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.
July 2017 – Heather Vaughn ACB, CL
(Interviewed by Calvin Gibbs DTM – Public Relations Manager)
Interviewer: Welcome Heather, and congratulations on being the first leader of the month to be interviewed for our new Toastmasters year.
Heather: Thank you; I am happy to talk to you. This is quite an honor!
Q: This is a loaded question: When did you join Toastmasters? Which clubs to you belong to; which club Offices have you held? What District Officer position do you currently hold?
A: I joined Toastmasters in April 2013 and I belong to four clubs. They are North Suburban, Midwest Speaking Professionals, Allstate Speakeasy, and Windy City Professional Speakers. I have been VP of Education, and Club Secretary. I am the current NE Area 64 Director.
Q: Leadership has many definitions; what is YOUR definition of Leadership?
A: Leadership is being the embodiment of an idea.
It is being the person that has the vision of the end goal from the very beginning. A leader has the ability to project that vision from the beginning to the middle right to the end. You must understand that as the leader you are going to move people toward that end goal.
Q: What is your leadership style and why does it work for you?
A: My style is “Allowing”. I am very engaged as to how people perform and what their strengths are. I allow the team to display their strengths as we move toward the goal. I allow them to be who they are as long as it’s not disruptive. Allowing means getting the best out of them but not wanting them to be like me. It means they can be who they are and they can bring their best to the team.
Q: If you discovered one day that your current style of leadership was no long effective; how would you adapt?
A: That’s a very good question. When allowing is no longer effective, I would move to coaching. I would coach them from where they are to where they need to go.
Q: To be a good leader you must know how to follow as well. What do you look for in a leader?
A: I look for a whole person. I mean, I look for a person that isn’t trying to reach something that is unattainable…like perfection. I look to leaders that have a background – that influences how they think. I look to leaders that have education – that will influence the opportunities they have. I look to leaders that have good relationships – that will influence how they are able to focus throughout the day. When all of these are allowed to be acknowledged, then you have a while person that is effective, but understands their flaws.
Q: Please share with us a time when you were called upon to be a leader when you would have rather been a follower?
A: There was a time at work when I was new and learning my responsibilities and the social environment of the workplace. We were working on implementing new technology but some of the veteran workers were very much fighting against doing something new. They were trying to keep the status quo but the project required doing it a new way. Finally, I had to speak up and let them know that while I appreciated the way that they used to do it, it was time to try something different and create an environment where we could allow ourselves to think differently, react differently, but produce the required result. Needless to say, we were able to finish the project. If I hadn’t spoken up, the lag and drag would have prevented us from being successful.
Q: Young people today are in need of good, strong, positive role models. What words of wisdom do you have for them as far as finding a leader? (or becoming one)
A: I think that from age 12-17 years old, the needs are different from 18-27. At the earlier age I think that they need to allow themselves to be a part of but separate from their situations. They need time to discover who they are. At the later age, I think they need to pinpoint how they want to live their life. They need to find a leader that demonstrates the standards they want for themselves and begin to model their behavior after that leader.
Q: What’s next for you as a leader in District 30 Toastmasters?
A: Leading my area to Presidents Distinguished status is my goal for the next year. On a personal level, I will be moving closer to being a DTM.
Q: Why is Toastmasters a place “Where Leaders Are Made”?
That’s easy…Toastmasters allows you to really cultivate and curate your own experience. You can move at your own pace and follow the speaker route, the leadership route, or both. All of the manuals are there for a specific reason. Outside of the club meeting, the skills and techniques learned from the manuals allow you to speak at your job, to your friends and your family, in any situation. We learn impromptu speaking and how to make adjustments on the fly. Toastmasters allow us to be more confident, more vocal, and more honest in our thinking and evaluations. As we grow as Toastmasters we can help expand someone else’s world as we find our world expanding too. We are all different people but Toastmasters brings us closer together. It IS a place where leaders are made.
Calvin Gibbs DTM is District 30’s Public Relations Manager for 2017-2018. He joined Toastmasters in April 2013 and has served in various Club and District Officer roles. He is a member of Beyond the C’s. You can reach Calvin at at email@example.com