Teh Tarik session with Rano Iskandar. This month’s featured member is Supatra Lee, an active member of the Brunei Speakers’ Club and served as the Vice President of Membership of Brunei Speakers’ Club in the term 2015-2016. She was also given a bigger opportunity to be a Deputy Chair Treasurer for the recent Brunei Conference 2016 (Semi-Annual District Convention). She has been involved in various speech contests and won at club level for the Humourous Speech Contest 2015. Let’s find out more what Supatra has to share.
Teh Tarik Session with Supatra Lee
Rano: How has your journey been after being part of the Exco role (2015-2016)?
Supatra: It was a great experience serving the club under Chris’s leadership. Two years ago, I would never have thought of approaching a stranger and initiating a conversation. Being the Vice President Membership gave me the drive to step out of my comfort zones and take the initiatives to talk to members and guests. After I have overcome my fear, it was actually quite fun listening to interesting stories from them.
The greatest thing that I learned along the journey is how to be a supportive team player. I can be quite opinionated at times, and prefer to take things under my control. Unfortunately, this will introduce conflicts in a team. A senior Toastmasters once told me that I had chosen my leader; my responsibility to him is to believe in him and support him at all cost. I took that advice to heart and since then my challenge was to leave behind my own doubts and learn how to align my President’s vision with mine through constant communication.
Rano: What have you learnt the most as a member of BSC?
Supatra: Initially, I joined the club with the aim to improve my public speaking skills. Along the journey, I discovered the beauty of teamwork, leadership, and social interactions. Before joining Toastmasters, I would usually avoid being involved in anything related to event organization. Toastmasters, however, provide a structured curriculum and platform (through the Competent Leadership manual) that allow me to overcome my fear and learn how to handle those tasks in a safe environment, with full support from all Toastmasters members. So far, I have helped out with several contests and conferences. I was the Organizing Chair for UBD contest last year, and am the Organizing Chair for the upcoming District contest. I look forward to gaining more experience, and hopefully one day, organizing an event will become peanuts to me. XP
Rano: You are involved in the treasury role in the Brunei Conference 2016? How has it been?
Supatra: I enjoy doing it. I like to be involved with numbers, accounting, analysis, and money! The part that I need to learn is to find a balance between customer experience and cost. My critical mind is always looking for ways to cut cost.
“This is a good-to-have but not a must-have. Do we need that many? We don’t need this. Why are we spending money on this?”
Fortunately, our Brunei Conference Treasurer is very customer-orientated. That keeps me back on track most of the time.
Supatra Lee receiving a token from the Organizing Chair of Brunei Conference 2016 for her involvement as the the Organizing Chair for Speech Contest and also being the Deputy Chair for Treasury for the Brunei Conference 2016
Rano: How have you applied communication and leadership in your work place?
Supatra: It definitely helped a lot with my presentation skills when I was in training, and also in ways to give positive feedbacks. I believe I’ll benefit more from the Advanced Manuals such as Technical Presentation and Specialty Speech.
Rano: How do you have a specific goal this year?
Supatra: To resume the motivation of doing speeches and achieve CC. To make mistakes and learn from them.
When I was an exco, there was a hidden pressure inside me to outperform every role I took in order to set a good example for members. It was even more challenging with the changes that were introduced to the club in terms of role playing and evaluation. Always aiming for perfection, I could definitely see tremendous growth in myself, and what I could achieve; but at the same time, I miss the freedom of being able to make mistakes without worry and try out new things without conforming to the club’s norms. You don’t really have that flexibility as an Exco. So now I’m back to being a normal member, I want to focus on speeches and do things at my own pace.
Rano: Any role models in toastmasters you look up to? What values you see him/her?
Supatra: Definitely people like Shawn, Ruey, Reuben and Allen are highly recognized due to their achievements in Contest or District Leadership roles. However, I would also like to highlight people who have joined Toastmasters for a very long time, and still continue their journey to support Toastmasters like Clovis, Genevieve, Richard, Nina, Rozana, and Liz to name a few. They might not be as prominent as people who are involved in the District roles, but they are always available to support the clubs and members when we need them. I believe that’s the real value of Toastmasters.
Rano: Do you see yourself more or a communicator or a leader?
Supatra: As of now, a communicator. I would love to be able to share my thoughts, share how I see the world, and eventually inspire people through my stories and speech; but to be a leader, you need to show people what you can do, convince people on your belief, and most importantly, be able to guide them and bring the best out of them. Only then, you can call yourself a leader. It is still a learning process for me and I hope I can be a great one in the future.