Rajdeep Manwani, Ph.D., DTM, is an inspiration for many reasons. At a young age, he lost his eyesight due to macular degeneration, but undeterred, he is now a professor in the department of commerce at Jain University in Bangalore, India. He is also a motivational speaker, trainer, and counselor who has completed three post-graduate degrees and received his doctorate in the field of commerce. Additionally, he has given a TEDx Talk and been the recipient of several awards, including a national award honoring him as a role model for people with disabilities.
However, many of his accomplishments would have been impossible without the guidance, encouragement, and mentorship of Vijay Anand. In 2007, Rajdeep joined the Bangalore Toastmasters club in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. He wanted to release his inner voice. He quickly found a mentor in Vijay, a corporate trainer, executive coach, and seasoned Toastmaster of more than 17 years, who saw great potential in Rajdeep. Vijay actively mentored and supported Rajdeep through his public speaking journey, which included Rajdeep winning speech contests and eventually becoming a Distinguished Toastmaster.
Rajdeep, how has Vijay helped you in your Toastmasters journey?
I am grateful to Vijay for helping me in multiple ways. First, he understood my challenge with accessibility due to macular degeneration. He would go out of the way to come to my house to listen to me practice my speeches. Second, he helped me slow down my speaking rate. Vijay made me mindful of speed and helped me speak at an appropriate rate to ensure the audience was able to understand me. He also gave me invaluable advice in organizing and structuring speeches in the right manner to make a deep impact on my audience.
Which of Vijay’s qualities do you admire the most?
Vijay has this amazing ability to articulate complex and sensitive topics in the most precise and deft manner. He has mastered the art of simplifying key messages. He is a quick and clear thinker. I always look up to him for his sage advice. I also like his amazing sense of humor. There is never a dull moment around him—his zest for life is contagious.
How have Vijay’s methods influenced your own mentor-mentee relationships?
I have taken a systematic approach in helping my mentees to become better speakers and better leaders. I try to be empathetic, understand their needs, and tailor my solutions accordingly. I push them where they need to grow, pat them on the back when they do well, and ensure I am always there whenever they need me.
Nominate your mentor by emailing your story and a photo (1MB or larger) to MentorMoment@toastmasters.org.
LOOKING FOR A MENTOR IN YOUR CLUB?
Ask your vice president education who is available to mentor you. To start a mentoring program in your club, order the Club Mentor Program Kit (Item 1163).
Ganesh Pai is a member of Bangalore Toastmasters Club in Bangalore, India. He is the club’s vice president public relations.