Communicate. Collaborate. Celebrate.
RELIVE ELOQUENCE THROUGH PEOPLE'S EYES
THE OPINION PAGE
NO WORK, ALL PLAY!
WHERE THE SKY IS THE LIMIT
STORY OF A GIRL
THE FOUNDER OF STAGECRAFT ON ACTING, THEATRE, AND LEADERSHIP
HOW TOASTMASTERS HELPS WOMEN LEAD AND INSPIRE OTHERS TO LEAD
A STORY OF HOPE AND PERSEVERANCE IN THE FACE OF CHRONIC ILLNESS
IN THIS ISSUE
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
CELEBRATING THE MILESTONES
ASK THE TRIO
COMMUNICATE 98 FEATURES
HUMANS OF D98
THE OPINION PAGE
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY!
DISTRICT 98 OFFICERS
OUR DISTRICT OFFICERS (2017-2018)
Arvind Nair Ravi Teja Marrapu Leo Kurians Paulose Chandrashekar D P Patrick Pereira Nishant Mehta Niteash Agarwaal Chidanand Pradhan Hasnain Changi Raunak Kulwal Vinod J Sharma Akshay Chillal Siddharth Suman Anant Katyayni Smita Mishra Shijin Sreeraman Ajay Hiraskar Dhanraj Kamdar Dipankar Das Mahesh Puranam Manish Kamdar Debahooti Basu Tanmaya Panda Parakh Kukreja Prashant Sampat Kannagi Mishra Poonam Kumar Chris Kingsley Seema Rani Vijay Bhanushali Pramod Kiwande Heena Garg Mayank Naidu Priya Lekha Ajit Shah Sapna Ohri
District Director Program Quality Director Club Growth Director Immediate Past District Director District Administration Manager District Finance Manager District PR Manager District Logistics Manager Division Director - Div A Division Director - Div B Division Director - Div C Division Director - Div D Division Director - Div E Division Director - Div F Division Director - Div H Division Director - Div M Division Director - Div P Area Director - Area A1 Area Director - Area A2 Area Director - Area A3 Area Director - Area A4 Area Director - Area B1 Area Director - Area B2 Area Director - Area B3 Area Director - Area B4 Area Director - Area B5 Area Director - Area C1 Area Director - Area C2 Area Director - Area C3 Area Director - Area C4 Area Director - Area C5 Area Director - Area D1 Area Director - Area D2 Area Director - Area D3 Area Director - Area D4 Area Director - Area D5
Aparajitha Chakilam Ankur Agarwal Rahul Ghelani Priya Mathur G. K. Aajay Pavan Kumar Tulsija Shefali Johar Prudvinath Malepati Narita Rai Subramanyam KV Abhishek Shukla Tanay Tejasvi Asha Pratyasa Sunil Sharma Dr. Tejinder Singh Rawal Shubhangi Pandey K Srikanth Ravi Sharma Pratibha Jithesh Umme Salma Babrawala Navin Raj Abraham Vinay Prabhu Mhambre Shreya Kanabar Angad Sathe Syed Moazzam Daimi Ravi G. Motwani Swapnil Sonawane Pramod Mohandas Arjuna Shivangi Usha Udayshankar Atul Morey Eknath Hole Karan Gupta Mukta Nadkar Shireesh Nadkar Suryaprathap Reddy K
Area Director - Area E1 Area Director - Area E2 Area Director - Area E3 Area Director - Area E4 Area Director - Area E5 Area Director - Area E6 Area Director - Area F1 Area Director - Area F2 Area Director - Area F3 Area Director - Area F4 Area Director - Area F5 Area Director - Area H1 Area Director - Area H2 Area Director - Area H3 Area Director - Area H4 Area Director - Area H5 Area Director - Area H6 Area Director - Area M1 Area Director - Area M2 Area Director - Area M3 Area Director - Area M4 Area Director - Area M5 Area Director - Area P1 Area Director - Area P2 Area Director - Area P3 Area Director - Area P4 Area Director - Area P5 District Training Manager Club Extension Chair, Hyderabad Club Extension Chair, Pune Club Extension Chair, Mumbai Credentials Chair District Newsletter Editor District Chief Judge District Parliamentarian District Web Master
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
On Leader Speak - See The Way In Darkness (March 2018 Issue) It was great to read and have insights into Shubhangi's journey as Area H5 Director. It is really inspiring how she put in so much effort to bring Nagpur together. Personally visiting clubs and showing them how to do roles is a wonderful example of "Service"; especially when she took up the District Officer role at the last moment. Great work! TM Kaustubh Ghanekar, Deccan Toastmasters Club, Pune
On Humans of D98 - An aMAZEing Tale (March 2018 Issue) I am a fan of visual art myself and it is an incredible feeling to connect with someone who has a knack of drawing something simple and unique through the article. It is inspiring how picking up something different that requires both logical and abstract parts of the brain; and doing it at a level so high, that Limca books takes a note of it. Great read! TM Kaustubh Ghanekar, Deccan Toastmasters Club, Pune
On The Opinion Page- The Usual Suspects at Contests (April 2018 Issue) Read a unique article after a long, long time. Keep it up folks!! TM Chinmaya Dave, TCS Maitree Toastmasters Club, Mumbai
CELEBRATING THE MILESTONES
325TH MEETING OF TOASTMASTERS CLUB OF PUNE-SOUTH EAST, PUNE | 5TH MAY
150TH MEETING OF AGNEL TOASTMASTERS, MUMBAI | 5TH MAY
250TH MEETING OF VISION TOASTMASTERS, HYDERABAD | 6TH MAY
50TH MEETING OF BIBVEWADI TOASTMASTERS CLUB, PUNE | 11TH MAY
GLIMPSES OF ELOQUENCE
‘ELOQUENCE’, the buzz-word of District 98 and witnessed by 567 Toastmasters and non-Toastmasters, was a oneof-its-kind conference. 'One-of-its-kind’ because it was new in many aspects and offered something unique that had never been seen before in any District conference. To know more about the three days of camaraderie, contests, and conviviality, I interviewed four people who were associated with this event in distinct ways so you could get a glimpse of the event through different eyes. I couldn't make it to Eloquence this time, but talking to them made me feel like I was a part of it and hadn't missed anything! Read on to witness these glimpses of Eloquence through different eyes.
DTM BRILLIAN, PAST DISTRICT DIRECTOR OF DISTRICT 98 (2015-2016) How have conferences in District 98 evolved over the years? Confluence 2015, the very first District conference, saw a turn out of 700+ people and was led ably by two amazing ladies who went on to prove that nothing is impossible. Thereafter, Pune, Goa, Mumbai, and Indore have hosted some amazing conferences. Each conference brought a unique flavour which remains etched in my memory. Over time, these Conferences have become professionally managed and a lot of volunteers are coming forward to help make these events grand ones. What are some new practices that you have observed in Eloquence 2018? The use of a conference app was something that we tried for the very first time. While it was in the nascent stage, I believe this could be very well become an integral part of future conferences. A new set of leaders emerge from every Eloquence. How do you think they were earlier and how are they now? I would rephrase it to new leaders emerge from every conference. A comparison is the worst we can do as each conference is unique and brings its own set of challenges. One valuable lesson which I would want each emerging leader to imbibe is humility. It's easy to lose one’s cool when things are not going the way they should, but staying calm always helps. Practice 'calmsutra'. Here, I would like to mention one such 'Kool Leader', TM Vamshi who was the epitome of calm despite all the challenges he faced. Times change and challenges differ, hence we must focus on how we overcome our set of challenges and move forward.
COVER STORY What were some of your best memories from this Eloquence? I would like to highlight 3 specific memorable moments: 1. Participating in the Speakathon for the Limca Book of Records was something unique and gave me a different high. I was as excited and anxious as a baby. 2. The Table Topics Contest was fun and I enjoyed every moment of it as a host. The contestants were amazing and ensured that I was at ease. I thank PQD DTM Ravi and DD DTM Arvind for entrusting me with the role. I was not sure, but the learner inside me screamed: Are you stupid? to refuse this... 3. When the District Council Members volunteered to skip the fun night to elect the leaders for the future. With so many leaders in the fray, we epitomise our tagline: Leaders are being made at District 98.
TM ANKIT AGARWAL, CONTESTANT IN THE INTERNATIONAL SPEECH CONTEST You contested for the first time at the District level ISC. How was your preparation for it? Two months ago when I was writing my speech for the club level contest, I had no idea that it would be so well received. It was all last minute, I wrote my speech a day before the contest. I won, but I hadn’t done full justice to my purpose. Through Area, Division and before the District contest, I redrafted my script at least 5 times. A lot of mentoring and feedback went into the final draft. Every time I thought I had reached my threshold, my mentor TM K Srikanth opened new doors of learning for me. That’s how I felt ready. You must have been aware that you were going to contest against some seasoned Toastmasters who carry enormous experience in contesting. How did you deal with it? I confess I felt like the underdog. 9 months into Toastmasters and contesting with people who had already established a reputation with the District audience, I cast aside my chances of winning. My mentor advised me to turn my weakness into my armour. Thanks to my underdog status, my audience had zero expectations from me. So all I had to do was be better than what I already was. The only competitor I had to be worried about was myself. What was your learning from the contest and what are your plans for the next season of contests? My primary learning was that every story is interesting if we know how to convey it. There’s no need for an overtly tragic or game-changing moment to be your ISC material, draw the deepest thoughts from the simplest incidents. That is what I aim to do in the next season. Describe your contest experience. How did you think it would be and how was it actually on stage?
COVER STORY Oh it was scary. On the penultimate day, I went on the stage to get a feel for it. Those blinding lights and the Plenary Hall’s sheer size gave me the chills. I had spoken in front of large audiences before, but never before such a huge number of seasoned and aspiring communicators and leaders. My mentor’s technique called ‘visualising the act’, helped me overcome the stage fear part. But my biggest fear was that I was jinxed to be the first contestant at every level of the ISC. However, on the D-day, the tables turned and I was the last contestant. After the contest started I felt a nervous energy building up in me after every speech. By the time the 8th contestant was done, I got into the mood of talking. My nervousness turned to excitement to tell my story and I had a lot of fun doing that. There were a couple of fumbles but it never put the brakes on my speech. I loved the audience’s response!
TM NAVYA VIPPARTHI, CO-CHAIR, UNCONFERENCE TEAM What attracted you to become the Co-Chair of the Unconference Team? The title ‘Unconference’ itself attracted me. I didn’t know what it was and this time I wanted to do and experience something different. What are the new things that your team has done in this Eloquence? We wanted to do something that is in vogue and create an experience that would make everyone cherish Eloquence for a long time. We wanted to have a blend of events that fed people’s creative skills and raised their existing social skills in engaging ways. Apart from the skill sharing sessions (Zumba by TMs Hemangini and Leena Bhortakke, photography by TM Meghshyam Kurnool, videography by TM Santosh Gopasana, graphology by TM Supriya Mellacheruvu, crochet jewellery making by TM Namrata Shah, Rubik’s Cube solving by TM Mohammed Furqan, quilling by TM Srividya Malla, and maze-making by TM Lasya Madireddy) we also had: >Book Exchange (where you could leave a book with a note and take another book) >Pani Puri eating competition >Giant (life-sized) snakes and ladders >Photo booth with props >Treasure hunt >Tarot reading How difficult was it to pull the crowd to participate in the unconference activities while there were other main events running in parallel? A proper plan is equivalent to half the work being done. Likewise, the planning carried out by convenor TM Lasya Madireddy and PR Chair TM Karan Gupta provided us with eventful timing and spacing for Unconference events.
COVER STORY Unconference chair TM Ravishankar added more flavour to it by articulating the events in a catchy fashion in the souvenir. During the event, the energy of the volunteers and presenters was so evident that no one could have missed it and Toastmasters definitely know how to treat members for their skills. What was your learning from this organizing experience? The Eloquence team has exposed me to a much bigger platform. Given the magnitude of the event, there was big room for innovation and bringing out different things. I’m always trying new things and learning. Although this one was a bit challenging as there were significant changes in my career workload, I would always suggest that you should push yourself. Sometimes it may be too hard, but you are going to love yourself for not giving up! Make sure that there is always some learning to raise your game in every job you do.
GUEST SWATI KHANNA What convinced you to attend Eloquence 2018? Eloquence 2018 was on my mind because I had heard a lot about Toastmasters and wanted to take a closer look at it to understand it better. Ever since I have known Darshan, Toastmasters has always been a part of our conversations. What did you expect to get from this conference? I am always looking out for opportunities to grow and network. Eloquence was one such opportunity for me. The list of guest speakers was interesting and so were the topics they spoke on, especially Sunitha Krishnan. Moreover, the delegates were attending it from different cities so it was great to interact with them. What are your key takeaways from this conference? In terms of takeaways, it was the first time that I attended a human library which was quite an enriching experience. The Speakathon and Pecha Kucha were no less. Being a teacher by profession, all the activities motivated me to incorporate them at the school level too. Would you join Toastmasters if your husband wasn’t a part of it? I wouldn’t mind joining Toastmasters if my husband wasn't a part of it, as it is a great platform to learn how to communicate better and be a good leader. It doesn't restrict itself to just the corporate world and is relevant far beyond. It is similar to peer learning and I look forward to being a part of it really soon. Edited and compiled by Sindhusha Take a moment to give us feedback for this article, or the issue HERE. You might get published in Letters to the Editor!
MOMENTS FROM ELOQUENCE 2018
WINNERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL SPEECH CONTEST (L TO R): TM ASHRAFALI JAGIRDAR (2ND PLACE), TM PRATHIMA MADIREDDY (1ST PLACE), TM SAAGAR VARMA (3RD PLACE)
WINNERS OF THE TABLE TOPICS CONTEST (L TO R): TM PRATHIMA MADIREDDY (2ND PLACE), TM G.M. SUBRAMANYAM (1ST PLACE), TM R. RAVI KUMAR (3RD PLACE)
COMMUNICATE 98 EXTENDS ITS BEST WISHES TO COEDITOR TM PRATHIMA FOR THE SEMI-FINALS OF WCPS 2018
ASK THE TRIO
Q) Today, the mentor-mentee mapping is done based on the general skill set the mentor has acquired over the years. Do you see this changing? What is the mentor-mentee mapping logic followed by other districts who have already embraced Pathways? This will help the VP-Es plan for a revised mapping plan. TM Vijay Gangadharan, Hyderabad Toastmasters The concept of mentor-mentee in other Districts is nothing different as compared to what we follow in our District. Mentors are often soundboards rather than being exceptional speakers themselves. They are primed to be comfortable people whom the mentees go to and speak with. I see this becoming more formalised as we are now in Pathways. The projects would give a more detailed approach and training to mentors on how you can better yourself as a mentor. More often it is limited to the member to discover the mentor in him, but now everyone would get a chance to stake claim for being a mentor, which is what it should ideally be. Q) (To District Director) What are the different initiative we have taken so far to make sure that our District has maintained the fresh face. As a President what (s)he can do in a corporate club, where people do not wish to come outside of the club, especially to make sure that the momentum of the club is maintained? TM Srividya Malla, BACI Hyderabad Toastmasters Club Since the start of the year, we have tried to answer this question to the fullest. Given that our challenges are unique and member base is young, the approach plan was carved accordingly. Few key programs that were launched this year to bring freshness include: 1. Joint Club Meeting Award: This award was instituted to help promote clubs to work more closely with each other. This incentivised clubs who held joint meetings with the right objectives in mind. 2. Gamification of Club Visits: This award was instituted to encourage college and corporate club members to visit other clubs. A key pain area has been the limited number of college and corporate club member visits to other clubs as opposed to the same being done by community club members. The results of this campaign were indeed astonishing. 3. Membership Renewal Campaign: In addition to the awards that have been instituted to promote renewals, this term a social media contest was also run. The objective was to improve pride in the movement and also publicize the key drivers to membership renewals. Q) (To Club Growth Director) We have added multiple clubs to our District now and we hear about the increasing number everywhere. But the progress of those newly added clubs is not that vocal. What are the measures we are taking to make sure that newly added clubs are operating in a healthy manner? TM Srividya Malla, BACI Hyderabad Toastmasters Club I will try to answer this in two parts: 1. Process of opening new clubs: A strategy process document was drafted, reviewed, and approved by the DEC at the start of the term to iron out the process of opening new clubs. The process was different for community, college, and corporate clubs. This included relevant buy-in and sign-offs (for corporate and college), rigour in horizontal visibility across the value chain, open houses and eventually demo meetings. The process of paperwork was also streamlined with the help of CETs. All this put together helped ensure that only quality clubs are opened in the District. 2. Progress of new clubs: Owing to the diligence that was followed while opening new clubs, all of them (with a minor exception) are doing well. This includes consistent member retention and addition; proactive participation in the DCP program; attendance in events across the District, Division, and Area; securing top positions in speech contests; consistently and religiously following the educational program, among others. That being said, giving a dashboard view of this would have been better. We take this feedback and will work upon it.
COMMUNICATE 98 FEATURES
NO WORK, ALL PLAY! MR. VIKASH KHURANA FOUNDER OF STAGECRAFT In this feature, we explore the creative platform of theatre through Stagecraft, a popular theatre group from Nagpur. Straight from the horse’s mouth, we tried to capture the tiny nuances of the theatre business from the eyes of Mr Vikash Khurana and his honest attempt at reviving the magic of plays and dramas in Nagpur and otherwise. How did you start your journey with theatre? I have had a passion for theatre since school. I did my first stage performance in class three when I played Cinderella! (I studied in a boys’ school) Thereafter, I performed at school functions and represented the school in inter-school drama competitions. When I was in Mumbai, I was a part of Satyadev Dubey’s theatre group where Amrish Puri and Naseeruddin Shah were my contemporaries. Also, my grandfather had his own travelling theatre company and my brother became a full-fledged actor, going on to do films, so it has been in the genes. You are a businessman by profession, so what triggered your passion? I started Stagecraft in 2003 after 25 years of running my family business. It started off as a lark, with no agenda. Our first production was ‘My Fair Lady’ and we made a huge loss. But it was a good one, so we continued with adaptations. When the response was not as we expected, my dad told me not to lose heart and encouraged me to do it for myself. I persevered, and we went from a bunch friends who wanted to do plays just for friends and family, to here, where over 300 people have collaborated with us. Could you describe how Stagecraft has grown over the years?
It’s passion driven. It’s not a business and we don’t make any money, but putting up a play is exhilarating. From English, we started doing Hindi and comedy plays to reach out to bigger masses. Essentially we are still an English theatre group, but we explore all genres. We now adapt and write our own plays, like adapting a Shakespeare play but perform it in Hindi, or perform a regular Hindi play with a spattering of English designed to make people relate better. We have started travelling, doing plays at Prithvi theatre or NCPA in Mumbai, in Hyderabad and Raipur. We have had rave reviews, in fact, in 2014, a Chekhov play ‘Uncle Vanya’ at Prithvi theatre was amongst the top 10 acts of Mumbai that year as rated by the Hindustan Times. We are now into our 73rd production. How does theatre help one as an individual? Acting and performing is a life skill. When you are performing, the process in itself teaches you many things. Not just acting per se, but communication skills, people management, and creativity. This helps not only me but every person involved in the process become a better human being. While studying a character, a person can not only analyze how the role is shaped but can also add layers to it and make it his own. This experiment leads to a kind of self-actualization just like in Maslow's Theory, so they can draw parallels in bringing life to a character. Your group is a mixed bag of people from various backgrounds, how does that affect the process? We have people from all walks of life, teachers, doctors, IT professionals, even students and it is also different age groups which keeps the influx of ideas going. Each one of them brings their energy and I also learn a lot from them-it
COMMUNICATE 98 FEATURES
is not a one-way process. I impart some basic knowledge but otherwise, everyone is encouraged to share even their silliest ideas, because it can turn into a great find! So expression in any and every form is the hallmark of what we do. Especially young people bring in so much exhilaration that I become agile and sprightly too. How do punctuality and discipline come into the picture despite ‘All Play, No Work’? Theatre is all about the overall experience, both to the audience and the actor. What makes it pleasurable is the entire story that is told. So the complete set up needs to be proper, like every tiny nut and screw in a machine. For theatre to work, the need for detailing and discipline is a must. If you begin late, it is irritating, and you have already altered the experience. Similarly, if the audience is late, it creates apprehension for the already nervous actor. So yes, discipline and punctuality are key.
discipline and behaviour in a larger framework and equality among boys and girls, but we also have fun and socialize a lot. That is, I believe in having flexibility within a rigid framework, but giving due importance to good values and ethics. A leader is a father figure and a friend in need. Any word to the Toastmasters community? Wait for your Eureka Moment! You need to be able to absorb everything that comes your way, retain and filter as required. Keep your mind open, do not straightjacket yourself into a mindset or a role. Always respond, never react. Absorb the good, become indifferent to the negative. Edited and compiled by Disha
Since theatre is about the stage, how much does the audience matter? The validation of the audience does matter, but it’s equally important for them to criticize. I prefer criticism over accolades because it promotes growth. The audience may or may not have evolved at the same pace as the actor. So we have now accustomed ourselves that if the mountain can’t go to Mohd. Khan, Mohd. Khan can go to the mountain. Hence for smaller audiences, we try various genres, while for a larger crowd we have costume extravaganzas or comedy plays to suit interests better. What is leadership to you? For me, a leader should lead by example. Whether it is ethically or discipline wise, a leader must be true to their word and put their mouth where their money is. They must have the capability to do everything that they expect out of people. A leader’s prime role must be to inculcate ethics and values because in today’s world these two things have become very fluid. At Stagecraft, I do stress on
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THE LEADER OF THE PACK TM RAHUL GHELANI | AREA E3 DIRECTOR What was your motivation for taking up the Area Director role? If I were asked to become an AD a year ago, my answer would have been a straightforward “No!” due to my personal and professional aspirations. However, the love, respect and togetherness that you get from Toastmasters are overwhelming. Eventually, I had to say yes after multiple discussions with a few close ones and three questions that I keep asking myself, “Where am I required more?”, “Where can I learn more?”, “Where can I give back more?” I used to ask my club President to give me those Officer roles which had the maximum challenges and which demanded stability. I followed the same ideology when nominating for the Area Director position. This ideology, the above three questions, and the love people have bestowed upon me have always motivated me to take up a leadership role in this fraternity. Tell us something about the challenges you faced during the term? The first major challenge was that I had never visited or known the clubs in my Area. It was a new experience for me to establish my credibility and gain acceptance from scratch. The second challenge was that three out of the four Presidents were at least a decade older than me. The third challenge was to provide solutions to the mixed bag of problems specific to each club. Persistent Systems, the newest club, required an education about the various processes in Toastmasters. TCS Waverock had revived after a long break, Hitachi Consulting was struggling as senior members were leaving the organisation for better career opportunities. Finally, the leader of the pack was Virtusa, which had the maximum challenges in all aspects. What worked magically in resolving these challenges was visiting the clubs a month before being officially announced as their AD. I visited regularly, took up a role each time and made them feel that I was not an AD visiting their club, rather I was a member of their club.
plan of expanding the EC to form a WolfPack, which included Associate EC Officers and Pool Managers to tackle specific challenges of the club. This solution ensured that the workload was balanced, created leadership opportunities for new members, and changed the mindset of members to be more accountable. This led to a significant transformation from a club to a family. The first edition of the WolfPack saw 17 leaders managing the club! We stand proud today because these leaders not only support the club, but also proactively contribute to the Area, Division, and District events. Once a wolf, always a wolf! What change have you seen in yourself since taking this role? It was very difficult for me to transition immediately from a Club Officer to an AD. From having the authority to run things at your own pace to convincing people to do the same within certain timelines was a challenge. It made me impatient and inconsiderate as to why people took so much time to complete even a simple task. This role taught me an important lesson, ‘learn to let it go’. Patience was the key which not only opened the doors to new heights for my clubs but also to their hearts where I will be welcomed now and later. I found my extended family in Area E3. Would you consider a future leadership role? This question has kept me occupied for quite some time. My heart has always said 'Yes', but my mind always flickered with 'No'. For me, a leadership role is about accountability and an important lesson, ‘Learn to serve and serve to learn!’ I would love to be part of the future leadership team, but it’s time for me focus on my personal and professional aspirations which I have neglected for quite some time. Nevertheless, I have not forgotten my vision, ‘Leadership is action, not position’. Whether I take a leadership role in the future or not, I will always be a leader made in Toastmasters. Edited and compiled by Karan
What is the concept of the WolfPack? WolfPack was initially a solution to multiple challenges of my home club, TCS Maitree Synergy Park. As club President, I shared the
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HOW TO USE TOASTMASTERS TO FURTHER YOUR CAREER On the occasion of the 325th Chapter Meeting of Toastmasters Club of Pune-South East, the club had a panel discussion on the topic ‘How to Use Toastmasters to Further Your Career’. A panel member, TM Sapna Rawal, shares her Toastmasters Professional experience through the panel discussion questions thrown her way. How did Toastmasters help further your career? I hated speaking and my job was in ‘Sales and Marketing’. I was an ideal misfit for that profile. I did not like talking to vendors, clients, or various stakeholders. Thankfully, emails existed and I could manage. During my first interview in 3 years, the interviewer said, “You have got all the experience that I need. However, I find you timid and I am afraid that if I hire you my clients would intimidate you. I would like to see you for the next opening." This is how I was introduced to 'CRC' as the interviewer was a Toastmaster. One day I happened to attend a Toastmasters meeting. The people were warm, friendly and positive which made me join soon. Slowly and steadily after giving speeches and playing meeting roles, my confidence shot up. Now I was becoming more people friendly and was open to conversations. Then emerged an opening for a Sales Specialist in my organization which I took up without any hesitation. I am now more visible and approachable at my workplace. “I find great potential in you and I see you having your own team soon,” said my manager. Other than confidence, what are the key skills that can be acquired and used in our respective careers? Toastmasters brings out the writer in you. Writing something with a word limit is not easy but when
TM SAPNA RAWAL TOASTMASTERS CLUB OF PUNE-SOUTH EAST you are in Toastmasters, you learn how to measure your words and write creatively. SCENARIOS How does someone looking for a job switch use Toastmasters to his or her advantage? Make use of the network you have developed during your tenure in Toastmasters. We have various professionals coming from all walks of life, someone might just recommend you at his or her workplace provided you are good at the work. An entrepreneur at heart wants to turn his dream into a reality. How does Toastmasters help him in his venture? First of all, an entrepreneur would need a lot of money for his venture. After money, courage and confidence will help. Courage to take some calculated risks and confidence to make various stakeholders believe in you. Your communication skills, specifically persuasive speaking and speaking to inspire will help you here. How does Toastmasters help someone who wants to follow his passion, maybe standup comedy, music, photography etc? Toastmasters gives your life an additional dimension. It already gives a platform to these professionals to find out a new version of themselves on stage. If you find out you are really good as a standup comedian, or you can manage a team very well, go ahead and take the next step. Edited and compiled by Mehak Take a moment to give us feedback for this article, or the issue HERE. You might get published in Letters to the Editor!
HUMANS OF D98
TM GOWRI SHANKER BEN'S TOASTMASTERS CLUB, HYDERABAD How many of us turn up our noses and walk away when we see garbage lying around on the road? All of us do. It has been ingrained in us that the literate do not dump garbage on the road, they bin it. Binning waste comes naturally to us, be it at our home or office – we ensure the garbage is binned. But most, if not all of us, do not know or care what happens to the binned waste. Until a few months ago when my wife and I researched on living sustainably. We learned that we need to be responsible for the waste we generate. That’s when the knowledge around ‘segregation of waste’ dawned for us. The more we read, the more our understanding became that this is of utmost importance for the survival of the human species in the long term. We learned that the waste we generate, while supposed to be landfilled, is actually getting dumped because we do not segregate. Segregation of waste helps us know which waste needs to be landfilled and which does not. I learned that around 20% of normal household waste needs to be landfilled. The remaining can be put to use. Around 60% of waste generated from a normal household is organic and hence biodegradable. If composted, it will help us with good manure for our crops. 20% is recyclable items which we should recycle rather than landfill. Knowledge alone was of no use to us. We live in a 1500 household gated community and as a single family, we would head nowhere in segregation. As there is a saying ‘Determination will overcome any obstacle’. For us, the answer came from like-minded neighbours who harboured similar thoughts as ours. The team was formed and we provided a red bin, a green bin, and a white bag to each
BIN YOUR WASTE, THE RIGHT WAY household. A pamphlet was created to educate people about what waste to put in which bin. We took two months to test it. The next step was to take the GHMC’s permission to build a composting pit inside our premises. Four months down the line, not only was our community sending 80% less waste to the landfill, but we were also providing good grade manure to nearby farmers and making money selling the recyclable items we collected. Overall, a win-win situation for all the members in the community. The experience was an enthralling one for me, as I had to match the determination of making this cause succeed with the perseverance of bringing everyone onboard. While there were impediments that had to be overcome, the sweet aroma of success was a satisfying one to digest. The biggest impediment was from people resisting change. The way we have been binning waste has been ingrained in us for centuries. As a famous leader once said, 'Only through discussion and dialogue can you win over the other side'. Thus, a lot of discussions happened in PBEL city too. Change management is not easy but all of us overcame it together. Is the journey finished? No way, segregation is just the start of a sustainable life. There is so much further to go, from polythene covers to diapers, sanitary pads to PET bottles – I have a long way to trek yet. Edited and compiled by Prathima Take a moment to give us feedback for this article, or the issue HERE. You might get published in Letters to the Editor!
THE OPINION PAGE
WHERE THE SKY IS THE LIMIT TM SMITA MISHRA | DIVISION H DIRECTOR In a recent conversation with a friend, I heard her bemoaning missing a promotion because her boss felt she couldn’t do the long hours or travel, which came as part of the job. Sobbing, she asked me if I had faced similar issues in my field of work. When I set out to think about it, I realized that in my professional life, I’d hit the proverbial “glass ceiling” many times in a bid to shatter it, albeit with less success. Then I reminisced about my experience in Toastmasters to search for similar instances and my memories lit up my face with a smile. Circa September 2015: I was attending my first ever semi-annual District conference – Confluence 2015 – at Hyderabad. After spending the two days being awestruck by the action-packed event, it was time for the felicitation at the end of the event. I remember sitting up and noticing multiple women in various teams being called on stage. Their hard work had been instrumental in the success of the event. Finally, the two women Conference Conveners took to the stage, Srinidhi and Sneha and I felt a hushed reverence fall over me. Over the next months, I couldn’t help but observe that there were women leaders all around; my Club President (Sai Sweta), my Area Director (Prathima Madireddy), one of our Division Directors (Aruna Thapa) and many more! Coming from a notion that the glass ceiling was impossible to break, I was suddenly surrounded by strong women role models who were shattering that illusion left, right and center! It’s been a couple of years since then and I’m still here, my roots firmly entrenched in the quest of growing as a
leader. When anyone asks me what’s kept me going as a leader, I tell them about all the inspirational role models I’ve come across. It’s their work and legacy that has helped shape my goals. As long as there is a Mukta Nadkar as District Chief Judge, or a Lasya Madireddy leading a District conference, or a Prathima Madireddy as Division Director, or a fiery Shubhangi Pandey as a Champion Area Director, there’ll always be a Smita Mishra aspiring to be like them. I came to realize the golden truth about being a woman leader in Toastmasters. In this forum, gender has nothing to do with one’s growth as a leader. Gender doesn’t shape anyone’s journey as long as they promise to serve the members to the best of their ability. Gender doesn’t define one’s strengths or weaknesses, nor does it dictate one’s limitations. For all the women leaders closeted in the apprehension of whether you’ll get the chance, I say only this to you: Toastmasters gives you an abundance of opportunities without question, without judgement. If you are willing to serve, you will get the opportunity to serve; if you are willing to lead, you will get the opportunity to lead. In Toastmasters, there are no glass ceilings, just an endless sky for you to soar high. Edited and compiled by Fatima
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STORY OF A GIRL Pinky is a girl, happy and gay, Her 8th birthday is just 2 days away Pink frocks and Barbie dolls, what not she has Lovely parents and two sweet sisters she has 14 years she is now, living carefree as before Only not growing like a normal girl anymore Parents are worried and why should not they be, People are questioning and advising the way they should be Doctors were consulted many tests were done, Turners syndrome, a chromosome is missing, said everyone Blessing is that she will be young forever, said the Doctor, Teach her to live alone and take care of her bones said the Doctor From the hands of Pinky fell the Doctors file, Nothing she did, just cried for a while Then back to square one was she, Cheerful and joyful as always was she 20 years now, looking like 13, The world, to know about her had now become more keen One in 2500 ladies are such so it's rare, Thus sharp questions by the audience was just fair Happy go lucky Pinky in a shell had now gone, Finding no reason to be out and strong Scared to meet people old and new, She now left home only on occasions few Godfather came and saw potential in her, A travel agentsâ€™ job was offered to her She accepted it, forgetting everything, In her life now work was the only beautiful thing Confidence and success she gained and got back her smile, Though pain troubled her once in a while
TM PINKY BAHROOS VADODARA TOASTMASTERS CLUB 12 years had passed now and she was just 32, when Doctors revealed osteoporosis have you Bones are weak and prone to fractures so beware, Smiling she said "Don't worry Doctor I am aware" Continued she her job by only reducing the work time, life moved on and so flew by the time. She was all of 36 and pain had grown more, She quit her job, as she was left with options no more Fault was hers as for her health she didn't care, Only work was about what she really did care She was not the person to easily give up, Part-time job was the idea with which she came up Now she is satisfied working as a Teacher, And one day wants to become a writer and a preacher Only intention is to tell people to be strong, Be confident, know yourself, know what is right and wrong Concentrate on what you have and not on what you don't, Happiness lies within yourself, find it outside don't If I can do it so can you, A smile is contagious so why not I pass it to you Let everyone be given a fair chance to prove their mettle, Let everyone be given a fair chance to fight their battle Godfather came to my rescue, I wish he comes to you too, Yes, I really wish he comes to you too Take a moment to give us feedback for this article, or the issue HERE. You might get published in Letters to the Editor!
EXPRESSIONS: DIVISIONS CDP JOINT DIVISION CONFERENCE, PUNE | 22ND APRIL
ORAFEST: DIVISIONS EFH JOINT DIVISION CONFERENCE, VIZAG | 28TH-29TH APRIL
INSPIRE: DIVISIONS ABM JOINT DIVISION CONFERENCE, MUMBAI | 6TH MAY
FINANCIAL DISTRICT JOINT MEETING, HYDERABAD | 25TH MAY
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY!
"NEW AWAKENING" TM ANITA JIGJINNI TOASTMASTERS CLUB OF PUNE
Communicate 98 May Issue designed by Ruchika
Communicate 98 May 2018