Cyndi Wilson, DTM
Candidate's Office: International Director
Region Number: 9
Toastmasters member since: 2007
Education: MBA - Technology Management, MS Management, BS Chemical Engineering - all from New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark NJ); Master's Certificate in Commercial Project Management, George Washington University (Washington DC)
Employer and/or position: Hudson County Community College, Jersey City NJ - Lecturer, Continuing Education
Served as District Director of District number: 83
Term of service: 2013 - 2014
In term as District Director, District achieved: Distinguished
Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international-, region-, and District-level):
- 2009-2010 Area Governor
- 2010-2011 Division Governor
- 2011-2012 Lt. Gov. Marketing
- 2012-2013 Lt. Gov. Education & Training
- 2013-2014 District Governor
- 2014-2015 Imm. Past District Governor
- 2018-2019 Division Director
- 2019-2020 Region Advisor, Region 5
- 2020-2021 Region Advisor, Region 9
Toastmasters honors and recognition (international- and District-level):
- 2012-2013 Excellence in Education and Training
- 2013-2018 Pathways Learning Master
- 2017-2018 Pathways Ambassador
- 2018-2018 Pathways Guide
Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a Board Member:
Over the years I have worked in the chemical process industries, telecommunications and education (middle school and college-level). Therefore, I have learned, employed and taught methods for data gathering and analysis; information presentation, development of methods, procedures and implementation plans and state and federal compliance requirements. I am also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with the ability to provide implementation support through traditional waterfall or agile methods.
I believe in - and live - servant leadership so that I can provide service to my fellow Toastmasters, colleagues and friends. This mixture of my professional background and experience will assist me in working with my fellow board members as we provide service, continuity and support to our global community.
What experience do you have in strategic planning?
When I worked in telecommunications I was responsible for a product line (with various central office-based features) for small, middle and large businesses for 11 years. A 5-year strategic plan for these functions and services of this line was developed and reviewed on a yearly basis. It was also the source for our one year implementation plan. Each month I would review the implementation plan to see if our tactical plans were still on point and if the individual product/service was still supporting our overall strategy.
I was also a member of the NJIT Alumni Board of Trustees when we decided to change the direction of the Board. We wanted to be known as more than just a social club for our Alumni, so we re-wrote our charter and produced our first strategic plan. It was difficult and somewhat painful, because we had Board members who really enjoyed just being social and didn't want to change. It was a long process, but we were able to develop a plan that changed the direction of the organization.
What experience do you have in the area of finance?
As the Product Manager of the telecommunications product line I mentioned previously, I was responsible for forecasting and tracking revenue. Each month I would review forecasted vs. actual results and I would report the results to upper management. If we were below revenue expectation, I would analyze and recommend an action plan to close the gap; if we were ahead, we would investigate why and promote it forward.
What experience do you have in developing policies?
During my careers in the chemical process industries and telecommunications, I worked in regulatory filings and compliance which required development and production of policies, methods and procedures and implementation on both federal and state levels. I also provided research/interpretation of the policy, method and/or procedure for staff and field personnel.
What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?
I learned that being a leader encompasses more than just one's self; it's about you and your team. As a leader, I serve my team and support them to get the job done. I spread the glory if we do well and I (and I alone) take the hit if something goes wrong. I mentor those who I see with potential to lead as was done for me when I was a mentee. I learned that I have to bring my authentic self when working with others, be open minded, empathetic and willing to embrace change.
What experience and key strengths would you bring to the Board of Directors?
My experience and strengths include project management, strategic thinking, negotiation, consensus building, data analysis and interpretation, development and implementation of methods and procedures and policy development. I also bring a sense of wonder and discovery because nothing should be set in concrete!
Why do you want to serve as an International Officer/Director?
Toastmasters changed me dramatically. We talk about people who are wallflowers; well, I was the wallpaper! Toastmasters gave me back the voice I used to have when someone else told me what to say, what to do, where to stand, etc. Toastmasters allowed me to become my authentic self and find my path; I want to help others to do the same, one person at a time.
I believe that Toastmasters is moving in the right direction and we can provide meaningful service to both our new and seasoned Toastmasters. I desire to be part of the team that fulfills Toastmasters' mission and looks forward to determining our future focus for our members, our family.
What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?
In addition to my time as a member of the Alumni Board of Trustees, I also served on the Boards of Visitors for the School of Management and the Constance A. Murray Women's Center at NJIT. I am presently a member of the Project Management Institute of NJ (PMI-NJ) where I volunteer in Member Services (we answer member questions and provide registration support for monthly meetings as we return to holding dinner meetings). At my church, I volunteer as a lector, the leader of the Counting Team (we process the donations of the week), a certified catechist and a member of the parish council.
Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters? If so, describe your experience.
As mentioned previously, I have worked with three boards at NJIT: the Alumni Association, the School of Management and the Women's Center. Each board was a unique and gratifying experience where we would discuss the needs of each board, provide suggestions and directions to move them forward and hear reports on the success (or non-success) of projects that were in our strategic plans.
In your opinion, what are Toastmasters International’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?
For the past 90 years, Toastmasters has supported and promoted confidence and self growth. Our footprint has grown over the years and I believe that we need to better serve our family of members by providing services where they are throughout the world. Providing consistent and local service to our world-wide members will encourage growth, brand awareness and retention. I still hear people asking "What's Toastmasters?" and that should not be happening still.
My wish is to encourage our organization to continue to be flexible and responsive to the needs of our members and deploy ways (and vendors) that are operationally efficient. We should continue our goal to be the primary provider of communication and leadership training within our footprint and continue to strive and expand new areas. I want to help us to expand into these new markets.
Additional information about candidate:
Toastmasters has taught me that we do learn when we serve others. I was truly enriched by serving as a Pathways Learning Master, Ambassador and Guide. Working with new and seasoned Toastmasters allowed me to understand their feelings of hope and/or frustration with a new education program.