Stefano S McGhee


Candidate's Office: International Director

Region Number: 9

Toastmasters member since: 2005

Education: Masters Degree

Employer and/or position: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Manager of Infrastructure and Automation

Served as district governor of district number: 31

Term of service: 2012-2013

In term as district governor, district achieved: Select Distinguished


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

  • 2018 Pathways Guide Coordinator
  • 2017 Fall Conference Chair
  • 2016 - 2018 Pathways Ambassador
  • 2017 - 2018 Immediate Past District Director
  • 2016 - 2017 District Director
  • 2015 - 2016 Program Quality Director
  • 2013 - 2014 Immediate Past District Governor
  • 2012 - 2013 District Governor
  • 2011 - 2012 Lt. Governor Education and Training
  • 2010 - 2011 Lt. Governor Marketing
  • 2009 - 2010 Division Director
  • 2008 - 2009 Division Director
  • 2007 - 2008 Area Director

Toastmasters honors and recognition (international level):

  • 2015 - 2016 Excellence in Education
  • 2012 - 2013 Select Distinguished District
  • 2011 - 2012 Excellence in Education and Training

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

Twenty years of managing multi-year IT contracts and future planning for the IT organization I led. My goal was to evolve the organization with the changing needs of our customers. This is important in how it relates to ensuring Toastmasters continues to rapidly evolve to meet our changing demographic. On the military staff advisory board where I served, we often looked at the demographic of our state and how it compared to our volunteers. Leadership wanted to ensure that the organization reflected those we served. This relates as the demographics (financial, age, geographic) of Toastmasters changes and our organization must adapt to keep up. I also analyzed why people left the organization after a short time and how to better keep them engaged, an experience that could support the Toastmasters organization with retention. This largely relates to the Awareness, Engagement and Participation part of the current strategic plan.

What experience do you have in strategic planning?

As head of the Communications Directorate in the Rhode Island Air National Guard, I developed strategic policies to ensure the state began the path towards CyberDefense of state assets. Everything from water stations, to departments of revenue, to traffic control systems have to be considered. Among my chief strategic concerns was ensuring that the state had a method to secure these needs in a five year plan. This finished product was presented to senior leaders to provide the necessary resources to persuade legislators to fund these initiatives.

What experience do you have in the area of finance?

Developed and executed a multi-year £1.5M budget for a global monitoring organization at my employer dealing with contracts, hardware, software, people and services.

What experience do you have in developing policies?

Part of the strategic planning process I supported in the military was creating new policies that would guide members in achieving the long term goals of the organization. I served on the group dealing with cyber security initiatives, but also worked at large with the team to develop policies outside my particular area of expertise.

What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?

You can’t please everyone. There are occasions where you must put the good of the organization first, so it will be there to serve the membership tomorrow. There are many people that want the best for the organization, but disagree on the plan. Often, disagreements surface over the best way forward. By believing that we all want the best for the organization and working back towards our individual beliefs we build consensus from where we agree, rather than where we don’t. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. All too often, we try to solve “the whole problem” first. Instead, a long term, phased approach with many wins is the best path to enduring success. Finally, leadership is often a function of influence rather than authority. In District leadership as well as my other experiences, much more can be accomplished by influencing a decision others make, rather than dictating the result. People like to make decisions on their own, but being there as a source of experience allows the leader to effect change through others.

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

Deep technology understanding, cross cultural work with teams in Europe and Asia, consensus building and empowerment skills. Also, work at the District has led to a higher than average familiarity with the Policies, Protocol, District and Club Bylaws of Toastmasters.

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

Toastmasters has helped me move ahead to managing large teams and policies in Information Technology by transforming me into an “IT Guy that can talk”! In addition, it has helped me move ahead in my military career. Skills I’ve learned in Toastmasters have led to being selected to lead organizations in my civilian and military life. Subsequently, the experience in generating long term, strategic plans I’ve gained in these opportunities will serve Toastmasters well as we also look to adapt to the changes in our world and better serve the global community of Toastmasters members.

What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?

I have served over 20 years in the United States military as a volunteer Reservist and Guardsman. I have also volunteered for our local town soccer organization as a coach.

Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters?

Most of my board level experience has been working as a staff level advisor for the Rhode Island Air National Guard, advising Generals on the best way to protect the people of the state of Rhode Island.

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

The major objective of Toastmasters is to bring the benefits of the program to as large a group of people as possible. To that end, crafting a message that appeals to both the prospective member as well as the long term member is critical. Providing a continuum of growth for all members to improve their confidence, producing excellent speakers and leaders in their community and the world. This is all about enhancing member achievement. I would achieve this goal by working with the Board to craft a message that first appeals to the new member’s need for confidence by showing how the program achieves that. I would also brainstorm with the Board on how to leverage veteran members to accelerate the growth of our new members in a way to further activate club excellence. Finally, I would survey members on how they see Toastmasters succeeding in their communities. Our members have solutions. We need only ask the right questions.

Additional information about candidate:

Two time District Governor/Director, ten years in District leadership Award winning report in the field of International Security Studies.