Melissa McGavick, DTM

Melissa McGavick, DTM

Candidate's Office: Second Vice President

Region Number: 5

Toastmasters member since: 2004

Education: BA Communication and Media Studies, Pennsylvania State University; Certificate in Disruptive Strategy, Harvard Business School Online; Certificate in Non-Profit Board Consulting, BoardSource

Employer and/or position: McGavick Interactive Training, CEO and owner

Served as District Director of District number: 13

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 Area Director
  • 2012-2013 Lt. Governor Marketing
  • 2013-2014 Lt. Governor Education and Training
  • 2014-2015 District Governor
  • 2016-2016 Training & Development Advisory Committee Member
  • 2017-2018 Region Advisor Region 7
  • 2018-2019 Region Advisor Region 6
  • 2020-2022 International Director Region 6
  • 2023-2023 Board Committee member: International Campaigns Committee

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

  • 2011-2012 President's Distinguished Area Governor
  • 2012-2013 Excellence in Marketing Award
  • 2013-2014 Excellence in Education and Training Award
  • 2014-2015 Select Distinguished District Award
  • 2015-2015 Presented at District Leader Training: Meet the Experts session
  • 2019-2019 Presidential Citation
  • 2020-2021 Resilience Award

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

My relevant work experience, coupled with my certifications and educational background, align seamlessly with serving as an International Officer of the Toastmasters International Board. Here's how each facet contributes to my effectiveness in this capacity:

Certificate of Nonprofit Board Consulting:

  • Earning my certificate in Non-Profit Board Consulting (CNBC) underscores my desire to bring the best expertise in nonprofit governance, ethics, and best practices. This knowledge will be invaluable in guiding Toastmasters to operate with transparency, accountability, and adherence to legal and ethical standards.
  • It equips me to assess opportunities and threats effectively, a crucial aspect of strategic decision-making for the board.
  • I have familiarity with the practices of exceptional boards through different non-profit sectors including Governance Today: Trends and Current Topics, Creating a Governance Legacy: Board Roles and Responsibilities, The Constructive Partnership between Board and Staff, Purpose Driven Board Leadership/Integrating Racial Equity into the Board Culture, Board Building Cycle, Structuring the High Performing Board: Meetings and Committees, Assessments: CEO and Board.
  • This additional training has confirmed I have a clear understanding of resource management and financial stewardship, ensuring that Toastmasters allocates its resources efficiently to support its mission.

Certificate in Disruptive Strategies at Harvard:

  • My coursework in Disruptive Strategies from Harvard Business School Online has equipped me with insights into recognizing disruptive changes and opportunities in today's dynamic business environment.
  • I have gained the ability to assess new opportunities, develop high-level strategies, and maintain a disruptive scope—essential skills for guiding Toastmasters toward innovation and adaptability.
  • This knowledge enables me to anticipate and proactively address potential threats, ensuring the organization remains agile and resilient.

Career Branding Strategist:

  • As a Branding Advisor and Strategist, I possess expertise in personal branding, effective communication, and member engagement. These skills are directly applicable to shaping Toastmasters' brand, improving communication with stakeholders, and enhancing member attraction and retention efforts.
  • My understanding of what fascinates and engages individuals informs the organization's initiatives, ensuring that Toastmasters' programs and offerings align with member expectations.
  • Using the understanding how fellow board members bring unique value to the board enables me to foster collaboration towards our common goals.

Professional Work Experience:

  • With over 30 years of experience in sales, executive recruiting, professional speaking, training, coaching, and team development, I bring a wealth of leadership and strategic thinking to the board.
  • My proven track record of exceeding sales targets and setting high standards aligns with Toastmasters' commitment to excellence.
  • I have honed my ability to simplify complexities, foster innovation, and articulate complex viewpoints effectively, qualities that enhance my role in guiding Toastmasters' strategic direction.

In summary, my certifications, educational background, and professional work experience collectively position me to make significant contributions to the Executive Committee of the Toastmasters International Board. I am equipped to provide guidance on governance, anticipate disruptive changes, enhance member engagement, and lead the organization towards a more innovative and impactful future.

What experience do you have in strategic planning?

As the President of the Board of Directors for a non-profit organization, I dedicated my efforts to developing 3- and 5-year strategic plans along with corresponding budgets. This endeavor required close collaboration with all of the organization's subcommittees to ensure that our plan adequately prepared the organization for our envisioned future. Crucially, I worked tirelessly to secure consensus among the membership, as it was essential for the successful adoption and implementation of our strategic plan.

During my tenure as Co-Director at another non-profit, I set targets and crafted fundraising plans to support a Cancer Center's Patient Assistance Fund.

Furthermore, my role as an International Director on the Toastmasters Board from 2020 to 2022 allowed me to actively engage in exercises utilized by the Strategic Planning Committee to formulate our current strategic plan. My committee involvement extended to the District Leader Roles and Responsibilities Committee, the Policy Review Committee, the Incentives Committee, and participation in Listening Groups. In addition to committees when I was on the board, I have served on board committees outside of the two year term, including the Training & Development Advisory Committee, and the International Elections Committee.

In my current capacity running McGavick Interactive Training, I have undertaken the responsibility of creating the business plan, spearheading product development, and orchestrating the marketing strategy for the company. In my pursuit of excellence in this domain, I have proactively enrolled in specialized courses aimed at enhancing my ability to think strategically and innovate.

What experience do you have in the area of finance?

In my role as a business owner, I carry the responsibility of managing budgeting, overseeing accounts receivable and accounts payable, and ensuring the reconciliation of accounts.

While serving as the President of the Board for a non-profit organization, I held the critical duty of aligning the budget with the strategic plan, a pivotal step in facilitating the implementation of all programs and initiatives. My collaborative efforts extended to working closely with various committees to make necessary budget adjustments and allocate funds to areas that furthered the organization's mission and delivered greater benefits to its members.

As Co-Director of another non-profit, I worked with the team to create the budget and corresponding strategic plan. I was responsible for regularly reviewing the Statement of Activities. I successfully secured sponsorships from both private and corporate donors. Additionally, I collaborated with my team to reduce activity costs, thereby enabling us to allocate more funds toward patient assistance.

During my tenure as a member of the Toastmasters Board, I reviewed monthly financial reports and approving the annual budget for Toastmasters International.

What experience do you have in developing policies?

During my tenure as the committee chair for the Bylaws and Policy committee within a nonprofit membership-driven organization, I assumed the leadership role in the comprehensive review and update of all organization policies and procedures, aimed at better serving our current membership. This undertaking was quite substantial, given that nearly two decades had elapsed since the last comprehensive review had taken place. Over this time, various items had been added or amended, resulting in a need to address contradictory and outdated provisions.

In my capacity as a consultant, a client company engaged my services to craft corporate policies and procedures, along with an employee training manual. This comprehensive project also included the development of a corresponding training course, all designed to ensure compliance with multi-state regulations.

Additionally, during my service on the Toastmasters International Board, I actively participated in the review, deliberation, and approval of policies presented by various board committees. My contributions extended to my involvement in creating the policies eventually approved by the board, serving on committees such as the Policy Review Committee, the Incentive Committee, the District Leadership Roles and Responsibilities Committee, the International Elections Committee.

What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?

These are three of the many lessons I learned while serving in previous leadership positions:

  1. Develop leaders by partnering with the members of your team in their self-development goals. When you help others achieve their personal goals while also achieving the organizational goals, everyone benefits.
  2. Create an open and inclusive environment where diversity of thought can be expressed. Making space for discussion and deliberation allows everyone to feel heard and valued. Encouraging others to bring their ideas to the table and allowing time for those ideas to be vetted fosters collaboration and trust.
  3. Over-communicate with your team and all stakeholders. By communicating clearly and frequently, you decrease the likelihood of others guessing or making assumptions about what is happening or not happening.

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

I would bring several valuable experiences and key strengths to the Board of Directors:

Firstly, I possess the ability to distill complex ideas and processes into easily understandable concepts, which enables me to secure buy-in from stakeholders at all levels. My track record of clear and effective communication with individuals throughout organizations has been instrumental in my prior board roles, and I believe it would be a valuable asset to the Toastmasters International Executive Committee.

Secondly, for the role of an International Officer, I offer experience in financial stewardship, coupled with a strong aptitude for strategic thinking. These skills would be dedicated to serving our members and ensuring that our resources are optimally allocated to support our mission.

Lastly, having served in both the capacities of International Director and Region Advisor, I have gained valuable insights into the unique dynamics, challenges, and commonalities within our districts and regions. This experience positions me to understand and address the diverse needs of our Toastmasters community effectively.

Overall, my ability to simplify complexities, coupled with financial acumen and a deep understanding of our organization, makes me well-prepared to contribute effectively to the Board of Directors.

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

I aspire to serve as an International Officer with an unwavering commitment to the meaningful mission of Toastmasters. My motivation is simple yet profound: I want to be a catalyst for change, a champion of growth, and a beacon of empowerment.

Toastmasters has the remarkable ability to change lives, unlocking the potential within each member. I am driven by the desire to extend this life-changing opportunity to more individuals around the globe. It's about empowering people to become the best versions of themselves, to find their voice, and to develop leadership skills that transcend borders.

In this role, I would see myself as a guardian of the Toastmasters community, entrusted with the responsibility of nurturing its growth and enriching its educational programs. I aim to blend steadfast stewardship with innovative thinking, ensuring that Toastmasters remains at the forefront of personal and professional development.

But this journey is not just about the destination; it's about the path we take. As an International Officer, I eagerly anticipate addressing complex challenges, making strategic decisions, and embracing the diverse perspectives of our global community. Together, we will fortify Toastmasters' inclusive environment, where every member feels a profound sense of belonging and engagement.

One pivotal aspect of our journey is growth. While building new clubs and attracting new members are vital, I am equally passionate about retaining members for the long term. I want to decipher the code that transforms short-term members into lifelong advocates for Toastmasters. We must focus not only on recruitment but also on creating an environment where members choose to stay, achieve their goals, and continue to enrich our organization.

As an International Officer, I am ready to embark on this inspiring journey with you. Together, you and I will amplify Toastmasters' impact, inspire positive change, and empower individuals to embrace their full potential. This is our shared mission, our collective vision, and our unwavering commitment to a brighter future through Toastmasters.

What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?

My volunteer experience outside of Toastmasters includes the Board of Directors for the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Speakers Association, President of the Board of Directors for Women's Business Network (WBN), Co-Director of Women Think P.I.N.K. a nonprofit organization that raises funds for the Hillman Cancer Center Patient Assistance Fund, Director for the Downtown Women's Club Pittsburgh Chapter (DWC), Chairperson for Cranberry Women's Business Network Chapter, President of Women Entrepreneurs in Business (WEB), Job skills instructor for underserved and at-risk populations, For 7 years, lead a team of 70+ volunteers to create a welcoming environment for a weekly gathering and was responsible for the safe collection of significant amounts of cash.

While serving on the board of WBN I chaired several committees including: Membership Growth and Retention, Chapter Expansion, Nominations, Strategic Planning and Budgeting, Bylaws and Policies, Education, Speakers Bureau , Technology Committees.

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

I have had the privilege of working with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters. One significant experience was my involvement with the Women's Business Network (WBN), an organization dedicated to supporting the growth of women business owners and professionals through its network of chapters. I served a term as President of the Board and another term as Vice President. During my tenure on the board, I took on various leadership roles, including chairing several committees such as Membership Growth and Retention, Chapter Expansion, Nominations, Strategic Planning and Budgeting, Bylaws and Policies, Education, Executive Search, Speakers Bureau, and Technology Committees. Over the years, WBN experienced growth, both in terms of chapters and membership. We transitioned from a paper-heavy system to a streamlined digital platform, introducing self-payment options for members. To enhance the support provided to chapters and members, we initiated chapter leader education programs and expanded our member events. Additionally, we successfully hired a new Executive Director during my tenure, further strengthening the organization's leadership.

I also had the opportunity to contribute as Co-Director on the board of Women Think P.I.N.K., a nonprofit organization focused on fundraising for the Hillman Cancer Center Patient Assistance Fund. Furthermore, I served as the Membership Committee Chair during my time on the Board of Directors for the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Speakers Association (NSA). Prior to joining the NSA-Pittsburgh board, I was actively involved as a member of the Membership Committee.

In addition to these experiences, I held the role of Director for the Downtown Women's Club Pittsburgh Chapter (DWC) and served as President for Women Entrepreneurs in Business (WEB). Before taking on board roles, I was part of the local chapter leadership team as the Chairperson for the Cranberry Women's Business Network Chapter. These experiences have collectively enriched my understanding of effective board governance and leadership, allowing me to contribute to various organizations in meaningful ways.

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

Toastmasters International has several major objectives that collectively contribute to its mission of empowering individuals to become effective communicators and leaders. These objectives include:

  1. To attract and retain members by fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment that enhances member engagement.
  2. To continuously improve educational resources, materials and paths to achieve educational excellence.
  3. To nurture effective leaders through world-class leadership development programs and mentoring.
  4. To ensure the long-term financial stability by using sound financial management practices, and investigating ways to diversify revenue streams.
  5. To support global growth by expand into new regions and enhance support for existing clubs and districts by addressing the unique needs of diverse cultural and linguistic communities.
  6. To stay relevant by embracing technology to improve member engagement, communication, and education.
  7. To raise brand awareness using public relations and effective communication strategies.
  8. To further reach and impact by building strategic alliances and partnerships with organizations that share similar goals and values.

To achieve these objectives, I would collaborate closely with fellow board members, district leaders, club officers, and members. I would promote transparency, inclusivity, and active communication within the organization. Additionally, I would seek input from members and leverage their diverse perspectives to inform decision-making.

Ultimately, my approach as a member of the executive committee and board would be rooted in the principles of good governance, strategic thinking, and a deep commitment to Toastmasters' mission. I would work diligently to ensure that the organization continues to empower individuals worldwide to become effective communicators and leaders.

Additional information about candidate:

Outside of Toastmasters, I have a diverse range of interests. I find great joy in admiring architecture, delving into history, learning about different cultures, capturing the beauty of nature through photography, and walking with my darling dainty dogs. Most of all, I am fortunate to share my travel adventures with my supportive husband, Kevin. Traveling has enriched our lives. These interests not only contribute to my personal fulfillment but also provide a well-rounded perspective that I believe enhances my ability to connect with people from various backgrounds and walks of life.