheld integrity and transparency throughout the strategic planning process.
What experience do you have in the area of finance?
As a project manager, I have a good understanding of finance to effectively manage projects within budget, allocate resources efficiently, and ensure the financial health of the project.
- Developed accurate and realistic project budgets considering all necessary resources, materials, and overhead costs.
- Ability to estimate project costs for various activities and phases, considering historical data and market rates.
- Allocated resources effectively to maximize productivity while minimizing costs.
- Planned resource utilization based on project requirements and budget constraints.
- Identified financial risks associated with the project and developed strategies to mitigate them.
- Allocated contingency funds for unforeseen expenses and risks.
What experience do you have in developing policies?
In my everyday work leading engineering teams, I have developed several software engineering policies, SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle), Change Management, Release Management, etc., that demand a balance of technical knowledge, interpersonal skills, and attention to detail. I engaged with SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and stakeholders throughout the policy development process to ensure well-informed and inclusive policies.
What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?
For me, reflecting on past experiences helps me identify my strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Learning from previous leadership positions is essential for my personal and professional growth. Some lessons learned from previous leadership positions:
- Effective Communication is Key: Clear and open communication builds trust and fosters collaboration among team members. Actively listen to team members, provide regular updates, and encourage open dialogue to resolve issues.
- Embrace Adaptability: Change is constant, and adaptability is crucial for overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities. Be open to new ideas, technologies, and methodologies. Embrace change and lead your team through transitions.
- Empower and Trust Your Team: Empowered teams are more innovative and motivated. Trust your team members to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Delegate tasks, provide necessary resources, and offer guidance when needed. Acknowledge and celebrate achievements.
- Lead by Example: Leadership is about setting a positive example through your actions, work ethic, and attitude. Demonstrate the values and work ethic you expect from your team. Show dedication, integrity, and professionalism in all your interactions.
- Emotional Intelligence Matters: Understanding and managing your emotions, as well as recognizing and empathizing with others
What experience and key strengths would you bring to the Board of Directors?
I have over a decade of experience in senior management positions within the technology sector, with a focus on driving innovation and implementing strategic initiatives. I would bring:
- Strategic Vision: I am a strategic thinker with a vision for long-term growth. I demonstrated by successfully guiding my previous work through a major industry shift, resulting in a significant revenue increase.
- Leadership and Team Building: I have good leadership skills in building and motivating cross-functional teams. I led a team of diverse professionals, fostering a collaborative and innovative work environment.
- Innovation and Technology Integration: I adept at integrating cutting-edge technologies into business operations.
- Problem-Solving and Decision-Making: I have proven ability to analyze complex issues, devise effective solutions, and make sound decisions under pressure.
- Commitment to Ethical Leadership: I am committed to ethical business practices and transparency. Implemented stringent ethical guidelines that improved employee morale and trust in the organization.
Why do you want to serve as an International Officer/Director?
When I initially joined Toastmasters in January 2015, my intentions were quite straightforward: to deliver a few speeches, refine my speaking abilities, and eventually move on from the organization. However, it didn't take long for me to realize that Toastmasters offers so much more than just a platform for improving speaking skills. Through my journey, I had the privilege of undertaking various district leadership roles, ranging from Mentor to District Director.
Toastmasters, I discovered, is not merely about honing communication skills; it is a transformative journey that extends beyond the realm of public speaking. This invaluable experience not only made me a more adept communicator and leader but also a better individual. These skills have significantly impacted both my personal and professional life.
I have gained immeasurable benefits from my Toastmasters experience, and I am passionate about paying it forward. My aim is to assist others in having an enriching Toastmasters journey, just as I have had. I am deeply committed to fostering an environment where others can realize their potential and, in turn, gain the same rewarding experience I have had
As a prospective Board member, I am dedicated to actively engaging in the exploration of innovative ideas aimed at adding significant value for our members. I believe that fostering an environment of creativity and forward-thinking is essential for the growth and prosperity of our organization. I am committed to collaborating with fellow Board members, leveraging our collective expertise, and encouraging open dialogue to identify new opportunities and initiatives. By embracing innovation, we can enhance member experiences, introduce valuable resources, and ensure the continued relevance and success of our organization in an ever-changing landscape.
What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?
I volunteered as a blood donation coordinator and played a vital role in organizing and managing blood donation drives, ensuring a steady supply of blood for medical purposes. I planned, coordinated, and executed blood donation events in collaboration with hospitals. I recruited donors through the campus outreach program, and educated them about the importance of blood donation and dispelled myths surrounding the process.
Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters? If so, describe your experience.
I have worked with the HOA Board of Directors, which is responsible for managing the community's affairs and ensuring that the community operates smoothly. I spent mostly on community events and volunteer engagement.
In your opinion, what are Toastmasters International’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?
In my opinion, the major objective is to ensure that every member recognizes the value of being a part of Toastmasters.. We need to ensure that we enhance member experience and work on member retention and development. This can be achieved by
- Advocating for initiatives that enhance the member experience, including educational programs, communication tools, and resources.
- Focusing on member retention and satisfaction, ensuring that members have a positive experience in their Toastmasters journey.
- Encouraging member engagement and involvement in club activities, leadership roles, and educational programs.
- Gathering feedback from members to understand their needs and concerns, working towards improving their Toastmasters experience.
Additional information about candidate:
I have had the unique opportunity to live in three different countries, each with its own rich cultural tapestry. Growing up in these diverse environments has not only broadened my horizons but also cultivated in me a deep appreciation for different cultures, traditions, and ways of thinking. Living in these contrasting societies has instilled in me a sense of adaptability, resilience, and open-mindedness.
Having navigated the intricacies of different languages, customs, and social norms, I have developed strong communication and interpersonal skills. These experiences have honed my ability to connect with people from various backgrounds, fostering a sense of empathy and understanding in my interactions.
Moreover, living amidst different cultures has heightened my awareness of global issues and sparked my interest in promoting inclusivity and cultural exchange. It has also taught me the value of embracing diversity as a source of strength and creativity, both personally and professionally.
I believe my multicultural background not only adds depth to my character but also equips me with a unique perspective that I bring to every aspect of my life. I am enthusiastic about leveraging these experiences to contribute positively to diverse and collaborative environments, embracing challenges with an open heart and a global mindset.