By Kate Parvis, Toastmasters Agora 75, blogger-in-chief for the D59 2023 Conference

Aletta Rochat, DTM, an international speaker, author and trainer, had a nomadic childhood, moving with her family across three continents. With change as a constant companion, Aletta learned the importance of good communication and human relationships. A member of Cape Town Toastmasters since 2008, Aletta was already a confident speaker when she joined, but jokes that she wanted an escape from her life as a wife and mother.

Aletta’s “escape” ended up taking her on a fantastic leadership journey! Thanks to her organizational competencies, people skills and mentoring along the way, Aletta has risen through the Toastmasters hierarchy, from District Director—formerly called District Governor—to Region Head to Second Vice President of Toastmasters International. In the natural progression of things, Aletta will be elected First Vice President, then President Elect, then President of Toastmasters International—a beautiful illustration of how Toastmasters prepares people for leadership over time, as she puts it. Her emphasis on listening and forging human bonds to form effective teams is certainly key to her success.

According to Aletta, the rewards of leadership in Toastmasters are experience, personal growth, and a huge sense of satisfaction. She says the benefits have radiated throughout her personal and professional life, giving her the courage to publish two books, and develop a career coaching executives and speakers.

Aletta certainly knows her stuff when she touts the benefits of attending a District Conference. Don’t miss the keynote and workshop by this compelling speaker and inspiring leadership powerhouse!

 Aditya Maheswaran, DTM—Addie to his friends—was a shy 17 year old from Chennai whose “tiger dad” read about a local Toastmasters club in the paper, and dragged him to a meeting. Aditya missed his Sunday morning cricket match that day, but nearly two decades later, is still an active Toastmaster, having held roles from club president to District Director. In addition to being a successful management consultant and regular columnist, Aditya is also a public speaker with an inspiring journey during which he placed second in the International Public Speaking Championships in 2015 and was a finalist in 2017!

But Aditya never forgot his love of cricket. He says Toastmasters and cricket bear some similarities. According to Addie, speaking on stage may seem like a solo venture, but the leadership at every level makes Toastmasters very much a team sport! Over the years, Aditya has mentored public speakers from Toastmasters to top executives whom he teaches to use storytelling in their communications with employees, shareholders, and the media. Aditya is a firm believer that his success as a management strategy consultant both enhances and is enhanced by the public speaking and leadership skills learned at Toastmasters, and reminds us to keep our “why” in mind to stay effective and smiling!

Aditya is excited to attend the D59 conference. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to meet him in person and hear his keynote!