Karen Marie Lucas
Candidate's Office: International Director
Region Number: 2
Toastmasters member since: 2007
Education: College Degree in Applied & Liberal Arts Studies, Project Management Certificate
Employer and/or position: Chief Operations Officer, Ashlar Industries
Served as district governor of district number: 100
Term of service: 2017-2018
In term as district governor, district achieved: Not Distinguished
Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international and regional level):
- 2017-2018 District 100 District Director
- 2016-2017 District F Program Quality Director
- 2015-2016 District F Area H2 Director
- 2015-2016 District 12 Area E1 Director
- 2014-2015 District F Division Director
Toastmasters honors and recognition (international level):
- 2018 District F Spirit of Excellence Award
- 2016-2017 Excellence in Program Quality
- 2016 District 12 Outstanding Member Award
- 2012 Caltech Toastmasters Toastmaster of the Year
Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a Board member:
As Chief Operations Officer of Ashlar Industries, working with clients and businesses for the last six years to deliver strategic solutions worldwide is commonplace. Being a key partner providing leadership, management and vision to ensure our organization has the proper operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures are essential for an International Director. The previous decade working at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California polished my aptitude working with risk management, project and fiscal management. As a Chemical Engineering Department Administrator, I was accustomed to the daily experience of working in unique, multicultural environments supporting some of the most innovative researchers hailing from 30+ countries on the planet. Effectively designing and implementing business operations and establishing policies to support a staff of 30 with a $20 million budget that promotes the culture and vision exemplify the required skills for an International Director.
What experience do you have in strategic planning?
Professionally, my world is asking "what if” scenarios in fluid circumstances. I bring a unique perspective to strategic approach: the tactical on the ground scenario changes the strategic tack. There is an integration between operations and strategy. In the non-profit arena, as a Tournament of Roses member, my ability to introduce and communicate new technology in support of the organization’s target strategy to capture younger viewership led to the development of an annual Post Parade Podcast on iTunes. Implementing this concept contributed to the current approach of integrating a century-old event with younger, tech-savvy audiences.
What experience do you have in the area of finance?
I first gained significant experience in fiscal responsibility as a Caltech Chemical Engineering Department Administrator through my active involvement in the preparation and tracking of the annual Chemical Engineering Budget, completing the stringent regulatory and compliance prerequisites relating to various grants and collaborations with private and public entities, and verifying and approving staff administrators supporting research professors and their labs. My current financial experience at Ashlar Industries includes initiation of new sales funnels and establishing financial guidelines and strategies to maintain a solvent business entity.
What experience do you have in developing policies?
While at Caltech, I collaborated with the drafting of policies relating to Environment, Health and Safety and Chemical Engineering Department protocols. Regularly revisiting and reviewing hazardous materials handling policies allowed our department to deliver the safest, fastest responses and mitigation of waste consolidation and disposal. As a US Green Buildings Council member, LEED criteria was regularly considered in contrast to our budgets and the return on investment for the Institute. Volunteering with the Tournament of Roses as an Emergency Operations Committee member, policies relating to various emergency situations are annually tested, updated, and revised.
What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?
My unique perspective and background embraces balanced, diverse international teams using intergenerational communication tactics to yield strategic planning that will benefit all members with the aim (ensuring that all members are heard and that the decisions we make consider the needs of all members) of more equitable consideration for all members. Conflict resolution, speaking truth to power, and negotiating high-value trades are my strengths fortified by my previous experience.
What experience and key strengths would you bring to the Board of Directors?
Having served on multiple boards has built my reputation for working with global teams. Leveraging my experience in strategic planning, assessment, Agile Project Management with Scrum, and policy development will allow me to add value as an International Director. In a local non-profit working to mitigate human trafficking, we were able to lobby two foreign governments to assist in the release of women from dangerous situations to a safer environment. I have an attitude of humility, active listening, proactive thinking, and can remain focused under pressure. My organizational aptitude, ability to network with a diverse group of professionals, and extensive, life-long experience traveling internationally positions me to consider the voice of all members. My strengths in the areas of training, mentoring and marketing will also be beneficial to the board.
Why do you want to serve as an international officer/director?
My service as International Director will be a mutually beneficial experience for myself and for all members I represent. The debt I owe, and will passionately remit, is to those who mentored me, yet it can only be aptly paid off by supporting and mentoring our current and future members. This organization is where I learned to self-advocate and champion those who do not have a voice. Toastmasters provides a portable, practical education acting as an equalizer for a nominal cost. This program is the best way to set individuals, corporations, and communities up for success. As International Director, I intend to earn further insight so that I may successfully run for an elected public office and represent citizens with integrity, respect, service and excellence.
What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?
From a young age, my maternal grandmother instilled volunteerism into my DNA! Known as a non-profit maven, I have 12 years with the Tournament of Roses working with various committees to ensure The Rose Bowl Game and the Rose Parade ring in the New Year annually on January 1st, 10 years with the American Federation of Human Rights, 7 years with the US Green Buildings Council and Infragard. I am also an active leader in both the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts of America.
Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters? If so, describe your experience.
I have extensive Board experience, including The Health Physics Society Government Relations Committee, the United Nations Association – Pasadena Board Member, and Yuri’s Night Global (a worldwide celebration of space) serving as a Global Operations Strategist. These roles have grown my understanding of the importance of service leadership.
In your opinion, what are Toastmasters International’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?
Our major objective is to do right by all members and treat our members equitably, both in established and emerging markets. Our strategic plan has three areas of focus: club excellence, member achievement, and awareness, engagement and participation. Revisiting our strategy and embracing the tools and processes at our disposal to serve our global membership will allow our organization to fully realize our envisioned future to be the first-choice provider of dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership skills development.
Additional information about candidate:
As International Director, I will be the global voice for all of our members. I am a second generation DTM. I joined Caltech Toastmasters in Founder’s District as a charter member in March of 2007 because of a Health Physicist. My true love, Mark, later joined “for a girl” (I didn’t know it at the time)! We have our 10 year-old son Xavier and our 8 year-old daughter Emily. Our family enjoys traveling together 2-3 months out of each year. I adore rock climbing, rappelling, and have just a few scuba dives left until I earn my PADI Divemaster.