Developing Dynamic Leaders with Sharlene Cassel, Division D Director

“One of my leadership lessons has not been in the doing, but in knowing that you have done and can do it because you have learnt the skill and then teach somebody else to do it, letting them learn from their mistakes.”

Sharlene Cassel-Division D Director

Developing dynamic leaders is synonymous with Sharlene Cassel, the Division D Director. How does she manage to lead her Cape Town based dynamic team from Johannesburg, her hometown?  Online! It is very fortunate that technology is now mature enough for this to be practical. The Human Resources guru, who is passionate about making a difference through growing and developing leaders, was kind enough to take the time out and answer some questions I had about her leadership and the Division.

On how it feels to be in her new role, Sharlene said that it was “exciting and daunting at the same time.” In charge of 20 clubs, she is confident of her council’s competence, which includes five Area Directors namely, Nehemie Etaka of Area D1, Nwabisa Maseti of Area D2, Abigail Muchinenyika of Area D3, Nicki Seymour of Area D4 and Yanga Gceya of Area D5. Her team is made up of mostly young leaders, but with Sharlene’s track record of mentoring and coaching, combined with the experience of a few other leaders on the council, Division D is in safe hands.

“One of my leadership lessons has not been in the doing, but in knowing that you have done and can do it because you have learnt the skill and then teach somebody else to do it, letting them learn from their mistakes.” Sharlene explained, adding that,  “My leadership style is not about being hands on and micro managing, because that’s not who I am, it’s to know that the Area Directors are the tools to be doing what they need to be doing.”

 Sharlene, who has been a Toastmaster for more than nine years, after being introduced to it by her friend and mentor, Richard Riche, admits that getting to know the organization well is something that comes with time. It has been learn-by-doing from the word go for her from when she was first inaugurated as the President of her then newly chartered local club. Since then, she has served in all the executive committee roles, with some being held multiple times over. She has also been an Area Director, a club sponsor, club coach, a club mentor and also currently a TLI trainer. Sharlene’s original club, and an Advanced Club that she later sponsored in Johannesburg have continued to thrive and, “eleven Distinguished Toastmasters (DTMs) have come out of the two clubs in the past four years.”

At the end of her term, Sharlene’s idea of success is to have all her Division clubs vibrantly engaging with each other and more club awards, which is evidence that members are set in their educational tracks. “Becoming a better human being is what it’s all about and Toastmasters gives us a wonderful opportunity to do that,” said this avid reader who is also a hippophile, reminding us that it’s possible to claim a seat at the table, build a flourishing brand and create dynamic leaders through passion and dedication.

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