How did Women L.E.A.D. come to be?
One day, our seven founding team members (Abhijeet Joshi, Dr. Anita Jindal, Megan Mayer, Mina Malloy, Renee Yao, Shoba Rao, and Sravanthi Kuchibhotla) met and discussed our life’s mission. One thing led to another, we thought starting something together would be a great idea, given the great chemistry we had. All of us have been Toastmasters for the last few years and love what we have learned from the community, so we decided to contribute back. The entire planning process took about an hour. We first wrote down everything that mattered to us: public speaking, leadership, empowerment, inclusiveness, cultures, learning, etc. Then we quickly narrowed down that we’d build a Toastmasters club with empowerment as a main theme. Shortly after that, a mission, a purpose, format, and themes were born.
The mission is to empower people to take charge of their advancement, leadership, and communication across cultures. The purpose was to provide a platform to build future women leaders to empower and uplift others, to find your voice and express your ideas, and to share ideas across cultures. The format was bi-weekly, regular, theme-based Toastmasters meetings that last one hour and 15 minutes and a monthly pop-up workshop.
We then started with the following themes on the paper as each one of us resonated with that well.
- Women Leaders in history
- Challenges of Immigrants
- Fortune 500 Female CEOs
- Diversity and Inclusion in Tech
- Journey of Technical Women Leaders
- Mentors and Sponsors
- Working Across Cultures
- Continuous Learning Through Advancement
- Crucial Conversations
- Overcoming Hostile Work Environment
- Returning Back to Work
Overtime, the club was chartered on Jan 24, 2021 (US’ inauguration date), our new terms of officers were selected, and new themes were refined.
We now reach people in over 50 countries. Many of the paying members are from industries in semiconductor, law, environmental science, healthcare, higher education, consulting, retail, tech, and marketing. We come from schools like Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, Harvard, University of Washington, Virginia Tech, University of Mumbai, University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, Davis, University of California, Irvine, Santa Clara University, Northwestern University, and North Carolina State University. We are small business owners, business and technical leaders in our industries, invested in our futures and others.