8th December 2019: Flying at 25,000ft past Mt Everest on a spotless Sunday morning, the new President of Toastmasters International, Deepak Menon, raised a champagne toast with other passengers for better global dialogue and communication.
Toastmasters International is the world’s leading organisation devoted to communication and leadership skills development. As its new president, Menon was in Nepal to preside over the All Nepal Toastmasters Meet and its Citation 2019 event this week.
“This is the highlight of my trip to Nepal,” Menon said as he gazed out of the window of a Yeti Airlines mountain flight on an ATR72 as the flight attendants served sparkling wine. “The experience of seeing Mt Everest so close was an adventure of a lifetime.”
And as befitting the president of Toastmaster, he spoke clearly and concisely, without using filler words, ditching distracting mannerisms, and dressing well – Menon came on board in a suit and tie.
Menon is one of nine partners in the chartered accountancy firm J P, Kapur & Uberai based in New Delhi, specialising in international taxation and transfer pricing. But two decades into his career, Menon said he felt like his life was stuck in a rut.
“I felt like I had to do something different, something more meaningful,” confessed Menon. “I found myself completely lost in my work, I was working 16-17 hours a day. It was tough. So, I changed my lifestyle, I was looking for other things that I could do besides my profession. And I discovered Toastmaster.”
Menon served as the Chief Coordinator for the Toastmasters’ Youth Leadership program in collaboration with the American Centre in New Delhi and helped build communication and leadership skills for approximately 700 underprivileged children in six cities in India. He has held a number of high-profile leadership positions within Toastmasters and has attained the Distinguished Toastmaster designation.
“Toastmasters has taught me skills that no university can teach,” he said. “It has helped me evolve from a being a lone-player to a team-player, from being led to being a leader, from the problem to being the solution.”
As International President, Menon is the highest ranking person on the Toastmasters Board of Directors. The club was set up in 1924 and is based in Englewood, Colorado and has nearly 400,000 members in 143 countries worldwide. Nepal Toastmasters has 30 clubs and nearly 900 members.
“We are honoured to have Deepak Menon at our Citation 2019 in Kathmandu to give his keynote speech and attend a day full of learning, networking and helping each other become a better version of themselves.”
Menon had come to Nepal as a boy with his grandfather, and says he was thrilled to grab the opportunity to make the short hop to Kathmandu after 50 years. After seeing the eastern Nepal Himalaya, he is looking forward to flying past the Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri on the flight back to New Delhi.
(As published on https://www.nepalitimes.com/business/toastmaster-raises-toast-to-mt- everest/)
By Kunda Dixit, Editor, Nepali Times