Heidi is a Special Duties Officer in the Prime Minister’s Office and a mother of three children. Despite her hectic life, she is a firm believer of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and having a positive outlook on life. She is a devoted gym-goer and a keen netball player. Heidi has great passion in self- development. She believes in dedicating herself to things she believes she can change, and on things she can make a difference.
How did you first hear about Toastmasters?
In 2012, my boss spoke to a group of us in his team about developing our communication skills. He invited Rozana Yunos from the Brunei Speaker’s Club to talk about Toastmasters. I was totally drawn to Rozana’s presentation. A few of us popped into the BSC the following Tuesday evening to check out a Toastmasters meeting and we were totally impressed by the speakers and the role players that evening. However, we were intimidated to see that everyone was so polished. I continued attending the meeting several times on my own as a guest that year but eventually succumbed to distractions and stopped attending.
Why did you join Toastmasters?
Stage fright. In May this year, I did a presentation at work. I know that piece of work inside out but my mind went frozen as I was presenting it to a group of 60 over people including senior officials in a lecture theatre. My lips trembled and my mind went blank. I forgot what I was going to say. I knew I needed help.
That evening, I decided to stop dwelling on it. I called up a friend to find out if the Brunei Speakers’ Club still exists and later headed straight to BSC on a Tuesday evening. That evening I saw a group of motivated and nice people; people who were good or those who just wanted to become better speakers. The room was filled with energy and laughter. I spoke to Allen Ang and Reuben Chin. Without hesitation, I signed up as a member the very next week. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
How long have you been in Toastmasters and how have Toastmasters helped you so far in your professional life?
5 months. I have developed my life in so many ways through the training and learning in Toastmasters.
I am very proud to acknowledge that Toastmasters have given much more than what I hoped for. In my professional life, it has helped me to improve my skills in chairing meetings and dialogues.
Toastmasters is not just for my work. I also realize this is one experience that I can dedicate to myself. It gives meaning to my life and guides my future opportunities. This realization allows me to enjoy Toastmasters even more. The progress I have made in managing my nerves, the leaderships skills I learnt, (which I did not know is part of Toastmasters’ teaching initially) and the supportive and motivating friends I have made in Toastmasters…. They have all given me so much fulfillment.
In the last 5 months, I learned that Toastmasters is a platform where our ability, knowledge, and dreams are stretched and extended. It has been indeed a worthwhile experience compared to any challenge I have to live up to.
As a Supermom, how do you balance your time between family, work, and Toastmasters?
It is never easy to balance work and life. This is my biggest struggle which I am still working on – to be a working mom who pursues the ultimate goal of “having it all”. My goal is a fulfilling home life, a rewarding career, and the energy to find time to develop myself – to be a Toastmaster.
There are a few very simple rules which I have mastered which I find them quite useful in order to manage work-life balance. First, I have learnt to sort out my priorities for myself, my family, and my work. Whenever things get too hectic, I will have a to-do-list, and then decide which to go first and are those that can wait. Second, I have learned to delegate. I can’t do everything myself and must trust others. This helps me to focus on what really matters. On this, I have to which acknowledge that my hubby and my parents are tremendous help. My domestic help is also a great assistance whom I must acknowledge. I also try to fit in some time to focus on developing myself, such as Toastmasters. To me, this is important to have a more balanced life.
How has your mentor, Rano, guided and helped you in your Toastmasters journey so far?
Rano is a great and fun mentor. He will make time to sit down with me before every role and every prepared speech no matter how busy he is.
Rano has guided me through the transition period as I first joined TM. He has done a great job motivating me and in getting my involvement and interest. This is an important element to put me in the right mindset, to open up and learn from those around me, no matter who they are and no matter where I am in the process, to nurture my confidence.
My progress in TM cannot be achieved without the sincere support and mentorship by Rano. Of course I must not forget Ruey Narcis, who is always there for me when I need help and encouragement, as well as Allen Ang, Dr. Chris Woo. I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of them for believing in me and of course their time, support, and patience.
What do you like to do during your leisure time?
Cooking and working out in the gym.
I love cooking since young. It takes my mind off stress and helps me to relax. I enjoy having family get-togethers with a simple meal prepared.
I am not a weight trainer fanatic but make it a point to have at least half an hour of workout, at least 4 times in a week. It can be anything from Zumba, hiking, thread mill or netball. I think it is absolutely necessary to have this “me time” to unwind and recharge myself.
Who is your inspiration in life and why?
I am inspired by people who can focus on the positives instead on negatives in times of challenge; who can still smile while in pain. These people give me hope and determination to keep on fighting challenges in life, to make the best of what I have. They make a difference in my outlook in life.
I am inspired by many friends I meet in toastmasters. They are resilient go-getters. Hearing their stories, seeing how they work hard and determined in preparing their speeches and contest, their optimism makes me want to work harder to achieve my goal.
I am also inspired by the love people have for their children, especially working mothers who can juggle well with work and home. And I am inspired by my 3 kids, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work hard to give them a better future and they make me want to be a better mother.
What are your goals in Toastmasters for this term (2015-2016)?
My goal is to finish my Competent Communicator Manual within a year, and continue to serve as many roles as I can in TM meetings to improve my leadership skills.
Toastmasters has been a bright spot in my life in the past 5 months. It has increased my confidence and brought me out of my shell! I’m looking forward to much more growth with TM, feeling very blessed to be a part of it!