Jenilee Taylor, DTM

Jenilee Taylor, DTM

Candidate's Office: International Director

Region Number: 6

Toastmasters member since: 2007

Education: M.S., Management and Leadership / B.S., Communications

Employer and/or position: Hospitality Management Trainer, BWH Hotels / Owner, Core Engagement

Served as District Director of District number: 10

Term of service: 2015-2016

In term as District Director, District achieved: Not Distinguished


Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international-, region-, and District-level):

  • 2008-2009 Public Relations Manager, District 10
  • 2009-2011 Division Director, District 10
  • 2014-2015 Program Quality Director, District 10
  • 2015-2016 District Director, District 10
  • 2019-2021 Region Advisor, Region 6

Toastmasters honors and recognition (international- and District-level):

  • 2014-2015 Excellence in Education & Training
  • 2019-2020 Outstanding Leadership Award - District 10
  • 2021-2021 Presidential Citation

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

With over 20 years working in business development and hospitality management, I have gained skills in the areas of data analysis, forecasting, negotiation, and the creation of policies and procedures. Working with individuals and companies from across the globe has given me the ability to embrace varying cultures and learn to incorporate differing voices into the same conversation for stronger results.

My current role involves organizational development and training, focusing on overall structure, growth, and learning. My professional background and experience will allow me to work with the board to guide the organization in fulfilling its mission, and to enhance our member experience.

What experience do you have in strategic planning?

My experience and success in the hospitality industry was based on how well I was able to analyze and plan, placing my employees in the best position to succeed in their roles and directing the overall success of the properties I managed. It was my strategy development that enhanced guest experiences, increased occupancy rates, and improved overall profitability.

Currently, I work with a global not-for-profit hospitality company, providing me the experience in navigating complex international markets and understanding the nuances of different regions. My focus is to evaluate, restructure, and implement initiatives that best support the company's vision and mission. For example, I am currently instituting an international leadership training program within the company that is helping new employees become engaged and empowered.

What experience do you have in the area of finance?

In both the for-profit and not-for profit settings, I have gained significate experience in managing budgets, and overseeing financial performance. This has taught me to make informed decisions, seek facts, and allocate resources effectively to achieve organizational goals.

I have managed multi-million-dollar budgets for numerous hotels. This included preparing, reviewing, and providing oversight of the expenditures, forecasts, payroll, sales, and monthly profit and loss reports.

I also served as the Vice President of Growth and Development for a local community theater during a $500,000 facility expansion. This role provided me with further insight into the financial needs of a non-profit organization by being hands on throughout the entire budgeting process. The expansion was completed on schedule due to generous funding and detailed oversight.

What experience do you have in developing policies?

My background is in creating positive organizational cultures, reviewing and updating policies, and reorganizing for procedural development. I have a demonstrated ability integrating strategic planning with day-to-day operations. These efforts are instrumental in achieving organizational goals, improving employee morale, and enhancing customer satisfaction.

As a hospitality General Manager, it was my job to not only develop an efficiently running hotel, but also create a culture that optimized the performance of staff. This required developing and implementing a list of policies and procedures that clearly defined the roles and responsibilities of each employee, and created an atmosphere that encouraged them to seek out ways to support one another during challenges.

I have also worked with the board of The Broadview Heights Spotlights Theater in reviewing and updating their policies and procedures to improve operations. In my current role, I train individuals on how to reorganize their property structure to better develop policies in human resources, workplace engagement, and customer retention.

What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?

One important lesson I have learned in leadership is that being a leader does not mean knowing more than anyone else. This has allowed me to truly learn from others when working in teams. A leader is someone who recognizes, encourages, and promotes others as experts. When you provide team members autonomy and trust them, it creates space for people to be innovative and work together towards the shared purpose.

I have also learned that one of the most critical leadership skills to embrace is empathy, because people want to be understood. A leader needs to be able to listen and connect before they can empower or inspire.

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

Some of the key strengths I will bring to the Board of Directors are developing and implementing policies and procedures, data analysis, and negotiation skills. I also have the ability to consider the needs of multiple stakeholders while building and maintaining strong relationships.

My background has given me the experience to fully process new information and evaluate potential opportunities and threats. I have also gained a global perspective about Toastmasters International's operations while serving as a two-term Region Advisor.

With my combination of skills and experiences, including policy development, data analysis, stakeholder management, strategic thinking, and a global perspective, I am positioned to contribute effectively to the Board of Directors. I believe I will be able to help our organization structure the strategic framework that can set up our organization successfully.

Why do you want to serve as an International Officer/Director?

Toastmasters has had a profound impact on my professional and personal life, by not only building my confidence but enhancing my critical thinking abilities. Our organization has the ability to change people worldwide, one person at a time, providing skill development and individualized self-improvement. I want to be a part of the conversation guiding the strategic direction for Toastmasters to ensure that the mission is fulfilled, and we continue to provide those individuals with the tools they need for their specific goals. Given the opportunity, I am confident that I have the background, experience, and passion to add value and work successfully with other board members to best serve our members.

What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?

Theater was an influential part of my youth, and I have spent a significant amount of time volunteering with various theaters in NE Ohio to give back to that community, including my time serving on the Broadview Heights Spotlights Board of Directors. Giving back has ranged from fundraising to technical involvement, and even directing shows.

As well, I spent several years volunteering for a local hospice center as the volunteer trainer and coordinator. My role was to ensure volunteers were engaged and prepared for their time with the center interacting with patients and their families. I took the opportunity to visit patients during their stays, and this volunteer position changed me as a person. It made me truly appreciate the hearts and souls of volunteers, the need for compassion at such a time, and how we can impact another person's journey.

Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters? If so, describe your experience.

I served as the Director of Growth and Development on the Board of Directors for a local theater. This involved fundraising and financial planning for a successful $500,000 facility expansion. While serving on their board, I also assisted with the creation of a five-year strategic plan and served as the committee chair who reviewed and updated the organization's mission, vision, and bylaws. I have also worked as a project consultant for various boards including MENSA, BWH Hotels, LITE, and Hospice. These projects ranged from strategic planning, marketing, volunteer coordination, and fund development and helped to deliver their respective missions.

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

Toastmasters International's major objectives need to progress towards our envisioned future of being the first-choice provider of communication and leadership training worldwide. Organizational growth, consistency of member experience, and operational effectiveness will ensure we achieve this goal.

To meet our expectations, I believe we need a stronger focus on building the capacity of strong clubs and districts who can best market what they can offer to attract new members. Providing consistent service to all members worldwide is needed to increase engagement, satisfaction, and member retention. We have made giant strides to be proactive, but remaining agile is key to our continued future success.

Additional information about candidate:

My grandmother taught me to do my best to connect with people, regardless of the situation. I am truly blessed by her teachings and encouragement because it has led to my outgoing, dynamic personality that pulls everyone in, and ensures everyone is included. I have used this ability throughout my life, but primarily in my professional life and volunteering for multiple organizations, including Toastmasters.

I believe this is invaluable to an organization. When coupled with my skills to strategize, plan, and implement policies and procedures for growth and development, it is a perfect combination. A plan is ineffective if you cannot empower and inspire the people responsible for actioning that plan. Similarly, connecting with those in your organization without a vision or plan will only go so far. It is the combination of vision, strategy, and connectedness that makes the difference.