Morag Mathieson

Morag Mathieson

Candidate's Office: Second Vice President

Region Number: 10

Toastmasters member since: 2006

Education: MBA (Open University), BSc (Hons) in Pharmacy (Robert Gordon University)

Employer and/or position: Self employed Professional Development Consultant

Served as district governor of district number: 59

Term of service: 2012 - 2013

In term as district governor, district achieved: Presidents Distinguished


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

  • 2017-2019 International Director
  • 2016 Training & Development Advisory Committee
  • 2014-2015 Region Advisor, Region 11

Toastmasters honors and recognition (international level):

  • 2012-2013 Excellence in Leadership Award
  • 2012-2013 Presidents 20 Plus Award (#1 district)
  • 2012-2013 Presidents Extension Award (#3 district)
  • 2012-2013 Presidents Distinguished District Governor (#1 district)
  • 2011-2012 Excellence in Education & Training Award

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

My work experience in the corporate world, as an entrepreneur and in not-for-profit leadership has meant I have had diverse responsibilities and delivered results in a range of settings. As General Manager and Superintendent Pharmacist for Belfast Co-operative Chemists I had full professional and business responsibility for a group of pharmacies with a budget of over £100m. This included all aspects of strategy, service development and delivery, with commitment to excellence every time. At Alliance Pharmacy I helped create new business concepts and methods of operation and through this became known as a change agent for my ability to support others during periods of growth and evolution. Serving as a liaison on government boards and committees allowed me to demonstrate my ability to work collaboratively to deliver significant results. In Toastmasters and in professional life I have led and inspired geographically dispersed and diverse teams. As the chair of a charity board I have been able to develop vision and strategy to lead the charity forward in a time of transition.

This work experience gives me a deeper understanding of the diverse perspectives required to work strategically on our board.

What experience do you have in strategic planning?

As the General Manager of Belfast Co-operative Chemists I developed and implemented strategies to lead a successful chain of retail pharmacies to deliver performance above market average.

I led the pilot work to establish Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for pharmacists in Scotland and worked with others to develop supplementary roles and competencies in the pharmacy profession in the UK. This legacy is now well established in the pharmacy sector.

Alliance Pharmacy hired me as Continuing Professional Development CPD Manager to develop and implement a strategy for CPD for pharmacists and technicians in the company’s 910 stores, making the company one of the first in the UK to implement such a system.

My most recent experiences in Toastmasters were as:

  • As a Board Member I was involved in strategic planning exercises in the areas of current and future program offers, core values and accountability. I also served on Board committees, including Governing Documents Review, Recognition Programs and Club Leadership Roles and Responsibilities.
  • Chair of the Joint Reformation Committee of Districts 59 & 95 - preparing a strategic proposal for the restructure of Toastmasters in Continental Europe from 2 into 6 districts. This proposal, of unprecedented complexity has now been implemented.

What experience do you have in the area of finance?

I have managed budgets responsibly for projects, departments and for a whole organization ranging from a few thousand pounds to a budget in excess of £100 million (123 million USD). The scale and range of these budgets provided the experience to understand the impact of a budget in effectively managing an organization.

As a treasurer in the volunteer sector I served by preparing budgets, managing finances and keeping accurate accounts to help the organization deliver on its strategic plan.

On the Toastmasters Board I reviewed, approved and contributed to oversight of the Toastmasters International budget and financial performance to ensure congruence with the strategic direction.

What experience do you have in developing policies?

As CPD Manager I was involved in cross-departmental teams that wrote policies for patient services, for a postgraduate sponsorship program and for CPD in the company. As a member of the Pharmacy Services Boards for governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland I helped write and review policies for various services to the public, for example minimizing antibiotic resistance.

On the Toastmasters Board I was actively engaged in reviewing, amending and creating policy, including a review of the Governing Documents and changes to the Bylaws, District Administrative Bylaws and Club Constitution.

What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?

I learned:

  • Leaders always develop others. This strengthens the team, enables more people to shine and grow and confirms the value of individuals while creating more leaders for the future.
  • When we accept that everyone has an equally valuable yet different perspective we allow differences to be explored.
  • Healthy conflict helps teams perform more effectively.
  • It is essential in any project or change process to listen to stakeholders, value their differing opinions and help them express themselves for better outcomes.
  • Creating a culture of feedback and accountability results in higher standards being reached and we all learn and grow together.

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

I will bring my experience in strategic planning and service delivery from the business, government and voluntary sector environments along with a heart to give and receive world-class service.

In 2 years of effective Board service I contributed to discussions, listened to understand the views of others to gain a deeper understanding of Toastmasters globally. This experience combined with service in a multi-country district and region, and having led diverse teams have built my cultural awareness and global view.

My ability to communicate with clarity and simplify the complex helps others understand topics and facilitates the sharing of vision.

I am a forward thinker who is able to see the bigger picture.

I make evidence-based decisions based on research and preparation. In combination with the work of others we are able to deliver thorough decisions.

My calm and centered leadership approach in challenging situations allows for a focus on delivering my best at all times for a constructive outcome.

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

Toastmasters International has the power and potential to improve the lives of individuals, organizations and communities through its program. We are on the threshold of a new Strategic Plan that will lead our organization towards its 100th anniversary. The next century of Toastmasters needs dedicated and proven leaders to create the future success of our organization.

I believe I always add value and can bring knowledge, experience and qualities to help us deliver excellently on our envisioned future.

What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?

I am currently the chair of the board of Living Water Germany e.V. (a child sponsorship charity).

I have served as a leader in the USA Girl Scouts Overseas in Southern Germany: on the board, as regional treasurer and as a local volunteer.

I devote time with other native English speakers, to help students in German schools prepare for their oral state tests in English.

I serve as administrative coordinator for my local church.

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

Since 2018 I have been the chair of Living Water Germany e.V. I have worked with the board to develop vision, strategy and manage a transition in the organization.

On the Pharmacy Services Boards of government departments in Scotland and Northern Ireland we developed strategic plans to ensure the provision of appropriate pharmacy services.

I was an advisor to the Board of Directors of Alliance Pharmacy on maximizing service delivery opportunities arising from government policy and on developing career paths for professionals.

I served on the board of USA Girl Scouts Overseas in Southern Germany to bring an exciting growth program for girls. My specific responsibility was for finance.

In all cases I worked well with colleagues at all organizational levels and was able to contribute significantly because of my knowledge, my analytical and reflective skills and my focus on evidence-based decision-making.

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

The current major objectives for Toastmasters International are expressed in the 2015 strategic plan: club excellence, member achievement, and awareness, engagement and participation.

Related to this there is a need to understand more deeply the current organizational performance trends, its causes and effective strategies to improve performance.

Becoming a truly global brand and organization with appropriate and effective marketing around the world where everyone has excellent service in all aspects of their Toastmasters experience. Analysis of the global marketing pilots results could inform a future marketing plan while a review of the needs and wishes of members, clubs and districts could help determine a plan to move towards a stronger global identity.

We need to ensure adequate numbers of well-equipped leaders at all levels in the organization to carry it forward. I would explore a leadership development program including mentoring, feedback and evaluation for leaders and specialized training.

The continuing development and embedding of Pathways as our core education program requires strategic focus as this has a major impact on member satisfaction and organizational success.

In addition to leading board committees as required to progress these objectives, I would leverage feedback from members during district visits on the progress and impact of the objectives. I would raise awareness during district visits of priorities and share best practices where possible.

I recognize that as we close on the 2015 Strategic Plan and prepare for a new Strategic Plan we draw on the strengths of the past and carry the threads of continuity into the future.

Additional information about candidate:

I love it when I have the opportunity to meet people who inspire me and whom I can inspire at the same time, so that we all grow in the process. I have been blessed with opportunities to do this while visiting the members and leaders in regions 10 and 11.

My husband David and I joined Toastmasters on the same day and throughout our own differing Toastmasters journeys we remain loyal supporters of each other and committed members of this wonderful global community.