Pawas Chandra, DTM
Candidate's Office: International Director
Region Number: 13
Toastmasters member since: 2008
Education: MBA in Strategy & Leadership
Employer and/or position: GM & Business Head, Jio Platforms Limited
Served as District Director of District number: 92
Term of service: 2016 - 2017
In term as District Director, District achieved: President's Distinguished
Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international-, region-, and District-level):
- 2015-2016 Club Growth Director
- 2016-2017 District Director
- 2019-2021 Change Management Working Group
- 2020-2021 Board Committee Member - District Leadership Roles, Responsibilities, and Evaluation Committee
Toastmasters honors and recognition (international- and District-level):
- 2015-2016 Excellence in Club Growth
- 2016-2017 Excellence in Leadership
- 2016-2017 President's 20+
- 2016-2017 President's Distinguished District Award
- 2022-2022 Presidential Citation
Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a Board Member:
In my 15 years of experience, I have shouldered the responsibilities of managing multiple product and service businesses across the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Australia/New Zealand regions. Having worked in disruptive organizations, helping them do business in more than 70 countries, I have learned a great deal about new-age business models and contributed to their respective growth strategies, sustainability principles, and user retention methods. I have navigated through each businesses' fast-evolving user needs. Through my experience with client engagement and scaling businesses across different parts of the world, I have deepened my understanding of cultures and sensitivities required for a product-market fit. As we move into the fourth industrial revolution, my professional expertise in adapting to dynamic user segments in different markets across the globe will augment the board's deliberations on the current 2022-2024 strategic plan. I hope to collaboratively help with seeding the key components for the next strategic plan to enhance the experience provided by Toastmasters International.
What experience do you have in strategic planning?
While handling global portfolios, I have participated in strategic planning, managing current business needs, and increasing market share. Having been involved in projects ranging from entering new markets and business development to Force Majeure situations, my experience in strategic planning involves maintaining liquidity, market positioning within an evolving competitor landscape, and investments in new end-user products. Each of these projects required maintaining the sustainability of the business, anticipating changes, and course correction to stay relevant within the market.
What experience do you have in the area of finance?
My professional experience has allowed me the opportunity to be the lead of projects assigned with allocated budgets and the goal of driving revenue and margins. Managing these budgets required a prudent fiscal understanding of two key metrics — customer acquisition cost and customer lifetime value. Marketing, operational costs, headcount, and travel are just some of the key metrics that had to be managed. This oversight ensured the fiscal health and stability of projects, at the same time driving revenue. Taxation and compliance on a global scale are niche subjects that I also have a special interest in.
What experience do you have in developing policies?
Living in a mobile-first era, policy development and evolution are critical to staying competitive. Product development, business planning, and business operations are three functions in which I contribute relevant and practical policy development as guardrails preserving the best interest of my organization. In my experience, each stakeholder (business, finance, production, legal, operations, and technology) must be consulted as a collective unit while addressing potential challenges.
What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?
Everyone signs up with an organization to be successful. I have learned through my leadership experience that two things form the basis of high-impact teams — clarity and alignment. Each and every person brings something different to the table, and it is our job as leaders to appreciate the person, empower them to perform, and motivate them to overcome inhibitions. Practicing compassion has helped me to bond teams together, bringing clarity and alignment towards a common goal.
What experience and key strengths would you bring to the Board of Directors?
Strategic planning, an analytical mindset, the ability to drive collaboration, and a digital marketing background are the key strengths that I bring to the Board of Directors. Having helped multiple mobile-first companies with growth in key markets worldwide, I have worked to collaborate in building new era monetization models. In the last four years, I have also had the opportunity to speak, consult, and mentor various District and club leaders across the world. This global perspective will help my peers on the board to collectively build futuristic growth and strengthen the value proposition catering the need to current and future members.
Why do you want to serve as an International Officer/Director?
Using my strategic and design thinking skills, I have helped various organizations develop a roadmap toward growth, progress, and success. Similarly, within every role I have served in Toastmasters International, I have built and supported teams displaying excellence in planning, execution, and outcomes following that same mindset. As an International Director, I will contribute towards building a clear and meaningful strategic direction for our organization - where members and leaders enjoy collaboratively working towards growth, progress, and success at every level.
What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?
As an alumnus of the Indian School of Business, I actively volunteer for informational sessions about the school, interview prospective students, and mentor students. Working with these aspiring future leaders, I have had the opportunity to share the forms of leadership required at all stages of business as well as the importance of the mindset and skillset one needs to unleash their potential.
Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters? If so, describe your experience.
I have worked as a consultant with multiple boards on various projects, including committee work with the Toastmasters Board. The majority of these projects are based on the viability of products in specific markets, organizational design, and market entry strategy. These have included mobile app companies from Australia, China, and North America. The assignments were project-focused, but allowed me to share my expertise in business, design thinking, and new-age marketing. Each opportunity allowed me the experience to collaborate with various stakeholders and boards.
In your opinion, what are Toastmasters International’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?
Toastmasters International has a clearly defined envisioned future of being the first-choice provider of communication and leadership training worldwide. To achieve this, I believe we need to strengthen our fundamentals and focus on two important things.
First is revenue diversity. The majority of our revenue is from membership dues and fees. Considering the current and future economic tightening and changing market trends, we have an opportunity to explore multiple revenue modes. Second is an enhanced leadership experience. We see varying degrees of involvement in Toastmasters leadership roles, especially at the district level. We could work on improving the quality of leadership experience because a rewarding experience will translate to transferable skills, achieved personal goals, and increased member retention. This would help in the growth of the organization at all levels.
With proven success of working with disruptive/innovative global organizations, I bring with me experience of discovering value within the organization and marketplace. My experience will add to deliberations on the board to help make our organization financially more viable and shape a better leadership experience for our current and future leaders.
Additional information about candidate:
As a Yoga and meditation practitioner, I have come to appreciate the power of awareness. It has helped me become cognizant and compassionate both in my professional and personal life. I have realized that it is through continuous learning that one acknowledges their perspectives and sensitivities.
Additionally, travel is something that not only rejuvenates me but also builds perspective. Apart from traveling throughout India, I have travelled to the USA, Switzerland, Spain, Sri Lanka, China, and South Korea.