Kazuko Kawauchi – Visit To India

Haitei Etsuransha (Dear Reader),

Senri no michi mo ippo kara hajimaru

Means to say

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

On the 11th of January, 2015 we were all set to witness one of the biggest chartering ceremonies, the first step to success, of the first ever Japanese and the first bilingual toastmasters club in India – “Jinsei Dojo”. And to double the delirium we had among us a lady of few words – Region 13 Adviser, DTM Kazuko Kawauchi.

DTM Kazuko Kawauchi addressing members at the Jinsei Dojo TM  Club Charter Ceremony

Presenting sovereigns to each member of the Japanese toastmasters club, DTM Kazuko conveyed her heart felt love and gratitude to each one of them. She was extremely proud to be a part of the club charter ceremony and wished the club and it’s members all the luck!

collage             A glimpse of the club charter ceremony

            Mecon Toastmasters Club:

IMG_20150112_201336           DTM Kazuko Kawauchi at Mecon Toastmasters Club

Language is never a barrier to communicate

 Toastmasters is a place where we learn to communicate and we use public speaking as a medium to learn this art. DTM Kazuko proved this over and again. In her 20 minute address to the members of Beechi and Mecon Toastmasters Club, though she was speaking in a language foreign to her; a language she probably does not use in her every day life, she showed that she was a Toastmaster.

    Beechi Toastmasters Club:

Have you ever muddled in perturbation? Have you ever thought twice before taking up a responsibility? Have you ever wondered how to handle pressure during tough times?

A gripping tale on a piece of advice she received from her friend kept us agglutinated to her. Sink OSwim (SOS) were the two options thrown at her during her tough times and how she decided to swim rather sink was an aspect that left us inspired. 

IMG-20150121-WA0010         DTM Kazuko Kawauchi at Beechi Toastmasters Club

                   Fun Day Out:

Temples, gardens, art galleries, lakes, food hubs and what not! Bangalore has it all that one needs to be proud of.

To flaunt the beauty of the “City of Guards” – namma Bangalore, we had TM Kavya Gowda and TM Appu Byju show DTM Kazuko the city of gardens and much more!

       DTM Kazuko Kawauchi requesting Lord Ganesha to make District                  92 a Presidents Distinguished District.

  DTM Kazuko learning to drape a saree and TM Kavya helping her out

Chit-Chat Adda:

Hear it straight from the horses mouth! Here in our chit chat adda, we have experiences and thoughts shared from our very own members who spent some time with the RA, DTM Kazuko Kawauchi, and here is what they think about her:

Conversations with the DPRO

I had a lot of perceptions about Kazuko before I met her. A woman proving herself in a man’s world. A soft spoken leader. A silent observer. A dedicated person. And then, I met HER.

In one of our conversations she said my name Kazuko in Japanese means calm and peaceful, my parents gave me the name to limit me to being that but I’m so much more. And I agree. She’s soft but resilient. Good observer and a great speaker. Articulate and elaborate. Focused and sincere. More than anything honest, extremely honest with a great sense if humour. And I loved that about her.

She reinforces something I truly believe in – Do not limit leadership to a box, a crown. Remember, the most intelligent or the most qualified people do not become leaders.

When you watch her you realize, leaders are who know that sometimes the power comes from knowing when to sit back and let someone else take the reigns. The power comes from creative collaboration that you could have never done alone. The power comes from learning to be a follower in a society that teaches you only how to be a leader. The power comes from really learning how to listen and really listening to learn.

                                                                                       -TM Kavya Gowda, District PRO

            Friendship point_MG Road

“A smart person knows what to say and when. A wise man knows whether to speak or not.” In Toastmasters we learn how to communicate. The major area of focus though is in speaking. During our visits with Sony, Toshiba and Yokogawa, I saw what it truly means to be a good communicator. Kazuko Kawauchi waited patiently for them to finish speaking and only then replied. At no point did I find her cutting anyone off. Her answers were filled with humility and to the point.

                                                                                        -Appu Byju, Division B Governor

The Power of 5

Dear Reader,


Joint meetings are perceived to be occasions where 2 toastmaster clubs come together and  take up specific roles. Consider a scenario where 5 clubs come together to stage a meeting , is it only the roles that they share among themselves? What do I as a spectator witness in such a meeting?  What is the stand on Club loyalties?


SAA: All the attendees of the meeting were greeted with some mouth- watering  snacks at the start of the meeting. The SAA for the day TM Nagaraj Sharma ( ProAct TM Club ) took the stage as the moment the pendulum struck 6 times on the evening of 9th January 2014. He opened the meeting with a saying from the great Vikenanda,quickly made the necessary announcements and handed it over to the TMOD.

CK Ballal

TMOD: DTM C.K. Ballal( MTM Club )  who donned the cap of the TMOD, said the theme he chose for the meeting before describes the intention behind the meeting. The theme for the day was “ IN PURSUIT of EXCELLENCE”. In his introduction he stated, “ Everybody has the zeal to excel , what is essential is the pursuit to excel”.

GE Vidya

General Evaluator: TM Vidya Rao (Inspiron TM Club) did an excellent job as she played the role of the General Evaluator.

Saima Nayak

Speaker 1: Do you know how it feels to have delivered 60 speeches, to have been the target speaker close to 50 times and have won various competitions at the club, area, division and at the district? If your answer is a “no”, you ought to read this. 

With the title of her speech being “Down the memory lane with Toastmasters”, TM Samina Nayak (PTAT TM Club) not only spoke about her association with toastmasters for the past 18 yrs, she also informed us how the toastmasters movement was brought to Mangalore by Max Rasquinha. Her urge to the audience was a request to strive for excellence, develop their unique style, persuade, Inspire and take up opportunities.

Eval1 Vidya Shenoy

Evaluator 1: TM Vidya Shenoy (Inspiron TM Club) who evaluated DTM Samina Nayak’s speech spoke on the 3 V’s – Voice, Visual and Verbal usuage. Vidya spoke as to how Samina used the instances in her life to inform us about the Toastmasters movement we are all associated with. 


Speaker 2: With a speech titled “You choose to lead one life, I choose to lead many”, TM Raahil Hussain (Milagres TM Club) opened the speech explaining about the plight one goes through on a battle field and the loss of your loved ones. When the audience got into the mode of empathy, TM Raahil let the cat out of the bag. His speech was on computer games and the technology behind it which gave us a whole new view on gaming and technology.

Eval 2 Akshay

Evaluator 2: If TM Akshay appreciated TM Raahil’s captivating story telling attribute he also point out aptly on how Rahil could have improved his body language and used more examples to strike equilibrium.


Speaker 3: Who doesn’t like babies, isn’t it? With a speech titled “Oh Baby!” TM Andrea had the audience in splits, while she explained to us the nuances of baby sitting. TM Andrea loved her part time job as a baby sitter for three reasons. She could enjoy food prepared by others, she could watch television in their homes while the baby of “those others” slept peacefully in the room. 

Eval3 Anita

Evaluator 3: While TM Ankita (ProAct TM Club) definitely loved the humor quotient in “Oh Baby!” , she thought TM Andrea could have worked better on her body language. 


Speaker 4: “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer!” said TM Noelle (MTM Club) while she delivered her speech titled “Frenemies”. A tale on how TM Noelle accidentally put her friend in trouble by dropping a package into her friend Kavya’s bag, kept the audience glued to her.

Eval 4 Savitha Salian

Evaluator 4: If TM Savita was impressed with TM Noelle’s word usage, expressions, pitch and body language, she thought that Noelle could work harder on her voice modulations.


Speaker 5: With a speech titled “Goals in Life” TM VV Kalluraya pointed out on 5 SMART ways that would help us inch closer to our goals. Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic and Time bound were the attributes TM VV Kalluraya pointed out.

Eval 5 Roshni

Evaluator 5: TM Roshini Rodrigues appreciated the practicality thatw as involved in the speech delivered by TM VV Kalluraya. She acknowledged  that TM VV Kalluraya had all the facts and figures in place while he delivered his speech.


 Table Topics Master: As DTM Vina Vaswani  played the role of the table topics master, she compared the audience to that of a galaxy. She hand picked one member each from a club and threw interesting table topics at them which was an amalgamation of fun, humor yet thought provoking.


Area Governor Address: A leader would fail in his/her duties if he/she did not thank her team for the efforts that they put in. TM Niveditha Mirajkar thanked her team wholeheartedly for the time and energy each of them spent to make the joint meeting a grand success. 

Best Functionary

Best Functionary Award: DTM C.K Ballal was appreciated for his effortless emceeing and was awarded the Best Functionary of the day.


Best Table Topics Speaker: TM Sunitha Perie, with her creative set of ideas on the dissected word “ex”, “cell” and “lent” won her the best table topics award of the day.

Best Eval

Best Evaluator:  TM Vidhya Shenoy, for her clean, crisp and candid evaluations on “Down the memory lane with Toastmasters” brought her the best evaluator award for the day.

Best Sp

Best Speaker: With a side splitting story of how her tenure as a baby-sitter taught her numerous lessons brought TM Andrea the best speaker award of the day. 


With a stalwart emcee, experienced general evaluator, flamboyant set of speakers, upfront yet appreciative set of evaluators, insightful table topics and last but not the least sumptuous finger licking good food – could you have thought of a better joint meeting? Five clubs, fifteen role players and close to fifty members! A meeting of this magnitude taught us just one single thing – that success of an event like this is a result of the combined effort of each individual. 

                                                         – Joint Meeting,  Area 1 Division F District 92

Cynosure – November 2014

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”

                                                                     ~Jim Rohn

I’m a proud Toastmaster!
One of the learning elements from an active Toastmasters engagement, that often gets relegated, is the critical aspect of getting in touch with our own selves. Behind all that flamboyance of making the speech on stage in front of 25 pairs of eager eyes, is that introspective exercise of thinking and understanding ‘who I am really about?’, ‘what do I want to speak on?’ and ‘how best can I present this to my audience?’
Then begins the effort of fleshing out my thoughts and finally bringing it down to about 600-750 words so as to keep enough space for gestures, pauses and interaction with the crowd. Writing my speech, taking feedback from my mentor and then re-writing it – this has a lifecycle of its own. Every time I completed writing a speech, I was able to understand myself a little more, a little better. Hence, Toastmasters helped me develop muscles around many more attributes than just delivering a good speech in the right way!

I must add, if we truly do justice and go through all the projects sincerely, and do it consistently over a period of time, that’s when we can maximize the benefit of our being a Toastmaster.

Being an active Toastmaster, enabled me to take up many a role in my club – IBM Blue Expression Toastmasters Club. I had the privilege of serving my club as its Sergeant-at-Arms, VP-Education, Editor of our Newsletter ‘Expressions’ and finally its President. What we could achieve as a team was stupendous. During my stint as its highest ranking servant, not only did we win all the awards that there were to be won but what I’m really proud about is the fact that many a keen learner found their voices through Toastmasters. It was a great learning experience for me!


Bottom line – when a bunch of inspired individuals unite on a common vision then their different approaches to solve problems become a strength and amazing things happen!

Along with Kavya, who led this endeavor from the front, I also had the good fortune of working on the BT/IT Blue Impulse initiative where we helped create and execute a focused communication development program for two batches of 30 IBMers each (from the BT/IT business unit). The model has now become self-sustaining and a great success!

Two areas where I found direct applications of my being a Toastmaster were my getting selected in IBM Corporate Service Corps and my demo presentation at the BA Keynote at IBM Insight conference.
CSC Kenya-9 deployment in Nairobi: IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) is a prestigious leadership development program through which IBM hand-picks around 450 top performers every year globally and deploys them on-site in small teams to help solve real world problems. I believe a huge part of the credit of my getting selected in this prestigious leadership program goes directly to Toastmasters. The introspective journey that Toastmasters has always been for me, helped me articulate my strengths well and how I wanted to contribute to the success of CSC using them.

IBM Insight 2014 BA Keynote > Watson Analytics demo: IBM Insight happens to be the biggest conference on Business Analytics that IBM hosts in Las Vegas, USA. I was selected to deliver the live Watson Analytics demo at the BA Keynote in front of thousands of keen customers, analysts and other fellow IBMers. Demos, given their technical nature, were stereotypically delivered in a very formal fashion. I was able to deliver an experience and sprayed the critical Watson Analytics live demo with relevant humor and was also able to lend emphasis on key points throughout the demo. Thanks again to Toastmasters!


I think it’s important for all of us to be selfish before joining Toastmasters. Selfish to firstly understand what Toastmasters is all about and then to decide whether it’ll help me. Secondly (if I decide to join), then I need to figure out how it’ll help me and what I need to do to maximize the learning (and hence the benefit from it). Thirdly and the most important aspect – to actually stick to the plan (come what may)!

To conclude, in my opinion, Toastmasters does NOT guarantee anything – not even a good appraisal/rating at office (as the common myth goes). It’s just like a gym and how much we gain from it depends completely and only upon our attitude, hardwork and approach towards it. In the process, we realize we get a lot more than what we joined Toastmasters for.

BETC (1)
I want to thank two quintessential Toastmasters who have been my inspirations and idol figures for many more – TM Vikram Venkateswaran (my mentor) and TM Kavya Gowda (Past President BETC and present District 92 PRO). They never tried to change who I was but helped me develop on my strengths. I owe a great deal of whatever I was able to accomplish as a Toastmaster and otherwise to these two enablers and hence leaders!
As for me, I’m just a mere work in progress.


                                                                                          – TM Suman Mukherjee