Candidate's Office: International Director
Region Number: 1
Toastmasters member since: 2002
Education: B.Commerce, MBA, Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR), Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)
Employer and/or position: Best Buy Canada
Served as District Director of District number: 96
Term of service: 2019 - 2020
In term as District Director, District achieved: Not Distinguished
Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international and regional level):
- 2019-2020 District Director
- 2018-2019 Program Quality Director
- 2015-2016 Administration Manager & Division Director
Toastmasters honors and recognition (international level):
- 2020 #2 in the World: District Online Ovation Award (+95% clubs online in district)
- 2020 District Athletes Academia Award Silver
- 2018-2019 District 96 Toastmaster of the Year
- 2018-2019 Excellence in Program Quality
Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a Board Member:
For over 25 years, I have served with local, national and international non-profit organizations, working on boards and teams to solve issues that are very similar to those of Toastmasters International.
An Executive MBA in Tourism and Hospitality Management has rounded out my academic knowledge and business acumen.
My career spans several decades in Meeting Planning including two Olympics, Royal tours, international congresses, incentives, and product launches. Recently, I’ve pivoted my career into Human Resources, Communications, and Learning & Development roles. I like working on teams at the strategic level and the resulting change management.
What experience do you have in strategic planning?
- Meeting Professionals International (MPI) – International Board & Committees (16 years) – launched toolkit for strategic meeting management, set policy for globalizing industry designation, built 5-year national strategic plan, co-created National Meetings Industry Day (now Global).
- GI Society – Board of Directors (2 years) – set strategic plan for Canadian charity for gastro-intestinal (GI) & liver conditions, CEO review and risk management.
- Metallurgical Society of Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) (9 years) – strategic planning, board of directors, policy review, membership growth strategies, created student chapters.
What experience do you have in the area of finance?
- Oversaw $15 million annual budget for multi-national including contracting & procurement, financial management and financial reconciliation across 70 country offices.
- Created $20 million program budgets for clients of a 2010 Winter Olympic Games agency.
- Taught “Return on Investment (ROI) Methodologies” for Event Management college diploma.
- Kickstarted economic impact study in Canada for business tourism sector, with MPI Canadian Council.
What experience do you have in developing policies?
- Revised local, national and international policy for MPI and industry designations.
- Partnered with the government of Canada on bilingual occupational standards for meeting planners.
- Documented SOP manual for International Congress team for a multi-national firm.
- Wrote convention volunteer guidelines/policies for a national non-profit association.
- Reviewed and upheld Hiring and Employment policies for world-wide call centre. Managed the employee disciplinary process. Developed Customer Service policies.
- Wrote human resources employee manual for a fast-growing start-up.
- Co-created inventory and merchandising Standard Operating Processes (SOPs) for a national big-box retailer. At this company, also developed and implemented policies as part of the Compliance & Ethics Review Committee and the Health & Safety Committee.
What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?
- BE CLEAR ON “WHY”. Share the vision and then get out of the way. Let people own the project.
- LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND FIRST. Give the quiet ones a voice. Diversity breeds better decisions.
- EVERYTHING IS “FIGURE-OUT-ABLE”. Get creative, test ideas, listen to everyone. Realize there is more than one way to get there. Prepare with Plan B, Plan C, Plan D…
- HAVE THOSE HARD CONVERSATIONS EARLY. Be honest and kind. Focus on common values. Solve the situation, never blame. Praise and encourage in public; give feedback in private.
What experience and key strengths would you bring to the Board of Directors?
- Global perspective: I have travelled in 50 countries, including 46 US states. I’ve worked in 6 countries in fast-paced cross-cultural environments: European call centre, Olympic Games, and international event planning.
- Experience in non-profits: served 25+ years. I have volunteered with Toastmasters International, Meeting Professionals International, Events Industry Council, GI Society, Lakeshore Players, Beckett Players, Iona Players, Administrative Management Society, Vanier College, Suicide-Action Montreal, BMO Marathon, Vancouver Sun Run, Tech Pong (Charity Ping Pong tournament), and 2010 Winter Olympic Games. I’ve also worked as a director at the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum and as a special projects coordinator at the Montreal Board of Trade.
Why do you want to serve as an International Officer/Director?
Toastmasters help people to find their confidence – and that goes far beyond our organization. When you become free to express yourself without fear or doubt – it changes lives. That is why I want to be part of the team that will set the stage for Toastmasters International to be successful for years to come!
Also, I bring a global perspective and experience from decades of servant leadership. I have the time, the energy and the passion to make a meaningful contribution to the Board.
What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?
- MPI (16 years) – provincial chapter president (3 times), national council, international committees, international board, leadership trainer, and presenter at world conventions.
- GI Society (2 years) – board secretary for national gastro-intestinal & liver educational charity.
- Local amateur theatre companies (5 years) – served on board of directors, producer, and as crew.
- Over the years, I’ve been a charity volunteer, emergency responder, suicide hotline crisis counsellor, Olympic Games and local marathon volunteer, and condo strata council treasurer.
Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters? If so, describe your experience.
As a member of more than 8 boards of directors, I have learned the difference between operational and strategic planning. I also served as staff to 2 boards of directors.
My experience includes: strategic planning, project management, globalization, event management, budgeting/finance, contracting/procurement, risk management, membership growth, policy creation, and technology.
In your opinion, what are Toastmasters International’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?
Our primary objective is to support our members and expand our worldwide network of clubs.
The global pandemic is a time to double up on the approaches in our strategic plan and rebuild our membership base – with compassion, creativity and excellence. It is a chance to improve our technology, communicate better on all levels and re-think how we deliver service and excellence.
The impact of online meetings is here to stay. We need to be more resourceful, focus on the value of Toastmasters and strengthen partnerships.
How will I work to achieve that? Listen. Voice concerns and perspectives. Think through consequences of decisions with the Board. Scale up outcomes for future years. Live the values.
Additional information about candidate:
Fun fact: My first Toastmasters club was in Switzerland in 2002, when the Toastmasters area was the whole country. I used to joke that I came 2nd “nationally” in the Humorous Speech contest in 2003 – it sounded better.
Like most Toastmasters, I am a life-long learner and love reading. As I am multi-lingual (fluent in English and French, with social German and Spanish) – I’ve challenged myself this year to read the Harry Potter series in German. Why not?