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Division F Director Candidate 2022-2023

Candidate’s Name: Karen Jakes, DTM

Toastmasters member since: December 1992


  • Bachelor of Science, Computer Science & Mathematics, Minor in Music
  • Master of Science, Management


Toastmasters offices held and terms of service:

  • Area Governor 2010- 2011
  • Division Governor 2012 – 2013 and 2013 – 2014
  • Area Director 2021 – present
  • President (4)
  • VP Education (1)
  • VP Membership (5)
  • Treasurer (9)


Toastmasters honors and recognition:

  • Executive Assistant to Division Governor (2 years)
  • Club Retention Assistant to Club Growth Director


Relevant work experience and how it relates to Toastmasters and your role as a District leader:

  • Director, Systems Administration (TSYS)
  • Community Investment Volunteer (United Way)
  • Associate Director, Systems Administration (TSYS)
  • Senior Technical Consultant (TSYS)


These positions were within the 29 years I was employed with TSYS. All of the previous communication and leadership curriculum allowed me to apply what I learned to my project plans as well as leadership development…it is important to build relationships, effective coaching, innovative planning and collaboration.

What experience do you have in strategic planning?

My strategic planning experience centered around my ability to move machinery and team members during two data center relocations.  Even though there were so many moving pieces, it was important that all of my leaders kept our eyes on the big picture of the final layout. being responsible for $20M+ in equipment and $6M in people and applying it to customer satisfaction is an amazing opportunity.

What experience do you have in the area of finance?

I was responsible for the people, software and hardware in my area in the amount of $21M.

What experience do you have in developing procedures?

I was responsible for developing a new procurement procedure when purchasing for the last data center to which I migrated.

What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?

I learned to lead from the back which allows you to be more acquainted with the qualities I needed to have my leaders side by side.

Why do you want to serve as a District leader?

I feel that I have so much to offer and learn at that level.

In your opinion, what are the District mission’s major objectives and how would you work to achieve them?

I believe the District Objectives are to be inclusive from the youngest to the oldest, learn from each experience and offer “a new thing” based on “history and surprises.”

Additional information about yourself:

This will be my 3rd opportunity to support the district in leadership  and mentor a successor as well. I love how it feels to share my leadership and learning experience with those who want to learn.