I am delighted to inform you that the results we were awaiting, are finally here!
For the third time in a row, District 82 is a President's Distinguished District and tops the Toastmasters International charts as the best District in the world for 2009-2010! We scored 223.84 points ending about 80 points ahead of our nearest competitors, District 47 (Southern Florida, Bahamas) and District 85 (China), creating a significant record for ourselves!
This achievement and success belongs entirely to you. It was your effort that helped us add 75 new clubs this year which, as I understand, is yet another record! It was your effort that enabled us to earn 981 education awards. It was your service as ambassadors of Toastmasters that added 5300 new members to our fold. You deserve every bit of the success of District 82 and I invite each one of you to celebrate it in your club meetings this week!
A major factor for our success was the wonderful set of leaders we had this year to help us chart our course. The Club Presidents with their EC members worked diligently through the Distinguished Club Program getting us 106 Distinguished (or better) Clubs. Our 41 Area Governors were the superstars who acted as the eyes and ears of the District helping clubs to succeed and providing the assistance that members sought. As a result 34 Areas ended the year as distinguished or better!
Our nine Division Governors worked tirelessly throughout the year providing exemplary leadership to their divisions.
- Divisions A and H Governors, Mahesh Jayasinghe and Sudash Liyanage, together became the 'AHA' team, an outstanding example of dedication, cooperation and team-spirit, helping both divisions become President's Distinguished! I know that Sudash was personally working for his division until the midnight of 30th June 2010 for the charter of a new club!
- Division B Governor K. Srikanth set an example by attaining his personal DTM milestone and continued his club building spree by adding 13 new clubs to his division!
- Division C Governor Neeraj Gupta, despite his unassuming nature, provided a strong leadership ready to acknowledge and praise achievers and constantly nudging each of his team to surpass their own goals. No surprise that Division C was the first to achieve President's Distinguished status!
- Division D Governor Kunal Khanna reinvented himself to provide leadership from the front helping the Division to achieve President's Distinguished status for a second time in a row. I must also commend Kunal for taking up the challenge of hosting Reverberations 2010 (our semi-annual fall conference) in Mumbai and for the splendid marketing effort!
- Division E Governor Gopalakrishna meticulously planned the success of his division with his lieutenants as he 'captained' his way to President's Distinguished status.
- Division F Governor Venkata Ramana Dittakavi in his modest and self-effacing manner provided service leadership that touched the core of my heart. Division F today is perhaps the stronger today for the consolidation that Venkata managed to achieve!
- Division G Governor Abraham Zachariah stood out as a leader willing to lend a helping hand to his entire division. His tact and diplomacy helped him in many difficult situations and his constant monitoring ensured that Division G ended the year as President's Distinguished!
- Division I Governor Ashok Menghani provided an example to the district as to how a successful leader can achieve by skillful delegation and by empowering his team. President's Distinguished status was his for the asking thanks to his meticulous planning.
Seven President's Distinguished Divisions and the other two who almost made it, speaks volumes for the depth of leadership that the district can bank on!
The success of any organisation is dependent on the direction that is provided by its top management team. I was blessed with the best team that I could hope for who served as role models to the district. District Treasurer Saman Perera was the model of efficiency as he constantly updated records, balanced the budget and screened and released claims. Our treasury couldn't have been in better hands! District Secretary Sudhir Sharma ably assisted by Assistant Secretary Maya Mohan ensured that our records were updated, reports were uploaded on time and meeting minutes recorded meticulously! District PRO Vinay Jain with Voice of 82 Editor Archana Kumar helped in building the Toastmaster brand awareness. We were written about and talked about in the media far more than ever before! Assistant LGMs Poonam Jain and Kumaran Pethi were able assistants to the LGM who was based in Sri Lanka providing solid support to the club building effort all across India. Assistant LGETs Ajit Dembla and Kanishka Jayasinghe, Mentors' Pool Chair Malora Fernandes and Speakers' Pool Chair Paul Holmes were indispensable aides to the LGET in strategising and helping improve speaking standards in the District. Ajit Dembla's efforts in building the communication bridge for the district is a service that can never be forgotten! Ajit Dembla as Reverberations 2009 Chair and Nina John as Ovation 2010 Chair were outstanding leaders who gave us two conferences that have set benchmarks for conferences to come! District Chief Judge Janaki Prasad Pattanaik was the model of efficiency and preparedness as he steered us through all the district contests. Audit Committee Chair Jyoti Narula and her team proved to be hard-headed and demanding auditors who were unrelenting and any auditee's nightmare! How can I forget our Webmaster Frank Storey, who sitting miles away in the USA, became an integral part of our District constantly updating the website and making us the envy of the Toastmasters world!
All through the year, I was ably supported by the past leaders of District 82. Past Territorial Council Chairman Ian Faria, Past District Governor Bosco Abraham (and presently Region Advisor Marketing for Region 13) and Past District Governor M. Venkat were always available with sage advise and counsel whenever it was needed. It was great comfort to know that they were always available in times of need! Past International President Dilip Abyasekara was a mentor and guide who I could depend on when I knew I needed succor!
Three gentlemen who were my pillars of strength were IPDG Arunasalam Balraj and my two able lieutenants, LGET Nagaraj Rao and LGM M.Z. Saleem, who are no longer just Toastmasters to me but are my dearest friends and brothers! I know that I have a permanent home in Colombo and in Balaraj and Saru's heart! Both Nagaraj and Saleem worked relentlessly burning the midnight oil to ensure that they were able to keep their promise to the district of helping it become number one once again! In the process they have earned the success that shall be showered on them as they shall be awarded the Excellence in Education & Training and Excellence in Marketing Awards, respectively, in the Hall of Fame ceremony at the Toastmasters International Convention in Palm Desert next month.
I must also acknowledge the support that I received from the TI Board and the WHQ staff, specially the New Clubs Team. I am indebted to President Gary Schmidt and Executive Director Daniel Rex for their role in approving the reformation of District 82 into two districts. International Directors Poh Kim Siong and Keith Ostergard were always just an email or a phone call away. The WHQ staff, be it the New Clubs Team, District Support Services, the Education Specialists or the Supplies Team, proved to me how a handful of people can so effectively and efficiently manage a behemoth that is Toastmasters International! Thank you all for your support!
My home clubs have been my learning ground where I honed my skills as a communicator, leader and Toastmaster. Thank you Toastmasters Club of New Delhi, JPKU Toastmasters, South Delhi Toastmasters and Delhi Advanced Toastmasters! Thank you Presidents Rajan Bhatia, Roshan Suhail, Shraddha Nakra, Manoj Kumar, Anagat Pareek, Akshita Aggarwal and Ritu Arora and my fellow members. You provided me the strength that I needed for the task at hand. Narinder Bajaj and Nitasha Kumar were the reason I joined Toastmasters and who helped me when I was an infant! A simple 'thank you' to them is just not enough!
As the curtain rings down on my four years of active service in leadership roles in District 82, I must acknowledge with immense gratitude the support of those persons who have perhaps made the biggest sacrifice, my wife Kavita, my daughters Rajita and Ramita and my parents Usha and Balagopalan. Without their fortitude and forbearance I could not have been half as successful.
It has been a year of building bridges of excellence, a year of tremendous growth and a year of consolidation. I am sure that we will continue on this journey of success under the able leadership of District Governor Nagaraj Rao and his team of warriors who have pledged that they will stand by us to help us achieve greatness together!
I sign off with an immense sense of satisfaction and gratitude!
Deepak Menon FCA, DISA (ICAI), DTM
Immediate Past District Governor
District 82, India and Sri Lanka
Toastmasters: Achieving Greatness Together!
Partner J.P., Kapur & Uberai Chartered Accountants
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