Dana G. Richard
Candidate's Office: International Director
Region Number: 7
Toastmasters member since: 2013
Education: BS International Affairs – US Air Force Academy; Graduate study in Political Science and Sociology – Utah State University; Graduate study in Operational Military Art and Science – US Air Force Air Command and Staff College; MS Strategic Intelligence – National Intelligence University; Graduate study in Strategic Military Art and Science – US Air Force Air War College
Employer and/or position: ICF International/On-Call Program Manager
Served as District Director of District number: 29
Term of service: 2019-2020
In term as District Director, District achieved: DistinguishedWebsite:
Toastmasters offices held and terms of service (international and regional level):
Toastmasters honors and recognition (international level):
- 2018-2019 Excellence in Program Quality
Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a Board Member:
I retired from the US Air Force as a (full) colonel and from federal civil service as the continuity of operations program manager for the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (the US Defense Department’s largest security agency with over 10,000 government civilian and contractor employees) after a combined 37 years of service. While I frequently held formal leadership positions, I just as frequently had to use informal leadership, influence, and collaboration skills to help move the organization forward without any formal positional authority. Both careers, as well as many other positions I held outside of them, required me to work as a member of a team to obtain a consensus to achieve the organization’s mission and goals. I also led teams in developing and supporting effective solutions that served the overall organization’s best interest when the members had conflicting interests. This included decisions regarding allocation of limited resources, resolving conflicting policy perspectives, and developing strategic plans that all component members would buy in to implementing. Our decisions could have significant consequences as they included elements of US National Security policy.
As the Senior Military Advisor for the Human Capital Management Office of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, I was leading projects that affected manpower structures and training frameworks impacting up to 75,000 military intelligence personnel and the allocation of millions of (US) dollars in resources. As the Senior Counterintelligence Advisor and Acting Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Plans, Policies and Programs for the Defense Security Service, my policy, budget and workforce development recommendations impacted the effectiveness of the National Industrial Security Program which applies to over 13,000 industrial facilities and over one million DoD contractors world-wide. This required me to think strategically to develop and implement strategic plans, develop and manage budgets, manage resources, and effectively communicate across multiple levels within organizations from front-line workers through senior executive leaders. It also required me to develop a global perspective that is enhanced by my professional education as well as my BS in International Affairs.
Some of the most rewarding aspects of both careers were centered on training, including program development, oversight, management and governance for technical skills, communication skills, and leadership development and certification. I had much of this background before joining Toastmasters and it is why what we do resonates with me—most of my professional life has been dedicated to developing people and helping them realize their potential.
What experience do you have in strategic planning?
My experience in strategic planning includes the ability to view it from both the perspective of scope and scale based on the size of the organization as a high level organizational perspective and also the perspective of taking the long-view over time for long-term, multi-year planning and programming. From the time I was a young Air Force lieutenant back in the mid-1980s through the retirement from civil service in 2019 I have been in strategic planning roles. This included drafting the Military Annex of the National Intelligence Community Human Capital Strategy defining a workforce of 75,000 with commitments world-wide, continuity of operations planning for the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (the Defense Department’s largest security agency with over 10,000 government civilian and contractor personnel), long-term ministry planning for my church (a multi-year plan for membership growth and ministry administration for a 3,000 member congregation) and business development for my private sector employer. I have conducted strategic planning, implementation, and management as it applies to both public and business administration. I have also taught business intelligence in addition to strategic planning and implementation at the graduate level as a guest lecturer.
What experience do you have in the area of finance?
During both my military and civil service careers I have built and managed multi-million (US) dollar annual budgets as well as multi-year contracts. As an Acting Assistant Director for the Defense Security Service, I was charged with developing, managing and overseeing a (US) 51 million budget for operations, contracting, procurement and training for an organization with operating locations across the US and with a global focus. As a result of managing budgets at multiple levels of multiple organizations I am intimately familiar with the prioritization, identification of funding streams, and trade-offs that are integral to budget and finance. I was also on the Board of Directors and President of my community’s Homeowners Association which required very carefully managing a limited budget to provide services to the community.
What experience do you have in developing policies?
I developed policy for the US government. Prior to assuming duties as the continuity of operations program manager for the US Defense Department’s largest security agency, I was the Acting Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Plans, Policies and Program and a senior policy advisor for the Defense Security Service. Amongst other achievements, I increased the role of counterintelligence for the Defense Industrial Base by getting policy language added to multiple US Department of Defense instructions. I also contributed to the working group that added Insider Threat, as required by a US Presidential Executive Order, to the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (which governs over 13,000 industrial facilities and over one million contractors with security clearances). Immediately prior to that, in one of my last military assignments, I developed and coordinated policy for the entire US military intelligence profession regarding force structure and professional development requirements impacting over 75,000 military personnel. I also wrote the regulation governing the Joint Reserve Intelligence Program which governed the mission and role of a program that manages facilities, IT systems and personnel at US installations in the US, Europe, and Asia. These were culminating points capping years of experience developing and implementing policies for a variety of military, civilian service, ministry and community organizations ranging from small to large and concerning administration, employee relations, security, training and development, operations and other subjects.
What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?
I have learned, and sometimes have had to repeatedly re-learn, many things over the years leading to a personal leadership philosophy that is captured in the points below.
- Build the team before you need it. Teams are built on personal relationships—take the time to build them.
- It is not about me; it is about the team. Take the responsibility for the teams’ failures but give them the credit for the successes.
- Listen to your team members and seek multiple perspectives—every story has more than one side, get all of them before making a decision. But in a crisis if the decision must be made right now—make it, then own it.
- Build people up, believe in them, be there for them.
- It is not a sign of weakness to admit when you are wrong or to change your mind when new facts and changes in the situation warrant it.
- You never lose anything by apologizing—even if it is not your fault.
- Be humble—genuinely humble (false humility is the worst kind of pride).
- Do not be afraid to ask for help.
- Allow people to fail, then help them learn from it.
- Change is inevitable—embrace it.
What experience and key strengths would you bring to the Board of Directors?
While perhaps counterintuitive given a traditional perception of military service, a modern US Air Force officer, especially a senior officer, must develop a global, multi-cultural and multi-generational mindset to be able to prepare for and effectively lead in myriad possible environments and situations. As a result, I have benefitted from extensive professional training and education that helps provide these perspectives. After earning my undergraduate degree in International Affairs, I spent much of my early career as an intelligence analyst becoming familiar with economies, governments, and diverse cultures around the world. I have had the privilege to spend time in and work in the Middle East, the Indian Sub-Continent, Europe, and Latin America, further expanding my global perspective. I believe this will help me both in serving with my fellow board members from other regions as well as appreciating the challenges and opportunities Toastmasters International faces as a global organization and how those challenges, as well as opportunities, can vary from region to region.
My experience working for large organizations with global missions, my collaborative leadership experience, my policy development background, and extensive experience in developing strategic planning will all enable me to support and substantively contribute to the board. I am intimately familiar with organizational governance and the role played by the board. I am also very experienced with training and education, and even more specifically with leadership development, mentoring, coaching, training and educating subordinates and I hope that this expertise may in some small way benefit the entire organization through the contributions I can make to the board.
Why do you want to serve as an International Officer/Director?
I am not done growing as a person and a leader and I continue to seek out opportunities that will help my continued growth while also allowing me to contribute. I will add value to the board through my global perspective, board and budget experience, collaborative team experience, and leadership ability. I hope to bring my experience of developing strategic plans and policies to service on the board to contribute to the Toastmasters mission
The board is a tremendous opportunity to serve and one to which I am ready and willing to dedicate myself. I believe my entire life has prepared me for and led me to this moment. I have lived a life of service and for me, being an International Director is the next chapter in that life of service. I also have a heart for the organization and its mission. I want to see our organization to thrive and prosper, especially in whatever the new normal is after COVID-19.
What volunteer experience do you have outside of Toastmasters?
In addition to being on the Board of Regents of the Association of Certified Knowledge Management Professionals (ACKMP) I was also on the Board of Directors and President of my community’s Homeowners Association. None of these were for-profit organizations but all required an understanding of funding streams and fiscal responsibility and management and a commitment to providing the time and preparation to ensure their success. I also coached my son’s soccer team which required preparation time as well as a commitment to practices and games. I have been fortunate to be able to share my love for music by participating in worship and arts programs at church. I am also a trombonist and have played in community band programs. In the New Horizons Band program in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, I was the low brass section leader. What these have in common with each other and with the Toastmasters International Board of Directors is a commitment to dedicating the time and dedication required to serve the groups’ needs.
Have you worked with other Boards of Directors outside of Toastmasters? If so, describe your experience.
I was a founding member of the Board of Directors (seven members) of the Association of Certified Knowledge Management Professionals, a new training and certification body founded in 2016 that has grown from nothing to over 150 members. I now serve on its Board of Regents (nine members). In both capacities I have served as a principle advisor to ACKMP director and the board on certification programs and organizational governance. I served on the Leadership Advisory Board for The Defense Security Service from 2015 – 2019 and drafted over 50% of the core values and competencies for the agency’s new leadership development program. I also served on the Board of Governors for a Defense Department training academy (2010 - 2019), the Governance Council for a US Defense Department skills certification program (2017-2019) and the Training and Education Council for a US Government career field (2010 - 2015) all of which developed training standards and provided oversight to training and certification programs. I was also on the Board of Directors and President of my community’s Homeowners Association which required managing a limited budget to provide services to the community, developing policies for the community, such as architectural standards and rules for the use of common spaces, and resolving complaints and conflicts. I have gained a great deal of experience in governing bodies and the various roles they can play within organizations and their collaborative natures.
In your opinion, what are Toastmasters International’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?
The Interim Plan 2020 updated three focus areas identified in the 2015 Strategic Plan:
- Club Excellence — “Support all clubs in providing a consistent, quality member experience by delivering on our brand promise: ‘Empowering individuals through personal and professional development.’”
- Member Achievement — “Support members in achieving their personal and professional communication and leadership goals through experiential learning."
- Awareness. Engagement (Awareness, Engagement and Participation in the 2015 Strategic Plan) – "Expand global recognition of Toastmasters International programs to promote engagement, membership, and club growth."
It also adds a fourth:
- Operational Effectiveness – "Create additional value for members, leaders, and stakeholders through standardized tools and processes, resulting in world-class operations."
The 2015 Strategic Plan also assessed several critical factors that impacted the organization including a shift to thinking globally, expansion of mobile accessibility and service the younger generations, and expansion to other markets. Since publication of the 2015 Strategic Plan, Pathways has rolled out, World Headquarters has moved, and we have been impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Interim Plan 2020 reflects this. It also, in my opinion, facilitates the reconstitution process that the organization must undergo at all levels when the pandemic is brought under control. Considering that, I think that achieving greater operation effectiveness is a significant contributor to the other goals. The initiatives included under this goal are good and I support them and will support them and contribute any expertise that may be helpful while working with my fellow board members to implement them.
I would also like to see this goal expanded to include more of the critical factors identified in the 2015 Strategic Plan, especially shifting to thinking globally, which I believe I can provide useful perspectives on, and servicing younger generations. In particular, while there is much media attention on Millennials and the Millennial – Baby Boomer gaps, we need to refocus on Generation X which are mid-career and approaching retirement age and may be looking for volunteer opportunities, and Generation Z (AKA Gen 2020) which is nearing adulthood and entering the workforce as well as, hopefully, entering Toastmasters. It is also worth noting that the older Millennials are also approaching their mid-career points and may be looking for the edge that will allow them to advance more quickly. Since I have a Millennial and two Gen-Zs in my own household I have some appreciation for the differences. Significantly, Toastmasters can help all these generations achieve the goals that most motivate them. I would like to help us better leverage this. Expanding our global view and becoming more effective at cross-generational marketing and outreach could significantly expand membership in both emerging, established and even declining markets. I would like to apply my experience and perspectives to any committees or projects that are focused on doing this and to help the entire organization.
I would like to apply my experience, especially that gained from District 29’s success during the 2019-2020 program year, to help the entire organization, but especially the clubs, reconstitute and find their new normal when we enter the post-COVID-19 environment. It is likely that most clubs will be operating differently than they did before COVID-19 including more online and hybrid meetings and coming out of the pandemic operating environment will likely be much more challenging than going into it was—I am sure I can help develop policies and procedures that can assist in doing this effectively.
Additional information about candidate:
I live in Northern Virginia, part of the greater Washington DC Metro Area, with my wife of 37 years, Bethany and our three adult children—Lex, Athena and d’Art, all of whom are attending college (or at least what passes for “attending” college in the Age of COVID). I have a broad range of interests in addition to Toastmasters. I am an avid photographer which compliments my love of hiking. I also love music and I play guitar, trombone, and piano. Like many college graduates, I maintain a connection to my alma mater, the United States Air Force Academy, as a Life Member of the Association and Graduates. I remain connected to US military affairs through my membership in the Military Officers Association of America and membership in the American Legion. I am an avid reader and I love histories, biographies, and books and articles on leadership and management. As US President Harry S Truman said a few decades ago – “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” And I’ve been known to indulge in some good science fiction books, movies and television series and I’m even willing to admit that I play Dungeons and Dragons (ask me about characters sometime).
I am a member of five Toastmasters Clubs—Speak Up Manassas, Five Shields, Traveling Tastemasters, Leaders Circle, and Talk It Up NG—all located in Northern Virginia (near Washington DC) in the US. I am an officer in four of them, a constant reminder that we are all members first and we need to always put the members first. I have been a charter member of four clubs, sponsored two clubs, mentored two clubs, and coached a club. I am also part of a Toastmasters family as my wife is also a Toastmaster and DTM (we’re actually in three clubs together) and our eldest son is also a Toastmaster.
We, Toastmasters, have undergone several significant changes over the past few years, and that was before the pandemic. “Change is the only constant in life” (attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus among others) and there will undoubtedly be more of it. As leaders, we must embrace change and even be change agents. I am eagerly seeking the opportunity to serve on the Board and do whatever I can to help us navigate change and emerge as a stronger and more vibrant organization—I am asking to be given the opportunity to do that.