Monique Tonna, DTM
Candidate's Office: International Director
Region Number: 12
Toastmasters member since: 2011
Education: Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting & Marketing), CPA (Certified Practicing Accountant), MBA (Masters of Business Administration)
Employer and/or position: XTEND Parramatta, Owner/Director
Served as District Director of District number: 90
Term of service: 2020 - 2021
In term as District Director, District achieved: Not Distinguished
Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international-, region-, and District-level):
- 2017-2018 Division W Director
- 2018-2019 Club Growth Director
- 2019-2020 Program Quality Director
- 2020-2021 District Director
- 2021-2022 Immediate Past District Director
- 2022-2023 District Public Relations Manager
Toastmasters honors and recognition (international- and District-level):
- 2017-2018 Division Director of the Year
Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a Board Member:
I bring two very specific set of work experiences to Toastmasters and the Board of Directors. The first is my 15+ years in Corporate Finance, which means I have a thorough working knowledge of how to put together and understand a budget as well as be able to read and interpret financial laws and regulations which may be required as part of any review of the governing documents and by-laws. The second is as a small business owner of a Pilates business. In this business I have hands on practical experience of working and making decisions in relation to a service and member based business, which is line with what Toastmasters is. I see serving on the board as truly amalgamating my work experience so far, and particularly with knowing how to keep the member experience at the forefront of any decision needing to be made.
What experience do you have in strategic planning?
Being a small business owner of a Pilates business for the last 4 years through the COVID-19 Pandemic means I have been in a position of needing to review and update my Business Strategic Plan regularly during that time. Learning to pivot a face to face member experience based business to an online format is not dissimilar to what Toastmasters International also had to do in 2020 whilst keeping membership experience at the forefront. Conversely, from a business perspective I have also had to look at what my businesses strategic priorities will be as well as the goals and key initiatives over the coming few years. This has needed to be reviewed in conjunction with the current global economic crisis and industry trends.
What experience do you have in the area of finance?
I have over 15 years experience working in Corporate Finance for large multinational organisations. Starting off with the core grass roots exposure of accounts payable and receivable roles, to becoming a CPA Financial Accountant and then managing teams. My most significant experience was when I worked in Financial Risk and Control where I was responsible for reviewing financial policies, processes and procedures to ensure financial risk was minimised and more efficient & consistent operations were in place.
What experience do you have in developing policies?
In 2016 I was put on a project in my role as a Finance team lead, where we were changing payroll systems for a staff of over 35,000 employees.This project involved multiple reviews of award contracts, processes used by different teams and financial policies that were being used. During this 3 year project policies and processes needed to be updated, changed or re-written in their entirety to take into account the new system being rolled out, as well as needing to work within the Risk Management framework to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.
What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?
By far the most valuable lesson I've learnt through district leadership is in relation to times of hardship and controversial issues. I have been able to develop the art of diplomacy and keeping the core values at the forefront of decision making regardless of personal impact.
Secondly, early in my leadership journey I used to find it easier to do everything myself rather than delegate. However over time I have developed the skill of empowering others and delegating tasks. One of the clubs I belong to is in a maximum security jail. When it chartered I found it difficult to delegate because I was the only non-inmate member and the only person who had contact with clubs on the outside. Over time I learnt that by delegating and empowering them to take on the responsibility of certain tasks, not only freed up my time but also gives them valuable skills that they can utilise once they are released.
What experience and key strengths would you bring to the Board of Directors?
I see myself bringing three key strengths to the Board of Directors.
The first strength is being a collaborative thinker. I love working in a group or on a committee where "group think" allows all members to have their say, and gives the ability for ideas to be developed and changed to give the best outcome.
The second strength is being able to look at facts and scenarios and remove emotions when making decisions. As leaders we sometimes have to make a decision that may not be popular or may not be in our best interests, but may be required for the betterment of the organisation.
The third strength is my ability to absorb information quickly and get through large volumes of work in a timely manner. This will be useful on the Board when we may need to do extensive reading, meet tight deadlines, or deal with evolving situations whilst balancing our own work and personal lives.
Why do you want to serve as an International Officer/Director?
The last hundred years of Toastmasters has seen a lot of significant change in the way the world operates as well as the shifts in technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Now more than ever, communication and the technique of giving effective feedback is the most important soft skill an individual can have. I truly believe everyone in the world, regardless of country, background or current circumstances, deserves the opportunity to learn and develop the skills of communication and leadership that Toastmasters provides. I'm passionate about what Toastmasters offers as our core products, and have seen the change in myself over the last 12 years of membership in being able to confidently articulate a message and provide feedback to someone. It would be a huge privilege to serve all members of this amazing organisation, and be given the opportunity to contribute the work and life skills I have learnt with the Toastmasters International Board of Directors.
What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?
One of the organisations I used to work at held a Christmas drive each year where employees were encouraged to volunteer their time to help with local charities in the area. For approximately 5 Christmases I volunteered and assisted in putting together Christmas hampers for families in need and also at a local soup kitchen to help feed the homeless in the local area.
Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters? If so, describe your experience.
Whilst I haven't worked with other Board of Directors outside of Toastmasters, I strongly believe that my experience in Corporate Finance coupled with my current experience as a small business owner of a member/service based business put me in a unique position of understanding fiduciary responsibility and the critical thinking that is required for strategic planning.
In your opinion, what are Toastmasters International’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?
In my opinion, the major objectives for Toastmasters International are club excellence and member achievement. As a member of the Board, I would review and question any policy or decision made by the board to ensure it was fostering the achievement of these objectives.
Additional information about candidate:
The most significant thing I've been involved in during my 12 years as a Toastmaster, has been taking Toastmasters behind Bars in NSW Australia and sharing the skills of communication and leadership with inmates. These are genuine skills that will support them when they get out of jail, and help them with job interviews, applying for housing and communicating with people in general. The flow on impact this then has to the community whilst difficult to measure, would hopefully be a reduction in recidivism and an increase in successful assimilation back to society.
I really do believe that Toastmasters is for everybody, and would love to see it available to everyone around the world!