Gerald recently graduated with a Masters in Energy Studies from UBD last year and is currently working as a Network Engineer. He served Brunei Speakers’ Club as Vice President Public Relations and Division K’s Public Relations director for the term 2015/2016, and is the incoming Vice President Education for the term 2016/2017. Gerald is usually spotted behind the camera during travels, conferences and events. He firmly believes in excelling in any pursuit with desire and passion.
How did you first hear about Toastmasters?
I was invited by Reuben Chin (who was invited by Stuart) as a fellow guest to attend one of Brunei Speakers’ Club meetings. Prior to that evening, I had no knowledge what Toastmasters is about. So I attended out of curiosity.
Why did you join Toastmasters?
Before joining Toastmasters, I was enrolled in a Master Degree program with UBD. I dreaded the inevitable need to deliver presentations which makes up the grading scheme. The last time I gave an academic presentation was years ago which I trembled so badly. Upon seeing how Toastmasters education could augment my presentation and interpersonal skills, I immediately signed up. When the day came, I fondly delivered my final thesis presentation that my research supervisor praised me for doing well. Since then, I found new reasons to stay on.
How long have you been in Toastmasters and how have Toastmasters helped you so far in your professional life?
It has been 2 years since I’ve been with Toastmasters. Since then I’ve developed keen sensitivity to utilization of time, refined acuity of hearing and expanded my communicative skills. Utilizing skills gained from Toastmasters, I’ve learned the importance articulating intentions with confidence and influence decisions with finesse at work. As a team leader, I used my evaluation skills to motivate team members and used my leadership skills to inculcate teamwork.
You did not know much about Public Relations when you first took the role as VPPR, but managed to excel in your role now. Tell us about your learning experience in Public Relations.
Before I took on the role VPPR, I was part of Seng Yee’s (Immediate Past VPPR) PR team as a photographer and I was somewhat acquainted to what the role entails. Thanks to Reuben and Jordan who professionally have been in PR and Marketing industry, I was taught the technical aspects of it. From Toastmasters International’s vast online resource I assimilated as much as I could on how to publicize our club and the program to the local community. Before I knew it, I was writing press releases, scheduling publications on social media and collaborating with other VPPRs to photograph TM contest and events. The whole experience was a huge steep learning curve for me. But nevertheless, learning a new trade is fulfilling as well as rewarding that I continually pursue excellence in I what do.
The weekly Meeting Recap on our blog has loyal readers inside and outside of Brunei. Share with us some of the difficulties that you faced in order to keep it going.
The first step in any endeavor is the hardest before it gets easy. When the term began, we had a small committed team to take turn photographing meetings and writing recaps that I was afraid it might turn out to be monotonous. My first challenge was to identify dedicated individuals and invite them on to the team. Today, I am immensely thankful for the team I’ve gathered because writing was never my strongest suit and the only avenue was to learn from each other. Hence, each week we would proofread each other’s meeting recap to learn various methods of writing.
You are an avid photographer. When and why did you start to take up this hobby?
Photographs that you take are the best souvenir to bring home from each travel. I don’t fancy buying physical souvenirs that I will eventually forget where I got it from. Instead, I enjoy taking pictures that I can geo-tag while I travel because it is highly portable, doesn’t cost a dime and a lot of thought goes into composing a shot. Much like a painter who works on a canvas. I attribute my enthusiasm for photography to the abundance of time in Brunei 7 years ago. I picked up the camera to explore my creativity, to appreciate and capture the aesthetics of life.
Who is your inspiration in life and why?
My inspiration in life does not stem from a single person but from many who like me pursue for the betterment of themselves. Each time their progress is realized, I become inspired to follow and take the challenge because they are my reminder that success does not come without strive.
As an incoming VPE, what are your goals in Toastmasters for this term (2016-2017)?
As VPPR, I’ve helped bring in new members into the club. Since then, their progress have been so astounding that I found a calling to see them through their journey as VPE. This term, I look forward to helping members achieve their original intention of joining Toastmasters as I have when I needed help in presenting my final thesis. Finally, to jump-start my educational tracks in communications and leadership to achieve at least 3 titles this term.