Candidate Photo

KAREN BLAKE, DTM

Candidate's Office: Second Vice President

Region Number: 3

Toastmasters member since: 2000

Education: Masters in Professional Accounting, University of Texas at Austin, Texas, USA, graduated with honors (1992); Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Employer and/or position: Deloitte Tax LLP, Managing Director

Served as district governor of district number: 56

Term of service: 2011-2012

In term as district governor, district achieved: Distinguished

Website: http://www.karengblake.com

Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international and regional level):

  • International Director (Region 3) 2013-2015
  • Distinguished District Governor (D56) 2011-2012
  • Lieutenant Governor Marketing (D56) 2010-2011
  • Select Distinguished Division Governor (D56) 2008-2009
  • Distinguished Area Governor (D56) 2007-2008
  • Every Club officer role 2000-2016

Toastmasters honors and recognition (international level):

  • Leadership Mentor Award (D56) 2015-2016
  • Excellence in Leadership Award (D56) 2011-2012
  • Excellence in Marketing Award (D56) 2010-2011
  • Distinguished Toastmaster Award (D56) 2014-2015
  • Distinguished Toastmaster Award (D56) 2012-2013
  • Distinguished Toastmaster Award (D56) 2010-2011
  • Distinguished Toastmaster Award (D56) 2007-2008

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

Managing Director, Deloitte Tax, LLP As a Managing Director, I work with six partners, principals, and managing directors to lead a multi-million dollar, multi-national professional services practice. With specialization in the field of financial instruments taxation and in U.S. tax matters related to foreign investments, Deloitte Tax is a leader in the industry with clients that are major participants in world financial markets. Together with fellow executives, I plan and execute the overall business strategy, ensuring the current and continued future success of the professional practice, which correlates well with the role of an Executive Officer of Toastmasters International.

What experience do you have in strategic planning?

Working as an executive in a leading global professional services firm, my clients consider me to be their trusted business advisor. I apply my knowledge of the U.S. tax law and current market trends to consult with clients and their attorneys regarding the tax impact of their financial structures. Together with my fellow executives, I plan and execute overall business strategy, thus ensuring the current and continued future success of the practice. During my term on the Toastmasters International Board of Directors, I participated in developing the 2015 Strategic Plan, which prepares me to further assist the Executive Committee and Board of Directors in executing the Strategic Plan now.

What experience do you have in the area of finance?

In my career, I specialize in the field of financial instruments taxation, and oversee our practice’s financial results. Many of my clients are major participants in world financial markets. With 23 years as a Certified Public Accountant, I am well versed in preparing budgets and analyzing financial statements. I successfully planned and executed the district budget as District 56 Governor. During my term on the Board of Directors, I became familiar with our budget, financial statements, internal controls, accounting system, and world headquarters finance team. I am well prepared to assist the Executive Committee with the oversight of our organization’s finances.

What experience do you have in developing policies?

Following firm standards, I execute nationwide policies in my career as a Managing Director at Deloitte Tax. I also develop ancillary local policies and procedures for our practice of 80 professionals in the U.S. and India. These ancillary policies and procedures are instrumental in guiding the operations of our practice and include determining areas of professional responsibility, issuing timely client deliverables, ensuring engagement quality and proper work paper retention, and planning and overseeing our financial results. During my service on the Toastmasters International Board of Directors, I contributed to the development of several Toastmasters International policies.

What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?

Professionally, I have learned how to successfully lead a culturally diverse team, consistently meeting or exceeding client expectations. Personally, in Toastmasters I have learned how to inspire, motivate, and encourage volunteers from a wide variety of background experiences, cultures and personalities, rewarding and recognizing them for their achievements. I have learned how to be a role model and mentor to others while continuing to learn from and work with my mentors. I have learned how important it is to maintain personal integrity while treating all individuals with respect. Valuable lessons learned include the ability and perspective to remain positive and focused on the goals and mission of the organization, thus ensuring our success.

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

My skills and strengths fit well with the role of Second Vice President. The professional experience I bring to the Board includes: my proven track record of successfully leading a diverse team as a business executive; my marketing experience with executives of major companies in world financial markets; and my finance and accounting acumen from over 20 years in public accounting. Key strengths I bring include: a zest for research and problem-solving; my optimistic, positive outlook; and my consensus style of leadership. Additionally, I have learned how important it is on our Board of Directors to listen to all the differing opinions and viewpoints on each issue before deciding to take action, ensuring we are best serving the interests and needs of our members, wherever their club is located.

Why do you want to serve as an international officer/director?

Serving on our Board of Directors as an International Director for two years was extremely rewarding and fulfilling for me and I want to be of service even more! I am passionate about the work our Board is doing to modernize and globalize our organization, bringing Toastmasters to more people while striving to provide an exceptional member experience to every member, and keeping our organization strong for future generations. Since I am retiring in June 2017, I have greater capacity, focus and more time to serve. I am dedicated to serving inside the boardroom and to visiting districts around the world, inspiring and encouraging members to continue in their Toastmasters journey.

What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?

For several years, I organized local volunteer group activities for Deloitte’s Houston office “Impact Day,” our annual day of volunteering. I have continued to participate in this program each year. In 2015 and 2016, I led volunteer teams teaching a classroom reading program for kindergarten and first-grade children with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. I have served as Chair for the United Way campaign in the Deloitte Houston tax department. My annual charitable contributions at the leadership level include the United Way, my church, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Toastmasters International Ralph C. Smedley Memorial Fund.

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

My professional experience is commensurate with board-level activity. With over 11 years as an executive in a leading global professional services firm, I interact daily with key client decision makers and executives. We team together with my firm’s partners, principals, and managing directors on client engagements, technical matters and operational results. This experience enables me to interact well with fellow Board of Directors members, Toastmasters International world headquarters executives and staff, and our worldwide members and district leaders, serving the needs of our members while ensuring the strength of our worldwide organization for future generations.

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

Our major objectives are: modernization, globalization and stewardship. I will work to achieve these objectives by: listening to our members and leaders, remaining relevant, connected, and aware of the consequences of our board decisions; by assisting our Board’s Executive Committee with prioritizing goals and initiatives under the 2015 Strategic Plan; and by working together with my fellow Board of Directors members to increase club quality, enhance the member experience, and increase awareness, engagement, and participation externally to ensure that the whole world knows about Toastmasters.

Additional information about candidate:

In my career, I recruit and develop professionals in India and the United States. Like our Toastmasters family, colleagues in the group are from countries around the world and represent diverse cultures, ethnicities, and languages, including China, Pakistan, India, and the United Arab Emirates. I embrace and foster inclusivity from a gender, ethnicity, LGBT, and cross-cultural perspective. As in Toastmasters, I lead by example and mentor others to help individuals develop their skills and excel in their careers. I love the inclusive, mutually supportive environment in our clubs and worldwide organization, where we are supporting each other: GROWING TOGETHER - BECOMING OUR BEST. Additional information is available at www.karengblake.com