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February 2024
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Jannet Yang

By Mary Nesfield

FROM LEFT: Wikum Hettiarachchi and Jannet Yang

Jannet Yang, ACB, ALB, former president of the Pu Dong Toastmasters club in Shanghai, China, works as a compliance lead for an international electronics company. Her mentee, Wikum Hettiarachchi, CC, ALB, from Sri Lanka, works for Nokia in Shanghai. Wikum met Jannet when a colleague introduced him to the Pu Dong club. Wikum went on to join a second club, Shanghai Imagine Toastmasters, and volunteer as a Pathways Guide and Ambassador.

What is it like to be mentored by Jannet?

Jannet is a calm, quiet person and a beacon of Toastmasters values. Her critical analysis and extensive experience guide me and provide the pillars of my Toastmasters journey. She shares her knowledge of speech development and helps me see the importance of speech structure and a clear message.

Because our cultural backgrounds differ, Jannet sometimes finds it difficult to identify with my personal stories. She takes extra care to embrace the value of my stories as they relate to Sri Lankan culture, and she proposes appropriate adjustments to help my Chinese audience relate to my message.

What have you accomplished because of her?

I was the second runner-up in District 85’s International Speech Contest. And when I was elected club president, she helped me in that role.

What do you value most about Jannet?

Not only did Jannet nurture me as a speaker and leader; she also helped me become more passionate. She planted in me the seeds of confidence, which allow me to handle any situation.

How does that enrich your life?

My perspective has changed in many ways. Sometimes, without realizing it, I use my new skills to empower my colleagues and friends. Last year I introduced five young friends to Toastmasters, and they are thriving. And I even found interesting new ways to talk with my young son. My wife thinks it is a wonderful change!


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