Member Spotlight: Mythili Prabhu
Mythili Prabhu is a highly accomplished Toastmaster. Not only has she earned two Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) awards, but she has also served as an Area Director (2012-13), Public Relations Manager (2014-15), Program Quality Director (2015-16), and the first District Director for District 101 (2016-17). Additionally, Mythili also received the District Toastmaster of the Year Award in 2013-14. Currently, Mythili is an active member of North Valley Toastmasters Club, District 101 Events Chair, a Principal Performance Engineer at Akamai, and a mother to a toddler. Despite her packed schedule, Mythili spoke with me about her accomplishments, advice, and future endeavors. Read on:
Q: You received the Annual Award of Toastmaster of the Year 2019-2020. Can you talk about what this award entailed and how you earned it?
A: I have served as a District Leader in the past. The award is given to someone who serves the district at a high level and contributes in several, different ways. I focused my contributions on two areas: club growth and program quality.
Last year, to address club growth, I met with my club leadership each week and discussed issues related to member expansion and renewals. I brought in experience from my past District leadership and helped the club with timing of certain, key initiatives. I also spent time reaching out to members about renewals.
To address program quality, I served as a District Conference Chair three times (contributing to 18 District Conferences). For the latest District Conference, I started work in November, scouting and booking conference locations. Despite having an in-person conference strategy in place, I made the decision to switch to an online platform given the Covid-19 situation. I led a team, and we met weekly to figure out the new, online format. A key contribution I made was advocating for two keynote speakers instead of one. The entire event was very exciting as it was the first online conference for Toastmasters!
Q: You currently serve as District 101 Events Chair. Can you talk about your role and/or any event(s) we can expect this year?
A: The Events Chair position is an entirely new role. Given the virtual climate, I am currently planning new events. My vision is to have compelling, useful events every month (e.g. a contest series, Train the Trainer seminar, etc.). I would like to designate a new topic of interest for the District each week (e.g. international Toastmasters leaders, Toastmasters Leadership Institute, etc.). I am also using my experience to mentor new Toastmasters to take on the role of an event chair in the future. Overall, my role focuses on brainstorming initiatives, selecting intriguing speakers for events, and managing public relations.
Q: Of all the lessons you’ve learned through Toastmasters and your career, which is the most important?
A: Being bold and trying something new are life lessons for me. Toastmasters feels like a playground because there are always new opportunities. For example, I previously had no experience with graphics and design. However, while organizing the latest District Conference, I had opportunities to hone these skills.
Overall, I have found great value in trying new things through Toastmasters. I have realized that it is not always about trying something entirely new, but rather, trying a different approach (e.g. District Conference going virtual). This method propels me forward.
Q: Do you have any final words of advice for our members?
A:You can have a lot of fun in Toastmasters! You may have joined your club for a reason you didn’t choose, but there is a lot to try out. I encourage you to step outside of your club. There are always self-discovery, leadership, speaking, and friendship opportunities waiting for you.
Q: What is next for you? How can our members reach you if they have any further questions?
A: I am currently working on exciting events as District 101 Events Chair. I am also working on my third Distinguished Toastmasters distinction. I am always on the lookout for new projects as well. If you are interested in helping with a future event, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also learn more about North Valley Toastmasters Club (now virtual!) at nvtm.org.
Written by Ramya Ramachandran of Intuitively Speaking Toastmasters Club