Russell Drake, DTM
Candidate's Office: Second Vice President
Region Number: 6
Toastmasters member since: 2006
Education: Masters Public Affairs - Personnel Administration
Employer and/or position: Goodyear Tire and Rubber Com - Retired
Served as District Director of District number: 13
Term of service: 2012 - 2013
In term as District Director, District achieved: Select Distinguished
Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international-, region-, and District-level):
- 2011-2012 Lt Governor Education and Training
- 2012-2013 District Governor
- 2015-2017 International Director
Toastmasters honors and recognition (international- and District-level):
- 2010-2011 District Toastmaster of the Year
- 2011-2012 Excellence in Education and Training
- 2012-2013 Excellence in Leadership
Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a Board Member:
My relevant work experience is sales and corporate human resources. My sales experience relates to strategy development for revenue generation, loss control, customer experience and satisfaction. My corporate human resources experience relates to policy development and implementation, diversity, equity and inclusion, succession planning, performance accountability, and compensation. The blend of these experiences are member-centric and accountability focused.
What experience do you have in strategic planning?
In my role as Manager Human Resources, I was a member of the North America Consumer Business Unit ($1billion revenue) that developed a strategic plan for sales, manufacturing, logistics and human resources. In my role as National Director of Bigger and Better Business (Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity) I led a team that developed a strategic plan that coordinated the business activities for domestic and international chapters (undergraduate and graduate).
What experience do you have in the area of finance?
As a Goodyear District Manager-Retail ($12 million revenue) I developed an annual financial plan - sales, cost of goods, gross margin and net profit. I reviewed the monthly operating statements at the district and store level and coached according to results. As an International Director (2015-2017) I reviewed the monthly Toastmasters International financial statement and asked clarifying questions as needed. My experience supports the duty of an International Officer on the Finance committee to review the proposed annual budget and submit a final budget to the Board.
What experience do you have in developing policies?
I mentioned in my relevant work experience that in human resources I developed policies for North America in various businesses like sales, manufacturing, logistics and human resources. There was also a compliance component to ensure policies were followed. This dovetails in the duty of an international officer to review operations and policies carried out by the CEO. In my role as international director I reviewed and offered suggestions, if warranted, on policy presented by the Executive Committee and World Headquarters.
What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?
I must feed my teams and speak last. It is important to feed your team. That can be literally to keep up their strength or feed them in development or training. To speak last is to allow my team to share their point of view on a declared subject before I do. This gives them the opportunity to give their opinions without leaning toward how they think I feel about the subject. It also gives me an opportunity to adjust my point of view if needed and then support the teams input.
What experience and key strengths would you bring to the Board of Directors?
Empathy, preparedness and real talk. Every organization I have joined or worked for I started at entry level. I can empathize with our members, my fraternity brothers or my retail associates because I worked my way up and I remember the struggles along the way. I prepare diligently for my work, appointments or duties assigned. Real talk for me means speaking with respect and clarity.
Why do you want to serve as an International Officer/Director?
My skill set matches the following responsibilities of an international officer. FINANCE - review proposed annual budget and submit a final budget to the board. POLICY - review operations and policies carried out by CEO. HR -Supervise the performance and position of CEO. I am ready to serve.
What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?
My volunteer work has been through my fraternity Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. The biggest local project was to develop a non-traditional sports program for urban children. This became a 36 week bowling program that lasted for three years. Once we started we realized the children were not eating properly. We then raised funds for a nutritional lunch program that coincided with the bowling activity.
Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters? If so, describe your experience.
I have referenced my fraternity often. I worked my way up the ranks to become the National Director of Bigger and Better Business. In that role my team developed a worldwide membership and member business directory. An additional responsibility was to collect the chapter financial and social reports from around the world and bestow a "Chapter of the Year award at the annual international conclave.
In your opinion, what are Toastmasters International’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?
Our major objectives are to build effective communicators and leaders. Our major concerns are membership retention and growth in an unpredictable online and in-person environment. I do not have a direct answer. I can share a lesson learned. Sir James Goldsmith attempted a hostile takeover of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. I was working the sales HR desk in corporate. The company was manufacturing rubber soles for shoes, belts and hoses for engines, managing a resort town in Goodyear, Arizona and other miscellaneous activities that did not increase shareholder value. To stave off the takeover Goodyear had to focus on its core competency - making tires. It worked. Goodyear survived and is a Fortune 500 company today. We are not in a takeover situation but the parallel of survival is my point. In my opinion our core competency is building confident speakers. That begs the question, "How do we achieve what we do best and retain and grow members in an unpredictable online and in-person environment?" I will work with world headquarters and the Board to answer that question.
Additional information about candidate:
I am a published author and an avid photographer. I am blessed with six grandchildren - five girls and one boy.