Member Spotlight: Tanya Barad

Member Spotlight

Name: Tanya Barad DTM

Date Joined Toastmasters: Mar 2013

Home Club – Heart of England (also a member of Walsall Speakers and New Street Speakers)

Journey Highlights:

  • Been Secretary, VPPR, VPE, President and Area Director (Area 39 inc new 42, Division E)
  • Organised multiple training days including the one for Elizabeth Nostedt, Regional Advisor, in Jan 2019
  • Pathways Ambassador
  • Easyspeak Guru for D71
  • Realignment Committee Chair in 2017-2018
  • Got my DTM July 2018
  • Finished 1st path in Pathway (Presentation Mastery)
  • Received District 71 Toastmaster of the Year for 2017-2018
  • Founding member of Walsall Speaker and New Street Speakers
  • Club Sponsor for Godiva Speakers and Walsall Speakers, Club Mentor for Deutsche Bank Birmingham and New Street Speakers
  • Got to Division E contest level in Evaluation 2019

Why did I join Toastmasters?

I had an unusual start to Toastmasters. I was 21, in my first post-education job and working mostly on conference calls with people in other countries. My manager received a lot of complaints that certain cultures struggled to understand me – I literally got introduced as “the girl you can’t understand”! So, my manager strongly encouraged me to go to Toastmasters and that is how I found my home club, Heart of England Speakers.

Over the months I focused on my communication skills and colleagues started to understand me better. I gained my confidence, invited my mom along as a hobby for her and we both got drawn into the Toastmasters world. As I progressed with my career as a Project Manager, I found myself requiring leadership skills, so I started to focus on these and joined the committee as VPPR and then VPE. I absolutely fell in love with the VPE role! I progressed on to President and Area Director but always find myself coming back to VPE.

How has Toastmasters helped you?

The obvious answers I would say are being a better speaker and leader. But Elizabeth Nostedt explains that we should describe the benefits of Toastmasters with your story of how it has helped you. I started Toastmasters as an immature, young adult who didn’t really know much about the real world. Whilst I have grown up as a person in general, Toastmasters has been the real cause of how I became what I like to think of as a fully functioning adult. I can speak better, so I can say what I really want to say whether at work, with large crowds or with radio interview opportunities. I have a real understanding of leadership which has enabled me to have a career, allowed me to practise skills like organising events and take on managerial roles which I will soon need to use at work! I have confidence, meaning I now want to do more with my life, make my mark on the world and make an impact. But mostly, Toastmasters has given me opportunity. There are very few places in life where you can try something out of your comfort zone AND receive support whilst you do it. If it weren’t for Toastmasters, I would never have organised my first club officer training, which has led me to organising a training day which opened into charity events. I would never have spoken in public, which has led to presentations at work, being a guest speaker at events and then radio interviews. Without Toastmasters, I would probably still be a shy, quiet girl who was nervous making a phone call at work, not organising international events, speaking to hundreds of people and doing what I love in life.

What are you most proud of about your club?

I am a member of multiple clubs and it is the same answer for all 3: the members. There is something amazing about watching a member do something for the first time or do finally something they said they would never be able to do. When you see a member suddenly overcome a hurdle and give a good speech or especially Table Topic, that’s when I smile and am proud of my clubs for being able to help the member achieve this.

Bonus questions:

Highlight of the week: Receive Toastmaster of the Year at the Norwich Conference

Best advice you’ve ever been given: Think of all the great people in the world. They started where we are now. If they can do it, why can’t we?

Hobby: Fundraising and raising awareness of Endometriosis UK

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