What positive influence has being an Executive Committee (ex-comm) member had on your career?
This is the final part of the Ex-Com blog post series.
Let us understand the significance of being the Treasurer and Sergeant At Arms of a club.
Sriram Venkatraman is a popular personality within District 82. Not without a reason. He has a charm and ease with people. He was recognized as an Outstanding Member by DTM Sastharam, the Immediate Past District Director of District 82, for which he received the coveted Toastmasters Tie. He was also recognized as the Best Mentor for his club for the term 2015-2016. He is also known for chairing ‘Emergence’ in January 2016.
Sriram’s answer to our questions reflected his commitment, wit and humour, and therefore we have decided to quote him verbatim as much as possible so as to not miss anything in translation.
What are the skills necessary for an individual to be successful in discharging his duties as the Treasurer?
According to Sriram, good negotiation skills are absolutely necessary, since the treasurer should provide justification to ex-comm on budgeting and presenting it in a convincing manner to the members. (Negotiation does not mean bargaining. Here it refers to collecting money). Good budgeting which is very important as this will give a first impression about the treasurer.
What are some don’ts and things to keep in mind? “Don’t get carried away by the people’s emotion. Always have your locker safe and have cash in hand. And always ask for bills during reimbursement; in case if you can’t get bills, have your own bill book and get it attested by the president. Always be transparent to ex-comm and members, show sincerity and conviction.”
Maintaining an account book, as well as a tracker that is very simple to understand is also essential.
“Please be aware of latest govt policies, tax implications as well. Consult auditor well in advance before your term starts and also have audit when it ends”.
Are there any challenges involved? Is there anything to watch out for?
“Collecting money itself is a big challenge ☺ especially if your club is self-sponsored. You should be proactive in reaching out to members. Also, don’t cook stories about toastmasters just speak as a treasurer and make them realize that the amount spent to TM is worth it.
Budgeting will be major challenge as your club will have varied class of people (freshers / managers / senior managers) and when comes to money people become more sensitive. You should not be miser or spend thrift and prepare a balanced budget.
Major challenge will be you should have justification when people ask you why you need to pay this much (for extra amount you collect beyond $36)
Always collect money only once, if you fix an amount that should be final for the term.
Before revealing, have a discussion with the ex-comm, present your budget and then finalize the amount. Always look at past two years’ expenditures of the club before presenting the budget.
Always report about the expense / income of a club periodically to the ex-comm, and with an approval of president you can furnish to the members. Always maintain transparency. Also as treasurer don’t wait for people to come and reimburse you, first take initiative and reimburse to them. This will create a good impression among members as they feel they are valued and retention will be high if you do so.”
Sergeant At Arms:
Thribhuvan is yet another friendly and popular face within District 82. Known for being the Conference Chair of Division G’s semi-annual conference, he has also chaired several humorous speech contests in his club. He is someone who brings the best out of every role he takes up.
We asked him about his tenure as the SAA. The Sergeant At Arms facilitates conducting meetings on the whole.
What has he learned from it? Thribhuvan says, “Day in and day out, it’s about learning. We would know where we to improve while performing each and every role. It might be an ex-comm role or a role in the club meeting, division, or the district. It has its own weightage and impact. This learning fills the gaps in improvement.
How impactful has it been on his career/career aspirations? “I have started my own business and running it. (This is the impact)”
What would he tell those who are standing for elections next year? He signs off by saying, “All roles in Toastmasters are unique and they all provide a different dimension to learning.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!