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Communicate. Collaborate. Celebrate.

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LEO REMEMBERING

WE PAY TRIBUTE TO THE LEADER WHO LEFT US BEFORE HIS TIME

05 WHAT IS OUR STORY? DISTRICT DIRECTOR RAVI TEJA ON HOW WE CAN SHAPE THE FUTURE OF OUR DISTRICT

11 11 YEARS. 2800 CLIENTS. 450 CRORES. A FINANCIAL ADVISOR TALKS ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP, INVESTING AND LEADERSHIP 

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ACTION, INTENT, RESPONSE-SHAPE OUR RISE JULY-AUGUST 2018

HOW CULTURE AND VALUES SHAPE THE FUTURE OF OUR ORGANISATION


IN THIS ISSUE

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EDITOR'S NOTE

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DISTRICT DIRECTOR'S NOTE

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COVER STORY

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ASK THE EXPERT

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COMMUNICATE 98 FEATURES

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HUMOR HAS IT

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THE BREAKTHROUGH

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THE TURNING POINT

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THE OPINION PAGE

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IN BRIEF

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UNLEASH

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THE WIRE

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CELEBRATING THE MILESTONES


DISTRICT LEADERSHIP TEAM

DISTRICT 98 OFFICERS (2018-2019)

Top 7 Officers Ravi Teja Marrapu - District Director Venkata Ramana Dittakavi - Program Quality Director Niteash Agarwaal - Club Growth Director Arvind Nair - Immediate Past District Director Ajay Hiraskar - District Administration Manager Alfred Ravi Tauro - District Finance Manager Arjuna Shivangi - District Public Relations Manager Division Directors Dipankar Das - Division A Director Sapna Ohri - Division B Director Seema Rani - Division C Director Kunal Sarpal - Division D Director Gujarati Aajay Kumar - Division E Director Vikram Chandra - Division F Director Pavan Sreedharam - Division G Director Shubhangi Pandey - Division H Director Ravi Sharma - Division M Director Mayank Naidu - Division O Director Umesh Agashe - Division P Director Area Directors - Division A Manish Khanolkar - Area A1 Director Swapnil Nigam - Area A2 Director Jasvinder Bhatti - Area A3 Director Bhushan Sarmandal - Area A4 Director Area Directors - Division B Nishant Mehta - Area B1 Director Aaron Colaco - Area B2 Director Punit Patel - Area B3 Director Hardik Shah - Area B4 Director Mohammed Faraz - Area B5 Director Patrick Pereira - Area B6 Director Area Directors - Division C Ishani Ghosal - Area C1 Director Sujata Kolekar - Area C2 Director

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Sanket Saraf - Area C3 Director Amol Mali - Area C4 Director Harshad Khiera - Area C5 Director Area Directors - Division D Amith Bhanudas - Area D1 Director Rashmi Singh - Area D2 Director Usha Udayshankar - Area D3 Director Amandeep Singh - Area D4 Director Govinda Lalwani - Area D5 Director Area Directors - Division E Shashidhar Babu -Area E1 Director Revathi Mocherla - Area E2 Director Ramakanth Konatham - Area E3 Director Sreekanth Gundu - Area E4 Director Harshita Lalchand - Area E5 Director Area Directors - Division F Sudip Sinha- Area F1 Director Satish Reddy Eadala - Area F2 Director Phani Bhagawan - Area F3 Director Jagjeet Singh - Area F4 Director Area Directors - Division G Rajesh Satyavada - Area G1 Director Sudheer Pithani - Area G2 Director Laxmikanth Sutrave - Area G3 Director Divesh Tiwari - Area G4 Director Area Directors - Division H Indumathy Pinnamaneni - Area H1 Director Joy B Hans - Area H2 Director Pavan Teja Basva - Area H3 Director Mayuri Assudani - Area H4 Director Shashank Arya - Area H5 Director Area Directors - Division M Vinay Kumar Srivastava - Area M1 Director Shankar Nayak - Area M2 Director Vijay Kalke - Area M3 Director Manish Gosalia - Area M4 Director

Meenakshi Prabhu Mhambre - Area M5 Director Haleemunissa Fatima - Area M6 Director Area Directors - Division O Amol Sheogaonkar - Area O1 Director Obed Daruwala - Area O2 Director Akhil Pillai - Area O3 Director Dhiraj Bose - Area O4 Director Area Directors - Division P Hemangini Bhortakke - Area P1 Director Rajiv Pingale - Area P2 Director Rohan Patwardhan - Area P3 Director Himanshu Inamdar - Area P4 Director Administration Team Chidanand Pradhan - District Parliamentarian Vamshikrishna Alladi - District Logistics Manager Moazzam Daimi - District Credentials Chair Program Quality Director Team Trinath Ch - District Chief Judge Dhara Shah - District Training Manager Avaanticka Narayan - Pathways Committee Chair Club Growth Director Team Colin Savio Coelho - Club Extension Team Chair Swapnil Sonawane - Club Retention Team Chair Pramod Mohandas - District Marketing Chair Finance Team Ajit Shah - District Audit Committee Chair Bharat Shah - District Finance Committee Chair Public Relations Team Ruchika Gallani - District Newsletter Editor Aishwarya Vijay - District Communications Chair


EDITOR'S NOTE In addition, we feature an entrepreneur who gives us a glimpse into financial advisory, we take a humorous look at Toastmasters meetings, and also examine how values and culture collectively shape our organisation. It was also a pleasure to share members' stories of travel to other Districts, personal transformation and tenacity in the face of hardship. Lastly, if you want to give your competition a run for their money, do have a look at Ask The Expert for insightful advice about making the most of this contest season.

Around three years ago, I entered a room full of strangers, confused about what to do and scared about what I'd say if someone came up and talked to me. In the hours that followed, I was introduced to a new world that would soon become my second home and strangers who'd soon become friends for life. In the time since, I have given a few speeches, played a few roles, succeeded at a few undertakings and failed at many more. Most importantly, I have gained immense insight and have experienced personal growth that would never have seemed possible otherwise. Life has hardly been the same since I entered that room three years ago. But my story is by no means unique. It is just one of the many hundreds, if not thousands of stories of how this organisation has positively impacted lives. This year it is my privilege to share with you some of these stories, and my hope that you will share with us your story too. In this issue's Cover Story, we pay tribute to one of District 98's most beloved leaders, who left us far too soon, but whose legacy shall live on. Thereafter, our District Director Ravi Teja tells us how each one of us can set goals and to contribute to shape the story of our District.

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No endeavour of this magnitude would be possible without the dedicated efforts of the team, and for that I extend my deepest gratitude to them. As the year goes on, it is my hope that this newsletter will continue to inform, entertain and inspire you, and will reach farther and wider than it has before. I leave you with a quote that Toastmaster Leo himself would have said, "Let's make 'awesomeness' happen!" -Ruchika Gallani


DISTRICT DIRECTOR'S NOTE

WHAT IS OUR STORY?

DISTINGUISHED TOASTMASTER RAVI TEJA MARRAPU | DISTRICT DIRECTOR

What is our story as a Club? What is our story as a District? Does our story resemble a boring daily serial, an exciting Tom Cruise movie, or an edge-of-the-seat thriller where we don’t know what’s going to happen next? What’s our story and who scripts it? We have been a President’s Distinguished District right from our inception, we have received accolades this year for chartering the maximum number of clubs in the world, and our quality of members has put us once in the WCPS finals. Over the last three years, we have together celebrated many such achievements, but is this what should define us? We should set goals that will help each member in our club achieve their own goals. A member would achieve his goals if he comes to club meetings, prepares for his projects, gets his projects evaluated, evaluates different aspects of a speech, takes part in leading a club meeting, feels motivated to lead the club and pays his dues. If he feels he needs help, a Club Officer helps him by having a productive conversation. The Club Officer adds new members to freshen the club and keep it vibrant, he helps to ensure smooth functioning of the club by helping it adhere to and implement decisions that are taken together as a team and ensures that there is a safe atmosphere for everybody to fail but to come back better every time. A District Officer, in this case an Area Director, would help the Club Officers get trained in understanding what makes their clubs work, how to have those conversations and educates them in the tools available to do their job. The rest of the District and Toastmasters International structure should focus on making this system work.

impossible. Today, thanks to the past leaders, we have all the resources to make this happen. I am proud of all my District Leaders who are ready to share this vision and attempt to the best of their ability to bring this to reality. In this journey to create our story as a District we will face a lot of challenges, some of them are very tough and difficult to walk past. The toughest challenge for all of us came in the loss of our dear friend Toastmaster Leo. A Friend, A Leader, A Guide and A Mentor – Leo is different for each of us, through him we have endured many challenges, celebrated many victories and planned for a stronger future. To not have him with us, is not only very tough but very painful. I am sure as he sees us from the heavens, he would be happy to see that his Toastmasters community stood by him through his final journey and will be proud that he is part of a community which has made a difference to many lives. I am grateful for all the members who came together during these tough times and stood by each other and more importantly by Leo’s family. We shall continue to get inspiration from Leo and remember him in all our victories and celebrations. My dear friends, I believe our story as a District should be the story of a Toastmaster who is relentless in the pursuit of excellence and continuous improvement. A Toastmaster who has seen a difference, not in numbers which bring him accolades, but in statistics that would help realise the Toastmasters International Envisioned Future – “To be the firstchoice provider of dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership skills development.” I am interested to shape this story, are you ?

The result of creating such a District structure and functioning would lead to all the clubs becoming atleast Distinguished, all of them having atleast 20 members and all of them fulfilling their administrative responsibilities. That should be our goal. A goal is only impossible if you don’t know how to achieve it, but if we can work out a way to achieve it, that no longer remains

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Edited and compiled by Ruchika

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COVER STORY Toastmaster Prabhu Raut, his friend and founder of TMCP-SE, says, "He had the unique quality of being able to establish a personal connection with anyone he met. Once he met someone, they would always remember him. " In 2014, he made up his mind to go beyond the club to effect a greater change and to share the benefits of Toastmasters across the larger community. He was appointed as Area Governor for Area E5 under District 41, where he handled 5 clubs and added 3 new clubs in his Area, achieving the title of President’s Distinguished Area. Then in 2015, he was elected a Division Director in the newly formed District 98 and went on to open the largest number of clubs in the District during his tenure. “Even as he went beyond the club as an Area Governor and Division Director, he never forgot about his home club and the people he had encountered along the way." reminisces Toastmaster Prabhu, adding that he used to regularly visit the club for all its small and big occasions and was always there to lift the club’s morale.

REMEMBERING LEO 23rd July, 2018 saw day break with news that created waves of shock throughout not just District 98, but a significant part of the larger Toastmasters community. Distinguished Toastmaster Leo Paulose, one of our most beloved leaders, was no more. In the days that followed, people across the District came together to express their sorrow, pay their respects and express their gratitude in numerous ways. While we are still reeling from that shock, we wanted to pay our tribute by exploring some of the ways in which he touched the organisation and people’s lives, through anecdotes and memories shared by those close to him. Leo joined Toastmasters in 2012, as a member of Toastmasters Club of Pune-South East (TMCP-SE). He began his leadership journey as Sergeant-At-Arms of the club, and went on to become the Vice-President Education and President, winning the coveted Golden Gavel Award in the year 2013. During his tenure, he would personally connect with people and invite them to visit the club, due to which TMCP-SE became a very popular club in that area.

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But his involvement wasn't just restricted to his home club and the club he helped charter at Amdocs, he was also extensively involved in the Gavel's movement, something that he helped to initiate in Pune. "When I had just dreamt of a Gavels Club in Pune, around 4 years ago, I was introduced to a young Toastmaster by the name of Leo Paulose. As I shared my vision with him, I could see his excitement growing and as I finished my purpose of meeting, that vision became a shared one with shared enthusiasm and a promise of continuous support from the Toastmasters fraternity." says Toastmaster Shweta Saraf, who worked closely with him to initiate the movement.


COVER STORY He always had something to enhance the skills of the Gaveliers. It was his suggestion to host speech contests for the growth of leadership qualities in the children. The first contest saw them taking up various roles with a lot of practice and perfection. “He suggested that the second contest should be more powerful and we reached out to a larger crowd. We received overwhelming support from Toastmasters as well as citizens which gave us the courage to expand it to a city level in its third edition.” she adds.

He was extremely excited to see the kids completing their Competent Communicator and Competent Leader titles, and when they could not continue with Advanced manuals, he encouraged them to seek permission from Toastmasters International, so that they could go ahead in their educational journey. But he wasn’t just encouraging, he also pushed the children to improve and become better, sometimes asking them to repeat a speech if it wasn’t up to par. He also taught them the importance of fair and unbiased voting in the club meetings. “I remember when the children earlier voted for their friends in various roles, Leo took the decision to stop taking votes from them for a few meetings. Later on, he emphasised to them the need for correct voting to encourage the right people. This proved to be a turning point and helped raise the bar for their performance in the weekly meetings.” Once, he decided to give stage time to those Gaveliers in the Officers’ Training Program who really worked with their mentees and helped them become better. This helped the kids to focus properly on the mentor-mentee programme. The children of the Gavels club have been under Leo's direct mentorship throughout and have received laurels for their work in all spheres of life. "Words fail to express the gratitude for all that he has contributed. I will always remain indebted for all his support to bring the Gavels club to its new height." In 2016, Leo led the first ever Annual District Conference of District 98 - Eloquence. The event witnessed a record attendance of 360+ delegates from across the District and beyond it. Toastmaster Akshay Chillal, a member of the Program Committee for the conference, speaks of his experience working with Leo during the event, “It was my first time planning for such a big, 3 day event. I had to plan the entire program agenda, identify role players, co-ordinate with everyone and ensure smooth execution of all the events on time. I felt that it was one of the most challenging and critical roles and needed mentoring, guidance and consistent support. " Leo helped him review and modify the program agenda thoroughly. “There were many small changes which had to be done at the last minute, so I used to bother him whenever I had a doubt, at times calling him at 4am to take his

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COVER STORY inputs.” Before the last week of the conference, they would work every night after 11pm till 4am in the morning just to ensure that everything was ready in time for the mega event. “It was one of the most memorable moments of my life and a wonderful learning experience. I got several insights from him in terms of program management, handling people's queries with patience, respecting opinions from core committee members and also appreciating the time given by each and every role player. After that event, we were close buddies and he became a role-model whom I admired a lot." It was at the same conference that Leo contested for the first time for the office of Club Growth Director. Even after losing the election, he carried himself with grace and never seemed sad. He was seen just an hour later, dressed as a clown and dancing on stage at the end of the conference. He did win the election the subsequent year with an overwhelming majority, and went on to serve as Club Growth Director, helping to open the largest number of clubs in the world, making District 98 one of the fastest growing Districts. Toastmaster Prabhu shares another instance of Leo's vision for the District. "As a Pathways Guide, I was part of a Pathways Guides group. After the initial 6 months were over and people began leaving the group, Leo left a comment on it, saying that since it consisted of the core group of people who launched Pathways in the District, they were a reservoir of knowledge." He suggested that they refrain from dissolving the group immediately and continue it for another year. "This was a prime example of how he was a visionary thinker. He would look at something, understand its relevance and think about how it could be used in future." Leo’s growth in Toastmasters was rapid, and his impact was far-reaching, which TM Prabhu alludes was due to his strong will and dedication to the movement. "He was addicted to Toastmasters. People would tease him, asking him whether he worked for Amdocs or for Toastmasters," he says, adding that, "I would like to remember Leo as someone who although wasn't here for very long, but while he was here, lived life king size." Indeed, though he may not be here anymore, his service, his dedication, and his personality inspired many and touched many more. It is through these, that his contributions, his memory and his legacy live on.

Edited and compiled by Ruchika

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ASK THE EXPERT TOASTMASTER NIKHIL SALVI HUMOROUS SPEECH CONTEST WINNER 2017

TOASTMASTER PRAMOD MOHANDAS EVALUATION CONTEST WINNER 2017

Should there be a message for the audience in a humorous speech? If yes, how important is it? Is it fine if the speaker just makes a point ? Toastmaster G.M.Subramanyam, TCS Maitree Toastmasters Club, Mumbai Should a humorous speech necessarily have some message? To what extent can one push it? Should the message be apparent and explained explicitly as done in the International Speech Contest, or should it be injected through humour indirectly? Toastmaster Santosh Akella, Agnel Toastmasters Club Most humorous speech topics do not necessarily have a message. If the topic has an inbuilt message then you may highlight it somewhere in the speech, but do not forcefully fit or attach a message to the speech. If I recollect, even the judging ballot does not have a specific recommended allocation of marks to 'message' (in both Humorous Speech Contest and International Speech Contest). Can a humorous speech have some emotions too? Toastmaster B.R. Vivek, Mahindra Toastmasters Club Various emotions entertain us in various ways - from humour to drama to tragedy. Some variety of emotions in a humorous speech could be added, if they can be naturally incorporated in the speech. But I suggest it’s best to keep the mood light, since its a Humorous Speech Contest, and not an entertaining speech contest. What do I need to keep in mind before I start drafting humorous speeches? Toastmaster Deepak N. Pahalajani, Mumbai Toastmasters Here are some suggestions:1. Choose a topic that has good potential. By potential, I mean a topic that can generate humour in various ways such that you generate laughter several times in a 5 to 7 minute speech (in the opening, body and ending of the speech). 2. Draft the speech and rework it, making additions/deletions to improve the speech content. Reworking the draft, especially at every level generally helps. 3. Please note that you need to consider the audience's time spent laughing during your speech. A short laughter will last 2 to 3 seconds, long laughter 4 to 6 seconds, an applause may last longer. Aim to have a speech that will time around 5 to 5.30 minutes in a dry rehearsal (without the audience's laughter) so that including laughter you will still finish in time. 4. If the audience doesn't laugh at the expected places, don't let it worry you and carry on with the speech. Not every punchline works with every audience. How to take notes to deliver the best possible Evaluation? Toastmaster Vaibhav Pathrikar, Toastmasters Club of Baroda

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ASK THE EXPERT Before the speech - Prepare a template to take notes while observing the speech. - Base the template on the key points you wish to observe. E.g. Content (Purpose, Structure, Examples, Rhetorical devices etc.) During the speech - Observe but also look to enjoy the speech as you may not want to miss the essence of what is being delivered. - Note down in bullet points instead of in long sentences. Elaborate these points later. After the speech - Elaborate your bullet points. - Avoid creating a clutter while making the final draft of the notes. It will help you easily find points while delivering the Evaluation. - Underline any point you want to stress on as it will be easily found with a glance on stage Note - Using notes while delivering Evaluations is perfectly fine and has no bearing on the judges ballot. The best Evaluations are also great speeches in themselves, but then at times, I forget what the recommendations were because I feel that the way the Evaluator spoke was too good. I'm mesmerised by the Evaluation, but I'm not so sure about the usefulness of the Evaluation for me as a speaker. Do you feel that this is a dilemma? If yes, how would you address it? Toastmaster Atul Kotagal, Toastmasters Club of Pune As speakers, we may naturally tend to try and mesmerise the audience. Hence, a lot of us have your dilemma. I believe that a good speaker/speech may overwhelm the audience but a great speaker/speech always delivers value. Evaluation is a platform to practice delivering great value via our time on stage. Logical analysis of the speech, sharp articulation and simple structure helps you provide value with your Evaluation, which in turn improves your confidence in delivery. At the end of the day you don't just sound confident but also deliver value. So, the next time you hear someone compare a speech to a rainbow, check if there was much sunshine in the Evaluation! Generally many Evaluators tend to rush during the summary. How would you suggest for an effective summary to end the Evaluation? Toastmaster Abhishek Shukla, Quest Toastmasters, Hyderabad Clearly noted bullet points on your Evaluation sheet is the quickest and the most efficient way to summarise your Evaluation. To create an added impact you can positively conclude with a reference to the speaker or the speech in no more than 10 words. In the Evaluation Contest, how important is the way the Evaluation is delivered in terms of voice modulation, pace, use of stage space, body language etc.? How much weightage do these things have compared to the observations made about the speech and the structure of the Evaluation? Toastmaster Obed Daruwala, Toastmasters Club of Pune South Vocal variety and Body Language are not explicitly factored in the Evaluation Contest ballot. Instead, they play a key role in some other parameters that are observed. For example, an amply audible voice helps to clearly present the Analysis, a humble tone helps to portray the Evaluation as Positive and Technique as sympathetic. Optimal (not overwhelming) body language makes the Evaluator appear focused, and simple hand gestures can be used to motivate. Note- Stage usage is something that has little to no impact on the Evaluation Contest Ballot. Leave your feedback on the article HERE. It could be featured in Letters to the Editor!

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COMMUNICATE 98 FEATURES

11 YEARS. 2800 CLIENTS. 450 CRORES.

GAJENDRA KOTHARI | MD & CEO, ETICA WEALTH MANAGEMENT

Gajendra Kothari wanted to make it big on his own. He could have led an easy and comfortable life by entering his family business or continuing with his job. However, he had something else on his mind. While working with UTI Mutual Fund, he saw a lack of proper communication between financial institutions and investors. To bridge this gap and to help people reach their financial goals, he took the plunge and became an independent financial advisor. He has established an advisory firm, Etica Wealth, where he and his 25member team manage assets worth Rs.450 crore from over 2800 clients. He also appears in various mutual fund shows and answers mutual fund queries on many national dailies. What inspired you to take financial advisory as a profession? I ventured into this profession by chance. I did my MBA from Delhi’s International Management Institute. After that, I started working with UTI Mutual Fund and went ahead to head UTI’s business development in the UK and European markets for three years. I worked at UTI Mutual Fund for a total of seven years, but I always had the itch to become an entrepreneur. During my tenure at UTI MF, I came face to face with disgruntled investors. There were a lot of gaps in communication. When I interacted with these investors, I was able to change their mood. I would come up with

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talking points that could hold their attention. After the interaction, they would heed to my investment suggestions. I realised that I fit in the business-toconsumer space better than the business-to-business segment where I was. The number of educated and employed people are going up. At the same time, the level of financial awareness is not growing at the same pace. Where are we going wrong? While all other subjects are taught in schools and colleges, financial education has not found its place in our present educational setup. Even MBA students are not aware of the basics of personal finance. As youngsters are not aware of investment avenues, they go to their parents, who in turn put the money in Fixed Deposits and other traditional forms of savings. Therefore, we need to educate the parents as well as the youngsters. Every organisation can have a financial planning section as a part of their induction program so that they start investing from the first month onward. We need to have investor awareness programs for youngsters and make them realise that investing is necessary and easy as well. How do you make investing easy to understand for a person with no background in finance, especially while conducting investor awareness programs? We make sure that our conversations do not have any financial jargon. We have seen that people understand investing and take an interest in it if we include real


COMMUNICATE 98 FEATURES

success stories of others or ourselves. We also make it interesting with the help of videos. Personal finance is more about people than finance. We ask them about their goals, why they want to invest, and for how long they want to invest. We listen to the problems that they are facing. Thus, it becomes easier to hold our clients’ attention that could have fizzled out if we had talked about finance or products. Proper interpersonal communication is very important in your business. How did you master this skill ? I learnt it through experience. As time passed, I understood what works and what doesn't. I tried different strategies and fine-tuned the strategies that ultimately worked for me.

I think our major accomplishments will be coming in the next 10 years. It is when we will see that the goals of our clients are coming true. Around this time, my clients will be able to send their kids to the best universities in the world or buy their dream houses. My clients’ goals determine my success, and not the amount of money that I manage. I have learnt a lot on this journey. I have learnt to keep taking risks in life. I believe that leading a normal and comfortable life is not enough. Life should be fulfilling. To lead a fulfilling life, you have to take risks and challenges to try out new things. Some will work and some won’t. At least you won’t regret that you didn’t try. Edited and compiled by Padmaja

In this business, it is important to talk about tangible assets that clients can visualise instead of talking about fund returns. You have been heading Etica Wealth for nearly 11 years. The firm has grown magnificently in these years. How have you grown as a leader during this time? What according to you makes a great leader? It has been quite a journey. I think the role of a leader is to see that all the team members are on the same page as you are in terms of goals. They should be empowered to make take basic decisions on their own. You should give them the freedom to do what they want to. Give them authority and responsibility, so that they feel like entrepreneurs in their own way. What are some of your major accomplishments and lessons learnt during this time?

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HUMOUR HAS IT

MASTER CHEF, OR MASTER OF THE TOAST?

TOASTMASTER JERVIS PEREIRA | MAPUSA TOASTMASTERS CLUB

Has anyone ever asked you if Toastmasters was all about food and drink? And have you replied with a big, emphatic “No”? I beg to differ. Being a Master of the Toast is akin to being a Master Chef.

being an Ah Counter was like making sure the moong filling was just right for your golgappa. So watch out for the grainy bits in speeches; undercooked and it gets too grainy. Unenjoyable.

Let me explain.

Around this time I was ready to dig into the main course—give my first speech. I had the plan, my ingredients were laid out, and although I had made this dish many times, I didn’t quite know how to make it for others. Would they like it? Would they find it too spicy? Or worse, what if they found a hair in the dish? That’s the reason I shaved myself bald.

It was the year 2010. It all began like a tantalising aperitif. She beckoned me to come in, politely shook my hand, made me comfortable and sat me down. I was settling in for a good time. But pretty soon it was all over. I was stunned. It was everything that I hoped it would be, and more. And more was what I wanted. So I came back. Later I found out that it wasn’t my charm that allured her, she was just the Toastmaster of the Day. But I was already Micky D’ing. And Loving it. At our next meeting, Mario, the Table Topics Master, made it look like a breeze. The tiny slip of paper between his fingers morphed into a crispy wafer with soy sauce like markings on one side. As he cocked his head to one side, out came the words, each second drawing me closer and closer to his concept, his ideas and his talk. Clearly Mario was savouring his favourite snack. It wasn’t just what he said, it was how it said it. And like a packet of Lays, I couldn’t have just one. “Encore! Encore!” I yelled, clapping in ecstatic applause. But the stern looking bouncer, I think he’s called the Sergeant-AtArms, shushed me. Pretty soon, I found myself handling that little thing that drives clubbers crazy—the timing device. Everything has to be fried, er timed, just right. Like when cooking an uttapam, too soon and it's undercooked, too much and it becomes an oversized papad. “Nay, it has to be done just right,” That’s what my mentor told me to explain the timing roll, er role. She also related that

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The club President helped me with this dish. “Create fillets, slice each layer lightly, douse them in the sauce. Now, turn up the heat. Neither too high nor too low, you learnt that while making uttapams. Let each layer release its juice. Watch as they infuse the dish with their own special flavour. Now flip it and let it cook all the way through. But you are not done yet. Presentation is everything. Sprinkle the garnish and allow the aroma to sink in. That’s what makes a dish truly enjoyable.” That day, I didn’t give a speech. Rather, I served a meal. In return, I earned a sandwich during my Evaluation. Toastmasters isn’t just a speaking club, it’s the street side fast food that you crave, it’s the café where you hang out with your friends, and sometimes, it’s the delectable gourmet dish that you serve with a dash of cilantro. Master Chef or Master of the Toast, it is how you serve the dish that matters.

Edited and compiled by Sridevi

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THE BREAKTHROUGH

STEPPING STONES TO SUCCESS

TOASTMATER VIBHA PANDEY | BIBVEWADI TOASTMASTERS CLUB

In May 2017, I had just completed my Competent Communicator manual and was searching for a community club where I could kick-start my Advanced Communication journey. After attending 4-5 demo meetings, I joined Bibvewadi Toastmasters Club as a charter member.

President Education. Toastmaster Deepak Baldawa worked with Toastmaster Rashmi to build a rapport with guests and convert them into members. They worked together to reach out to the guests after meetings and invite them to the next meeting on a one-to-one level.

The first phase of this club, just after its installation, was the best time all the members had. They were motivated and their enthusiasm made up for their lack of experience. President Toastmaster Sagar Agarwal’s continuous patronage and VicePresident Education Toastmaster Rekha Bafna’s mentorship kept the momentum going.

The Membership Campaign jointly conducted by Toastmaster Rashmi, the Public Relations Team of the club along with Toastmaster Jayant Kelkar reaped benefits and the club saw a great turn around of members in the very second term of its charter. Soon, our quality meetings made waves in the Pune fraternity, and the club saw many awards and achievements in its second term.

Gradually the club moved into its next phase. This was all about the expansion of club. This was where we lost our momentum. The Public Relations department of the Club was getting hampered. The Public Relations department of a club is responsible for coordinating an active publicity program to increase awareness of Toastmasters through local news and social media. This essential element fizzled out from the club. Due to this, word stopped going out about our meetings and our membership began to dwindle. Members left but very few got inducted and we began to suffer from a membership deficiency. We were unable to maintain a quorum at any given point of time, which was very important for our club's quality and survival. Soon, we became unsure about the future of our club. Meanwhile, the next term of the club was about to begin. The outgoing Executive Committee was looking for a new set of leaders and the hunt for a President ended with Toastmaster Rashmi Singh accepting the roles and responsibilities for the office. It’s said that with great power comes great responsibility. Toastmaster Rashmi took charge from day one. She made sure that the members of the Executive Committee were on the same page and were aware about their responsibilities. She built a strong connection with the Public Relations and Membership teams. Toastmaster Rekha continued with the office of Vice-

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We also received strong support from the Pune Toastmasters fraternity and the club mentors, who worked with the members to focus on the individual as well as the club’s overall success and growth. Contrary to what new members thought or felt, most veteran Toastmasters proved to be of great support and encouraged us to succeed. Even if we came up on stage shaking and nervous, they kept encouraging us as individuals and as a club together. Without their immense assistance and support, this breakthrough could not have been possible. Teamwork is what helped us go from a club with a membership deficiency to one with a sustainable membership, and it is what makes Bibvewadi Toastmasters Club continue to thrive to this day. The only thing we should remember is that even though the burn of defeat can be traumatizing, failure is one of the most valuable stepping-stones that there is for developing greatness. Failure breeds success. You have to lose to win. This breakthrough of highly significant improvement in quality and quantity was made possible only through consistent, focused and synergistic efforts of the Club and its leadership. Edited and compiled by Shreya Leave your feedback on the article HERE. It could be featured in Letters to the Editor!


THE TURNING POINT

HOW TOASTMASTERS HAS CHANGED ME

TOASTMASTER MUKUL SHARMA | MULUND TOASTMASTERS CLUB

It was the month of April 2016. I was searching for a place to learn public speaking skills. For some months, I was in search of a book or place where this was taught. I had been scouring bookshops and though I did get a few good books, I could not improve much on this ability. While searching on the internet, I came across Mulund Toastmasters Club. I hesitantly visited the club and tried to understand what Toastmasters is all about. As the meeting progressed, I felt happy clapping away as each speaker completed his speech. When I was called onto the stage for Table Topics, I fumbled while gathering my thoughts but somehow could enjoy the limelight. Then, I took the decision of becoming a Toastmaster! Now two years into Toastmasters, I have become an Executive Committee member, participated in club contests, been a buddy for different Executive Committee roles, and have been a Contest Judge too. So what has changed in me? My fluency while speaking in front of an audience has improved dramatically. In the past, I was not able to speak with my overseas customers on the phone and in the office. I used to be at a loss for words and could not recollect any subject to talk about. But after becoming a Toastmaster, I can eloquently talk with my customers and speak about any subject under the sun. By regularly contributing articles to our club magazine, ‘Synergy’, my ability to draft letters has improved. This was also noted by my company Director on numerous occasions, much to my delight. My Director is very miserly about praise, and to hear such words from him pushed my confidence sky high!

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Things have changed for the better. In August 2017, I was appointed as a teacher to help children learn Anapana meditation, the initial part of Vipassana meditation. The confidence that I got from Toastmasters helped me address the children easily. Children are tougher to handle than adults and are very observant of any mistakes made by teachers. But while sitting on the seat of the conducting teacher, I did not feel nervous or hesitant while giving instructions to them. The various tips of Evaluators at Toastmasters meetings came in handy. Eye contact and gestures came easily to me and at the right time. Now, when I conduct the course, it feels as if I am giving a Toastmasters speech to the audience with appropriate vocal modulations, hand gestures and pauses too! Toastmasters has also inculcated the reading habit in me. I have subscribed to Reader's Digest after many years! This gave me fond memories of the stories that I used to read many years back in this magazine. The turning point for me was when my Director appointed me as an Export Manager in the company in September 2017! Toastmasters has changed my life. Earlier, speaking to anyone for even two minutes was an uphill task but with the confidence that I acquired here, I am absolutely comfortable with anyone now. Overall, being a Toastmaster has not only made me an eloquent speaker but has also made me financially stronger. Edited and compiled by Supriya Leave your feedback on the article HERE. It could be featured in Letters to the Editor!


THE OPINION PAGE

ACTION, INTENT, RESPONSE-SHAPE OUR RISE

TOASTMASTER SHIJIN SREERAMAN | MULUND TOASTMASTERS CLUB

An organisation embarks on a path of rise with a good culture; with a bad culture it declines. It all depends on the culture the leaders of the organisation are promoting in their day-to-day interactions. I have always seen District 98 as a group which upholds a strong culture of innovation, quality and excellence. What has fostered this culture is nothing but the quality of A.I.R. (Action, Intent and Response) demonstrated by each member. Every component in A.I.R. is critical for triggering a cultural wave in an institution. Leadership is the primary medium through which culture spreads its roots in an organisation. Let us examine how each component of A.I.R. contributes in promoting or triggering a cultural shift in an organisation’s progress. Action adds credibility to a leader’s vision and strategy. But these actions are not just limited to strategies, they also have a deeper influence on the day-to-day interactions within the team. Let us take a hypothetical example. Imagine a leader (club President) entering a meeting later than the scheduled time. What impact does it have on the team and the club? These consistently delayed arrivals can create a feeling among the members stating that, 'it is okay to be late'. This feeling leads to an imitation of behaviour, because culture is all about imitating leadership behaviours. This attitude further percolates into the cultural framework of an organisation. Slowly the organisation’s culture promotes late arrivals and approves late

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schedules. What impact will this have on the overall quality of the meeting? What message as an institution are we driving home to our members and guests who attend a Toastmasters meeting where two of the values are service and excellence? Can any club or group survive if its value system is broken? Response can be verbal or non-verbal. Every response of yours can reinforce a good culture or can trigger the emergence of a new culture. Imagine a situation where the leadership is asked to respond to club related concerns and membership queries, but they choose not to respond. What impact will it have on the members and the club? Slowly, this behaviour will seep into the cultural framework of the organisation. New members might consider not responding as normal. This can hamper the member experience and eventually the 'respect' quotient of the organisation. Slowly this culture of insensitivity and disrespect towards peers and processes will start to emerge within the club and ultimately hamper the ecosystem and overall sustenance of the institution. Respect is one of the prime values of Toastmasters and can any club survive if it breaks the value system? Intent is not visible but cannot be hidden. It manifests in the form of outcomes. Imagine a hypothetical situation, where the leadership intends to disengage non-performers and replace them with new members


THE OPINION PAGE who have the potential to contribute on a consistent qualitative basis. Here the intent of getting a good, committed team is right, but the catch lies in the way it is communicated to the organisation. The major challenge of the leadership team is communicating the intent. It is very easy to misjudge intent and then the entire organisation spirals into a negative cultural wave. Now the question is, how do we communicate our intent and align it with our actions and response? Remember, a leader not only needs to communicate, but before that needs to ratify the same with oneself and the team. One of the ways is to ask questions that identify the very purpose of making the crucial move, such as, 'Why do I want to replace the non-performers? What will happen if they remain? Will it help sustain the organisation and preserve the right culture? More importantly, am I addressing the person or the problem?' The answers to these questions define the Integrity of our action. Integrity is one of the prime values of Toastmasters and can any club survive if there is a breakage in its value system? Everyone at a Toastmasters club is a leader and it is a place where leaders for tomorrow are made. It is imperative that we select our Actions, Intent and Response by understanding that it is going to have an impact on the way our organisation is perceived internally and externally. Every Action, Intent and Response is a brick in the huge wall of culture which an organisation will build to surround its existence. How we act, what we intend and how we choose to respond will determine the strength of the wall that we are building. How strong is the brick that you are contributing to construct the cultural wall of your organisation?

Edited by Sridevi, compiled by Ruchika

Leave your feedback on the article HERE. It could be featured in Letters to the Editor!

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IN BRIEF Members share their experiences visiting clubs in Districts across India and the world!

DIFFERENT CITY, SAME COMMUNITY

TOASTMASTER VIKREM RAJAGOPAL | VADODARA TOASTMASTERS CLUB

New Delhi is the place to be if you want to socialise, but my official duties kept me so busy that I could not find any time for it. Finally free on a Saturday afternoon, all my colleagues were excitedly searching for the best places to socialise. I searched for ‘Toastmasters near me’ on Google. When I contacted the Vice-President Membership of South Delhi Toastmasters club, the voice on the other side was very warm and welcoming. “Please reach the venue 15 minutes early because we start meetings on time,” was the standard dialogue which I used to tell my cold callers. However, this time it was repeated to me as well. My first Toastmasters meeting after I was elected the President was in this club rather than at my home club in Vadodara. When I attended the meeting, I had the same feeling I get every Sunday in my home club. They were meeting for the 633rd time. The one I attended was the first for the new Executive Committee with Pathways enrolled. There was a gentleman who was attending his 633rd meeting in 16 years of his continuous membership in the club. In my club we always applaud softly when a speaker utters the ‘Word of the Day’, but in this club, they showed the thumbs up sign, which was unique to me. The meeting was such an eventful one with Pathways and Advanced speeches that I returned to the guest house with a greater high than my colleagues who went to other places to get high! A Toastmaster is always a Toastmaster, not just in their home club but in every club across the world. Edited by Padmaja, compiled by Bharat

A VISIT TO TOASTMASTERS CLUBS IN CALIFORNIA

TOASTMASTER DHARMVEER GUPTA | MUMBAI TOASTMASTERS

I had travelled to Milpitas (a suburb of San Francisco) in August for official work. It gave me an opportunity to visit and participate in meetings of Toastmasters club in that part of the globe. I searched for nearby clubs using ‘Find a Club’ and narrowed down on a few based on suitable timings. I visited the following clubs in the Bay Area:Trident Toastmasters Club (District 27, Area D41) Milpitas Toastmasters Club (District 101, Area C6) North Valley Toastmasters (District 101, Area C3) ArtICCulators Club (District 101, Area C6) Top of the Hill Toastmasters Club (District 57, Area A2) Toastmasters clubs in the Bay Area have relatively fewer members, generally between 20-30 members and they work as a close-knit family. They have members across all races, colours, genders and linguistic origins. Largely, they follow the same format of a meeting – first prepared speeches, then Table Topics followed by Evaluations with

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IN BRIEF some minor tweaking. Few clubs have Table Topics first and few others publicise ‘Idiom of the Day’ along with ‘Word of the Day’ to be used by speakers. A couple of fun-loving clubs also enjoy ‘Joke of the Day’ when ballot counting takes place. Members of Toastmasters clubs in the Bay Area are very supportive and encourage each other just like we do. They were excited to know that someone from a faraway place (Mumbai, India) is visiting them and were very keen to know more about Toastmasters meetings in India. Few clubs offered me roles and some even encouraged me to give prepared speeches. I grabbed the opportunity and gave a speech in one club and played the role of Table Topics master in another one. I was awarded a ribbon for First Time Speaker in one club (ArtICCulators Club) and Best Speaker in another club (Milpitas Toastmasters Club). It was great opportunity to visit Toastmasters clubs in the Bay Area of California and meet fellow Toastmasters from diverse backgrounds. Edited by Padmaja, compiled by Pooja

ATTENDING A SESSION OF INDIA’S FIRST CLUB

DISTINGUISHED TOASTMASTER SHAIKH SHAKIL ANJUM | TOASTMASTERS CLUB OF PUNE SOUTH

I have been in Toastmasters for more than 11 years in District 79. During my vacations, I used to attend sessions in District 98 in India and District 20 in Bahrain. But this time on my visit to Bangalore, I was privileged to attend a session in District 92. India's first club, Garden City Toastmasters Club, was chartered on 9th September 1992 by Distinguished Toastmaster Subramaniam S. Chittur. I was indeed lucky to get a speech slot, thanks to our Past Division F Governor from District 79, who also happened to be in Bangalore. I was privileged to meet Distinguished Toastmaster Ramlal Siman, the second DTM from this club (2002), while DTM Vivek Kamath was the first one to complete it in 2001. All these leaders are still around and associated with the club. The club went on to produce many more Distinguished Toastmasters and spawn many clubs in India, we can call it the mother club of Toastmasters in India. At present we have Distinguished Toastmaster Askander Mirza as its President. I was astonished to see the members’ enthusiasm, energy and eagerness to support each other and learn. They liked my speech and also gave me some suggestions for improvement. I took these suggestions positively and was also really impressed by their attitude. Though I visited the club just once, the bond is still strong. I get their agenda every week and get to know their way of leadership, from which I can derive lessons for my own club. There is also a standing invitation for me and everyone who would like to visit this club. As a new member in District 98, I am still learning. As Toastmasters we need to keep our eyes and ears open, as listening and observing teaches us a lot and we can then use this to improve our oration. Edited by Padmaja, compiled by Ria Leave your feedback on the article HERE. It could be featured in Letters to the Editor!

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UNLEASH

A CHASE WITH TIME

ON DAYS NOT SO GOOD

TOASTMASTER PREETI PURSWANI | OPULENT TOASTMASTERS CLUB OF PUNE CAMP

TOASTMASTER MADHUMITA SINHA | MAHINDRA TOASTMASTERS CLUB

Eh human, it's you I'm alluding to How I ridicule you catching up with me Running, stumbling, rising up again Always on the go, dashing scurriedly Number of feats to be accomplished Lo, pile of tasks that can't remain undone Prodding to run ahead of me, oh you miffed As you glance at my hands ticking away your dawn Hold, disconnect, enjoy the ride Yes, I do pass, but at my pace Your sprint does not impact me, nor your halt bother me Coz I'm at my fine speed, it's you in the race.... Pause, breathe, embrace the now Who knows what tomorrow would unfold and how Why angst on something that's tomorrow to arrive Just flow in time and live with a child's naive Wake up, be aware, life is to be lived Manifest his gratitude for all the grace Sway to the tunes, gaze at the moonlight Have a tryst with life and lo...all goes right!

Often I go through a day not so good

Failing to fight back

And it happens not just in every few weeks

Existing without my soul

Or not just in few months It happens every other day

Carrying the weight of my body

Sometimes way too soon

On my already battered heart

Bringing along the doom

As the dream to be free ever

When my spirits are at the lowest Remains far fetched as a dream And my confidence is at its worst As I go through another day Wonder how I manage to show the best Not so good To the world where no one ever doubts But my mind is at its weakest I know it's tough for me to fake No matter what I do Am at loss to pull myself out Not in days or months But in decades forever I never felt wanted Never felt loved Living a muted existence With muted emotions And muted desires But endless voices within Some weak some meek Do hear me out please I am slowly giving up

Leave your feedback on the article HERE. It could be featured in Letters to the Editor!

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Giving in to being mere alive

Waiting for someone To hear me out


THE WIRE

CLUB OFFICERS' TRAINING PROGRAMS 1. COTP HYDERABAD | 7TH JULY 2. COTP VIZAG | 14TH JULY 3. COTP MUMBAI | 22ND JULY  4. COTP PUNE | 22ND AND 29TH JULY 5. COTP GUJARAT | 29TH JULY  6. COTP GOA | 5TH AUGUST

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7. COTP INDORE AND BHOPAL | 5TH

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THE WIRE

SPECIAL MEETINGS AND EVENTS

OUTDOOR JOINT MEETING BETWEEN YMCA TOASTMASTERS CLUB AND ANA FONTE TOASTMASTERS CLUB | 22ND JULY

PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN AND OPEN HOUSE AT NASHIK 1ST SEPTEMBER

MASTER ORATOR CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON 3 | 2ND SEPTEMBERÂ

ACHIEVEMENTS

4 MEMBERS FROM AMDAVAD TOASTMASTERS DISTRICT 98 LEADERS RECEIVE PRESIDENT'S QUALIFIED TO THE TOP 25 OF THE S.S BHANDARI BEST DISTINGUISHED DISTRICT AWARD AT THE TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION AT CHICAGO SPEAKERS CONTEST ORGANISED BY AMA

ANNOUNCEMENTS 1. TOASTMASTER VENKATA RAMANA DITTAKAVI APPOINTED AS PROGRAM QUALITY DIRECTOR FOR DISTRICT 98 (2018-2019) 2. DISTRICT 98 WELCOMES 3 NEW CLUBS:> SOBO TOASTMASTERS (MUMBAI) > AVEVA TOASTMASTERS CLUB (HYDERABAD) > IMPRESSIONS TOASTMASTERS (PUNE)

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THE WIRE

MEDIA COVERAGE

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CELEBRATING THE MILESTONES

550TH MEETING OF TCS MAITREE HYDERABAD TOASTMASTERS CLUB | 28TH JUNE

150TH MEETING OF BROADRIDGE TOASTMASTERS | 6TH JULY

300TH MEETING OF AMDAVAD TOASTMASTERS CLUB | 15TH JULY

25TH MEETING OF TOASTMASTERS CLUB OF BARODA | 15TH JULY

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CELEBRATING THE MILESTONES

1ST ANNIVERSARY OF DEUTSCHE BANK TOASTMASTERS CLUB PUNE | 18TH JULY

25TH MEETING OF PALAVA TOASTMASTERS CLUB AND AREA M2 JOINT MEETING | 4TH AUGUST

100TH MEETING OF MAPUSA TOASTMASTERS CLUB | 14TH AUGUST

25TH MEETING OF TCS KALPAK TOASTMASTERS CLUB | 14TH AUGUST

1ST ANNIVERSARY TOASTMASTERS CLUB OF PUNE SOUTH | 25TH AUGUST

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COMMUNICATE 98 | JULY-AUGUST 2018


TM SHASHIDHAR REDDY | MUMBAI TOASTMASTERS

"LIGHT OF HOPE"

Profile for D98 Newsletter

Communicate 98 July-August 2018  

Communicate 98 July-August 2018  

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