1. How important is 'Inspiration' and 'Newness' in an organization like Toastmasters that is structurally…
A Toastmaster with Passion and a Leader with Experience. Being practical and value driven, he likes to focus on doing small things that make a big difference.
Distinguished Toastmaster – Embodying the core values of Toastmasters for the past 16 years, Nagaraja has served as President’s Distinguished District Director (World #1), Region Advisor, and most recently as International Director. For his active contribution in growing the movement in South Asia, Toastmasters International awarded him in 2012 with the highest honor, Presidential Citation.
Global Entrepreneur – The business Nagaraja co-founded in 1988, Ganesh Food Products, has grown from a regional entity to an international brand. Built on the core values of Taste (Quality), Trust (Ethics), and Tradition, (Pay it forward) Bayar’s Coffee has won multiple awards for business excellence. His clients and customers include major café chains such as Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts, and Costa Coffee.
Business Mentor – As a global business leader, he routinely addresses conferences sharing his experience in leadership and business. He also mentors individuals and organizations on leadership principles, financial planning, and business strategy.
Philanthropist – Nagaraja believes that the quality of leaders is reflected in the way they give back to society. As a Trustee of Amruthur Education Trust, he helps provide quality education to rural children. As a volunteer of various charities, he also helps provide job opportunities for under-privileged sections of society.
Family Guy – Happily married for 24 years to Arathi, a school teacher Nagaraja lives in Bangalore, the “garden City of India”, now also known as the “Silicon Valley of India”. They are blessed with two wonderful daughters who are pursuing their graduation in Architecture and Business Administration, respectively.
Nagaraja Rao is a true Toastmaster at heart and carries the fervor of Toastmasters wherever he goes. He has applied the lessons he learnt in Toastmasters in his business and has achieved remarkable success. Nagaraja has coached several individuals to become champion speakers and great leaders. His ability to generate simple solutions to complex issues, along with his pleasant nature, makes him an excellent mentor.
His love for coffee and a penchant for entrepreneurship have blended perfectly to create business success. Nagaraja is the executive director of Ganesh Food Products (Pvt) Ltd., which owns the brand Bayar´s Coffee
From Member to International Director, Entrepreneur to Global Business Leader, my guiding principle has always been “Be the Difference.” I firmly believe that nothing of consequence happens in this world unless someone decides to make it happen. I live by three simple qualities to “Be the Difference.”
Ownership – Being the eldest of three siblings and the CEO of my company, I have always been expected to take ownership not only for myself, but also for my family and the people working with me. I have found success in both Toastmasters and business, by fostering a culture of ownership that stands on the pillars of values, accountability, and trust.
Embracing Opinions – In my 30 years of international business experience and 16 years in Toastmasters leadership, I have found success working in diverse environments by keeping an open mind, encouraging dialogue, and facilitating consensus. As an International Director on the Board, I learned to embrace the culture of healthy debates, collective decision-making, and speaking with one voice.
Paying it Forward – Experiencing support from Toastmasters’ members and mentors, I gained confidence and competence to transform my life. I find great joy now, in giving back to this movement contributing ideas, lending experience, and contributing towards the growth of Toastmasters.
With Pathways and the power of technology, I envision enormous opportunities to engage, empower, and enrich the lives of members. In a world that thirsts for better leaders in homes, workplaces, and communities, I believe that by serving a Million Motivated Members, we can develop a Million Motivated Leaders to truly “Be the Difference,” and realize the vision of Toastmasters International.
I propose a five-step framework to achieve this goal:
Respect Tradition: Toastmasters is on the cusp of turning a hundred years old. This is primarily due to the fact that the movement is built on a strong set of core values – Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence – that are embodied by members at every level. As we empower a new generation of members and leaders, we must continue to uphold these core values.
Embrace Innovation: World over, people and organizations fear change but our roots are strong. Therefore, we must forge ahead without fear. We must innovate in People, Process, and Technology, to anticipate and exceed expectations. A culture of embracing innovation in order to improve the quality, efficiency, and reliability of our service is imperative if we are to remain relevant in the future.
Engage Members: As Toastmasters grows, we must be sensitive to the nuances of diversity and demographics. We must recognize that the needs of members in growing markets and developed markets are unique to their respective circumstances. Steps have to be taken to engage members. We must be responsive to members’ issues and deliver the value members seek from Toastmasters by introducing measurement metrics that are not just quantitative but also qualitative.
Create Opportunities: Balancing tradition with innovation, and by leveraging technology, we should seek to create new opportunities for members to test their strengths, to grow, and to shine.
Make Leaders: I strongly believe that by employing the above framework, we can enable and empower our members to be effective leaders who can “Be the Difference.”
Nagaraja believes that the core of leadership lies in the heart of the member. Having experienced the joy and power of servant leadership, he is inspired to create a culture of empowerment where every member enjoys a sense of ownership, purpose, and belonging through acts of service.
All Districts achieved Select Distinguished District or above.
President’s Distinguished District #1 in the world, Chartered 73 new clubs.
President’s Distinguished District #1 in the world, earned 981 educational awards.
Distinguished Toastmaster (2008)
Public Relations Officer (2007-08)
Division Governor (2006-07)
“I first met Nagaraja Rao in 2015 at Las Vegas. Since then, I have come to admire his versatility in building a booming coffee business, serving Toastmasters and still dedicating quality time for his family. During my many trips to India, I have noticed that he has earned the appreciation and respect of a large number of people across the country. He makes a big difference by how he builds teams and selflessly allows others to grow into leaders. As an international leadership coach and as someone who studies leaders from around the world, I view Nagaraja as a case study of how, with proper planning, strategy and execution, someone from a humble background can rise into exceptional leadership positions at a global level. When I enquired “What makes large multinational companies choose you as their manufacturing partner?” Nagaraja’s answer summarises, who he is. He said “It is because they trust us.” With his decades of experience in leading both ‘for-profit’ and ‘not-for-profit’ organisations, Nagaraja has acquired a unique blend of business acumen and service mentality. I believe he can make a tremendous contribution to the organisation.”
“It is my pleasure to endorse the Candidacy of Nagaraja Rao, DTM, PID, PRA for Second Vice President of our wonderful organization. We need seasoned multifaceted leaders like him to lead us towards greater success. His experience as a Region Advisor, International Director and a Business Owner has given him the unique distinction of having both a ‘bird’s eye view’ and a ‘grass roots level perspective” His penchant for collaborative decision making and developing international partnerships has enabled him to develop a compelling vision for the future of Toastmasters.
I have personally known Nagaraja since 2010. I was impressed with his attitude of respect and true friendship not only towards me but to members from around the world. I have seen him grow in stature and maturity over the years. He and his wife Arathi are charming and truly treat Toastmasters as their family members. We shall have a caring, energetic and hardworking leader in Nagaraja Rao. I support his candidacy with all my heart.”
“To me, Nagaraja Rao has been highly successful in all aspects of his life. He is a person full of life wisdom, adroitly balancing work, family, and Toastmasters. It was my honor to work with him as a Program Quality Director and a District Director while he was serving as an International Director. By being supportive and responsive to our requests and concerns, he made a big difference! I admire his leadership style – calm and patient when faced with challenges and always making people feel comfortable. He is my role model.
One of the things I truly appreciate about Nagaraja is that he knows how to encourage and show his care and he also knows the right moment to do it. I still remember his valuable “leadership wisdom” which I received through email when I just got elected as District director. It had only 10 sentences but they were the quintessence of leadership. It inspired me, showed me the right direction and equipped me with confidence to lead as a District Director.
It will be invaluable for Toastmasters International to have him continue to serve in the top leadership. He has my wholehearted endorsement for the position of Second Vice President.”
“I had the pleasure of working with Nagaraja Rao for three years when I was the LGM, LGET and DD of District 76, Japan. He has visited us many times for delivering keynotes, training district leaders, and presenting corporate recognitions. I am particularly impressed by his integrity and his desire to help people. He is a gifted storyteller who inspires people to give their best by sharing his experience and values.
Although he and I were born in different parts of the world and grew up in different cultures, I feel a strong sense of connection with him. To me, he personifies the ideal of servant leadership.”
“Nagaraja Rao is an exemplary servant leader who has a proven track record in grooming talent. A founding pillar in the south Asian Toastmasters movement he has proven himself over and over again as a leader, a mentor and a prominent industry captain in India. Personally Nagaraja has been a mentor in my own journey, imparting invaluable advice and skills that have made a real difference to my development over the years. A humble human being who combines his passion for excellence with leadership, Nagaraja has set a standard for all of us to follow when it comes to selfless leadership. A visionary, exemplary human being and moreover a man worth following.”
1. How important is 'Inspiration' and 'Newness' in an organization like Toastmasters that is structurally…
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