Candidate's Office: Second Vice President
Region Number: 9
Toastmasters member since: 2000
Education: BE Electronics Engineering, Bangalore University; MS Electrical Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Employer and/or position: AT&T/ Senior Applications Developer
Served as district governor of district number: 46
Term of service: 2007-2008
In term as district governor, district achieved: Distinguished
Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international and regional level):
- 2017-2019 International Director
- 2015-2016 Region Advisor
Toastmasters honors and recognition (international level):
- 2009 Presidential Citation
- 2007-2008 Distinguished District Governor
- 2006-2007 Excellence in Marketing
- 2004-2005 Select Distinguished Area Director
Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a Board member:
My career in the telecommunications industry has spanned over 32 years. In this time I have held many roles including Senior Member of Technical Staff, Technical Architect and Lead Analyst. I am currently a Senior Applications Developer at AT&T and a subject matter expert in my field. I analyze data, troubleshoot problems, develop policies, and write software for projects that impact millions of customers. I also serve on a change control board making decisions to mitigate risk and enhance performance of our systems. My experience working in multicultural teams for global projects that require a high attention to detail would enable me to be an asset as a board member.
What experience do you have in strategic planning?
Over the years, working in multi-national technology companies, I have helped develop strategic plans for our services and equipment to be extremely reliable and secure. I have planned for future updates and features, while considering the needs to scale and grow as the business requires. I have been on many committees planning the details of our set ups. In the process I have understood and acquired strategic planning skills that I could fully utilize as a member of the Board.
What experience do you have in the area of finance?
My analysis and recommendations at work influence financial decisions. Optimizing costs are at the forefront during every stage of the project cycle, including hardware selection, software development, and user interface design. As International Director I worked on the District Fiscal Effectiveness committee to promote sound fiscal policies and enhance the effectiveness of district spending. I have also worked as a Real Estate agent and dealt with financial matters to help secure loans and close the sale of homes. I have presented workshops on financial management at my daughter’s high school and Girl Scout troop.
What experience do you have in developing policies?
An integral part of my work is to develop policies and procedures to ensure the smooth operation and security of our services and to satisfy customer requirements. I also evaluate and modify existing policies and procedures in order to meet emerging needs and contractual obligations. My duties as a Toastmasters International Director required my careful deliberation of the merits of proposed policy revisions with other board members for possible adoption within our organization.
What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?
Leaders need to have integrity, courage and utmost belief in their mission. Leaders need to have a vision and they must communicate that vision widely, clearly, and frequently. Leaders develop leaders! We need to lead by example and must always be willing to listen and engage with people. A leader must acknowledge, recognize, and appreciate the work done by others.
What experience and key strengths would you bring to the Board of Directors?
My various life experiences give me a broad perspective. I attended elementary school in Nigeria, high school and college in India, and graduate school in America. I have travelled to over 32 countries and gained exposure to many cultures. I have worked on complex global projects that require analytical ability, critical thinking, and problem solving skills, while ensuring the achievement of the overall objectives of the projects. In Toastmasters, I have successfully held district leadership positions and served as a Region Advisor. The critical skills that have acquired from life, work, and Toastmasters, would allow me to be an asset on the board
Why do you want to serve as an international officer/director?
Toastmasters has given me a vastly more powerful voice within my profession, being an engineer, a minority and a woman I initially found it difficult to speak up. Toastmasters has helped me tremendously and given me many new opportunities for which I am eternally grateful, and now is the time for me to offer my skills to the organization as we focus on more accountability, reducing conflict, streamlining our processes and extending our global marketing efforts. I want to enable more people to enhance their communication and leadership skills by taking advantage of the unique services that Toastmasters provides.
What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?
From my early years in school I have always valued and enjoyed volunteering in both an informal setting tutoring math to the kids in the neighborhood to formal events with my Girl Scout troop. I have been an Assistant Troop Leader for my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop for five years. I have helped plan activities, schedule trips, and earn badges. I have also mentored the girls and presented workshops to the troop. Additionally, I have captained the Arthritis walk several times to raise funds for Arthritis research. I have also been very involved with several employee resource groups, such as Women of AT&T and APCA (Asian Pacific Islanders for Community Advancement).
Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters? If so, describe your experience.
I have worked on the board of a local chapter of an employee resource group called the APCA-Asian Pacific Islanders for Community Advancement. Their focus is to create alliances that enhance professional and leadership opportunities. Since I was a Toastmaster and our missions overlapped, I stressed the importance of improving our communication and leadership skills.
In your opinion, what are Toastmasters International’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?
Toastmasters International’s major objective is to realize our envisioned future of being the first choice provider of dynamic, high value, experiential communications and leadership skills development. Currently the membership trend in North America, and Australia is troubling. We are still transitioning to Pathways and the adoption rate has been promising. The development of the new strategic plan and the decisions the board will make in the near future are critical to ensure we are moving in the right direction.
Additional information about candidate:
Toastmasters has had a huge impact on my life and I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey in Toastmasters. As Lt. Governor of Marketing my team and I chartered 27 clubs and as District Governor, I oversaw the reformation of District 46 into District 83 and District 46. In 2009, I received a Presidential Citation and was asked to be on a leadership panel at the Toastmasters International Convention. I also served on the very first International Leadership Committee from 2009 to 2011. After serving on the committee, I took a few years to focus on my family as my daughters were at a critical time in life. After ensuring that my two daughters were on a path to success, I became more involved with Toastmasters and was fortunate to be appointed as Region Advisor in 2015. I have two Toastmasters sisters in India, who were instrumental in getting me to join Toastmasters and over the past 20 years I have heard and experienced Toastmasters from their vantage point which gives me a unique perspective. Over the years, many women and minorities have told me that they have been inspired by my success. Their feedback and encouragement has made Toastmasters an extremely rewarding experience that I would like to share with others.