Leader of the Month
District 30 is fortunate to work with a dedicated group of leaders who genuinely want to make a positive difference in the lives of their members. Although great leaders value results, it is also important to value those Area Directors and Division Directors that make those results possible.
Every month, we will highlight one amazing District leader who adds value to the fabric of District 30 through their leadership and service.
November 2017 – Patricia Anderson ACB, ALB
Eric Feinendegen: Welcome Patti and congratulations on being selected! Please tell us a little about yourself.
Patti Anderson: I am a member of Abbott Toastmasters (Club #2679). I joined in September 2014 and have both my ACB and ALB. I am also this year’s N44 Area Director.
Q: What Is Your Definition of Leadership?
A: It’s such an interesting question because there are so many different types of leaders. What’s important to me in leadership is to listen honestly, communicate openly and gives people opportunities to grow. That’s what I try to do. If you are not an active listener, you’re going to miss what’s most important to the people on your team and if you don’t have that information, you’ll never find the spark that drives them. There’s a big difference between leadership and management. I have a Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology. One of the biggest things you learn in that is people need leaders who can motivate and keep people engaged.
Q: What is the most difficult part of leadership for you?
A: When I work with people who are difficult or closed to new ideas, it brings me down and I have to work harder to stay positive. That’s my biggest frustration. Last weekend, Barbara Khozam was talking about positivity and “killing people with kindness” which has really worked for me in my life. I had a co-worker who was always negative. She would avoid helping people and would never be available for team meetings. I started to include her on different activities and events. It took a while but she eventually came around and would seek me out for information and was more willing to be a part of the group. There was an attitude change because everyone made her feel like she was part of the team.
Q: What did you learn about leadership being the Contest Chair for the District Humorous Speech Contest?
A: I learned that having an assistant is the best thing in the world. When it comes to organizing and event in the past, I was very hands on and took care of everything myself. With this contest, it was suggested to me to have an assistant. I reached out to a newer member in Toastmasters and asked “Are you available?” He jumped at the opportunity and there were there numerous times when I needed him. He did a lot of my last-minute running around and was instrumental in keeping me stress free. It was amazing! I would recommend having the right people on your team is very important.
Q: It seems like you’ve done a lot of mentoring. What words of wisdom do you have for other Toastmasters as far as finding a leader within the group or a mentor they could follow?
A: I think the first thing is to look for someone you can relate to. For me, it’s someone who is honest and shows confidence. They should also have the desire to help you. Just because you’re asking for a mentor doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily get one that cares. My suggestion is to interview or talk to people first and discover what strengths they have that are similar to you or ones that you’re missing. You can learn from anyone if they’re willing to teach but sometimes there’s a chemistry between two people that’s perfect for learning. If you have a mentor but don’t feel a chemistry with them or they have a communication style that you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask for a different one.
Q: Has there ever been a time when you were called upon to be a leader and had reservations?
A: Two years ago, when I club VP-M of my club, my club was looking to see who would lead the club as President the following year. The entire leadership committee was stepping down and I had no desire at the time to move to the top. I felt that VP-E would be the next logical step and work my way up but since I was the only senior officer of the club willing to take office again, many thought I should take on the Club President role as I had carried some legacy. I wasn’t really sure that was where I wanted to be. It was very scary. The first time someone called me Madam President, I started to laugh! I was never the president of anything and it took me a while to get comfortable with the role. Newer members brought great ideas and different levels of energy to our leadership. We ended up being Presidents Distinguished. I was really very proud of that accomplishment and the way that I grew by taking that on…it was a fabulous opportunity and I’m glad that I did it.
Q: What’s next for you in Toastmasters?
A: When I joined Toastmasters, I wanted a line on my resume that said “I can speak in front of people”. The biggest surprise to me was the leadership piece. It comes to you when you’re not even looking…while volunteering. You learn as you go and it’s a surprise. I’ve loved every moment of it. What’s next for me? I’m still thinking about that. There are always roadblocks that you put in front of yourself and I’m trying to tear those down. I want my DTM and I have to find more opportunities to speak and quickly now that Pathways is coming to us. I think I want to stay a part of the district team. Whether I remain an Area Director or take a bigger step, that is yet to be decided.
Q: Any last words you would like to share with both current and prospective leaders within District 30?
A.: Don’t be afraid. Always say yes. Everyone does something for the first time!
EF: Wonderful words to leave with us Patti. On behalf of District 30 once again, congratulations for being November Leader of the Month. Thank you again for your time!
Eric Feinendegen ACG, CL is District 30’s NEW Interviewer for our Leader and Member of the Month Series for 2017-2018. He joined Toastmasters in 2004, is a member of 3 clubs, and has served in various Club officer roles. You can reach Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a list all Archived 2017-2018 Leaders of the Month, click here