Looking back at the year

When I started my journey as Area A6 Director on 1st July 2019, I had very little idea about what to expect from this leadership journey. Having joined Toastmasters Int’l in 2008, my journey of Toastmasters was more focused on lifting myself. When I was asked to take the challenge of leadership role, I thought perhaps it was an opportunity to share the goodness of Toastmasters to many more fellow members. It was indeed a significant step that I was willing to take. 

As my tenure as AD comes to an end, it is the right time to reflect upon my journey of learning and unlearning. 

What are my feel-good factors? 

  • Sharing the positive vibes of the Toastmasters community was an all-time feel-good factor. Be it putting together an Area Council, organizing TLI, or conducting MoT at clubs right after taking up the leadership role. Learning was beyond measures, it taught me a great deal to practice a collaborative approach in getting things done. I felt blessed to have put a very competent team of seasoned and energetic Toastmasters in TMs Prajwol Sayami, Shiv Raj Thapa, Roshan Ghimire, Baibhav Poudel, and Amit Bajracharya. This was the very first step to ensure success for Area A6. 
  • Nurturing the 3 base clubs (Tourism, Founders, and Gandaki) to help them reach their potential was indeed a great learning opportunity. However, starting 3 news clubs, doubling the base as envisioned by Div A Director, was the real challenge. As the saying goes ‘Things that do not challenge you, will not change you.’ I am glad we took the challenge and learned a great deal in the process of opening up 3 new clubs (Bhaktapur, Academia, and Ace ). It was a great feeling to be awarded Agile AD for turning around the first club before 15th August. From Agile AD, I almost became a fragile AD as the third club did not come out as planned. But thankfully we had also done orientation at ACE institute of Management which turned things around. Opening up clubs was like starting up a new business, it was like labor pain. When we saw the new clubs being installed and members enjoying and learning, all the pains turned into lasting happiness. 

What did I learn during my year as an Area Director?

  • The most important learning was the planning part. I could make out why our Division A Director Suman Shakya, DTM was a star performer. Because he always planned ahead and executed it with precision. There was never a mediocre moment. 
  • It also taught me to put things in priority as it was a real challenge to strike the right balance among business, family, and Toastmasters. One always finds a time when s/he puts the task on priority. Looking back to the 364 days, I feel I could not have set aside that time for a more productive task than sharing the greater good of Toastmasters learning which is deeply gratifying. 
  • It taught me to remain humble and naive. Meeting International President (elect), Richard Peck, DTM in Kasauli was an important moment for me. I found him to be a leader with great humility. He always insisted that positions come and go, one should not compromise his/her integrity for the growth, be it personal or professional. It struck me hard and I am deeply grateful to these practical tips that I could learn at Toastmasters. 
  • The biggest lesson so far is to be quick to adapt to change. In the super testing times of COVID, it was great learning to be comfortable with online meetings and communicating effectively over virtual platforms. It did help me greatly in the professional front as well.  

In the end, I am deeply grateful to the encouragement and support extended by DTM Ranjit Acharya, DTM Suman Shakya, my fellow ADs, Area council, DTM Bhanu Dawadi, TM Anish Dixit, DTM Shaurab Lohani and all fellow Toastmasters in Nepal and beyond. 

Pankaj Pradhananga, Area A6 Director

Published in Inkspire Issue 4. Click here for the full newsletter.

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