Skip to main content

September 2023
View PDF

Julius Howell Jr., CC, CL

By Mary Nesfield

Julius Howell Jr. (left), and Veena B Puttalingaiah

Julius Howell Jr. is a senior manager at American Express in Arizona. He is a member of two clubs in Phoenix, where he mentors several members, helping them become mentors themselves.

Veena B Puttalingaiah, also of Phoenix, met Howell after starting her Toastmasters journey while working as a contractor at American Express. Two months later she was hired as a service delivery manager and now works with Howell.

Tell us about Julius.

Julius is influential and powerfully persuasive. He explains complex ideas clearly and concisely. He shares ideas for manual speeches and mixes honest feedback with words of encouragement. He volunteers at Toastmasters Leadership Institute events. And he tells some funny stories!

From a leadership perspective, he steers his team at work through a maze of change. He listens, addresses the concerns of his staff in a timely manner and drives the right behaviors, even under difficult circumstances.

How has he helped you?

He is a smart observer, patient and persistent in suggesting areas of improvement. Being a non-native English speaker, I faced many challenges and often felt Toastmasters was not for me. But Julius has taught me that it’s never too late to learn.

How has your club experience helped you at work?

My job is to make two teams work as one and stay focused on competing against the clock—not against each other. Previously, I was on one of those teams, and I had to change those team members’ perceptions of me. Toastmasters helped me tackle that task with confidence.

And I am more organized and productive now. By being specific and clear in my communications, I have more time for other activities, including working on my master’s degree in computer science at Colorado Technical University.

Why do you continue on in Toastmasters?

Because it is my happy place. Members are kind—they motivate me to test my limits. We build good memories as we share our experiences and learn together as a team.


Do you know an exceptional mentor who has positively influenced you? Send us a 200-word description and photo (1MB or larger) of you and your mentor.


Learn more about the award-winning publication.

About Magazine

Discover more about the award-winning publication.

Magazine FAQ

Answers to your common magazine questions.


How to submit an article query, photo, or story idea.


Meet the editorial team.