Ronald Servant, DTM
Candidate's Office: International Director
Region Number: 9
Toastmasters member since: 2013
Education: Bachelor of Mathematics in Computer Science and Information Systems
Employer and/or position: Senior Development Manager, JSI
Served as District Director of District number: 61
Term of service: 2019 - 2020
In term as District Director, District achieved: Not Distinguished
Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international-, region-, and District-level):
- 2015-2016 Area Director
- 2016-2017 Division Director
- 2017-2018 Club Growth Director
- 2018-2019 Program Quality Director
Toastmasters honors and recognition (international- and District-level):
- 2018-2019 Excellence in Program Quality
Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a Board Member:
As a Senior Development Manager reporting to the Vice-President of Engineering at JSI, I lead a team of over 50 software developers collaborating with senior managers across departments and our support and operations groups. I am responsible for strategic planning, risk identification and mitigation, product delivery, and continuous improvement of our products and processes.
What experience do you have in strategic planning?
As president of L'Étoile Filante, a preschool and after-school center, I led annual and long-term planning to ensure the daycare could meet the challenges of the day and be ready to meet future challenges. This included leading the daycare to expand to a second site co-located with a newly opened school.
What experience do you have in the area of finance?
As Senior Development Manager at JSI, I've performed annual salary planning for my organization of over 50 staff with a budget of six million dollars. Ensuring promotions, bonuses, and regular salary increases recognized everyone's contribution and stayed within budget.
As a district leader, I managed a two hundred thousand dollar annual budget.
What experience do you have in developing policies?
As a JSI's senior management team member, I review and develop policies and procedures to improve working conditions, methods, and efficiency. Such as balancing our hybrid work policies and adjusting our customer support policies to reduce costs while improving responsiveness.
As a politically active citizen, I developed policies for political platforms. Such as voting reform to engage more voters by making their vote count towards electing a candidate representing their views.
As a district leader, I revised and developed policies for budgeting and standing committees that provide clarity and guidance for current and future district leaders.
What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?
Rely on the team. I found it easiest to motivate teams by promoting a vision built on their input. Regardless of the objectives, you must include input and consideration for the team doing the work. Allow team members to take ownership of their tasks because the leader is successful only when the team is successful.
Listen first. To motivate people to achieve a goal, you must first learn what motivates them. To learn what motivates them, you must listen. To understand if you are on track, you must listen to the people executing the plan.
Find mentors. Find people with experience in what you are trying to do and learn from them. Find people with the knowledge you lack. Ask for advice, listen to their experience and learn from their stories.
What experience and key strengths would you bring to the Board of Directors?
I have worked in information technology for over 26 years at Nortel Networks, Innovance Networks, IBM, and JSI. At IBM and JSI, I've held first-line and senior management roles that have elevated my collaboration, mentoring, and communication skills. I was recognized as “Collaborator of the Year” by the Centre of Advanced Studies IBM Canada Laboratory in 2016 for my work leading projects between IBM and the University of New Brunswick.
Why do you want to serve as an International Officer/Director?
Toastmasters has changed my life. I want to help the organization thrive and grow so that others may benefit the way I have.
The pandemic has set Toastmasters International back a decade financially. World Headquarters is challenged to complete essential projects such as the ERP deployment and integration with existing systems. I want to add my knowledge and expertise in information technology and my ability to collaborate globally to the board to find solutions to our financial and technical challenges and respond quickly to an ever-changing environment.
What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?
I ran for student council in high school and founded the Audio-Visual club. In university, I was president of my student society and organized campus-wide tenders for the student-run tuck shops. I founded my neighbourhood community association to run community events and gather their input to advocate with the city council on their behalf. I volunteered and planned political office campaigns, promoting candidates I believed could make a difference. I coached my son's little league baseball team and my daughter's soccer team, ensuring the kids had fun and learned to play the game as a team. I organized an annual, week-long technology camp for underprivileged children, many later returning to volunteer as camp counsellors.
Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters? If so, describe your experience.
Yes. For two years, I served as a board member of L'Étoile Filante, a preschool and after-school center. For the second year, I served as president. During my term, we expanded the daycare to include a second location to support a new school. We transitioned food services from a poor-performing third-party provider to an internal service.
In your opinion, what are Toastmasters International’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?
In my opinion, our major objectives are membership growth, diversifying revenue, and improving member services.
Our membership has declined nearly 20% since the pandemic began. I would collaborate with my board colleagues on new incentives and partnerships that would drive increased membership.
To stabilize and grow our revenue, I would recommend new membership models like subscription services and diversify our income by creating corporate training partnerships where we license our education materials.
We need to improve member services through increased staffing at world headquarters by leveraging a global work-from-home workforce. We can not only restore our services but deliver on the promise of pathways, the ERP, and international member support.
By pursuing these objectives, we can realize our envisioned future as the first-choice provider of dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership skills development.
Additional information about candidate:
I'm a father of two teenage children. I am passionate about technology, science fiction, fantasy, politics, sports, history, and communication, always wondering what will come next. I've driven an electric car since 2018 and can't ever imagine going back to a vehicle with an internal combustion engine. Electric cars are just too much fun. I'm planning to charter a virtual reality Toastmasters club because of my latest purchase of Oculus Quest 2 VR goggles.