Ray Willis, District Director
Ray Willis, DTM
Ray joined Toastmasters on April 1st, 2015, and has since earned three Distinguished Toastmasters (DTM) awards. He is passionate about helping new Toastmasters get the most out of their educational opportunities. He is currently involved with nine Toastmasters clubs as a member, coach, and officer. Demonstrating he believes the advice he has given others, he completed all 11 Paths in the Pathways educational program at least once and serves as a Pathways instructor in Multiple Districts. He is often called Mr. Pathways by those who know and love his enthusiasm for helping others learn effective leadership skills and to speak with excellence.
Ray’s successful, well-developed Servant Leadership style, along with his excellent social work and casework supervisor training, provide the base that helps him build effective, loyal, long-term relationships.
Ray served 20 years in the United States Air Force and held significant leadership positions. He has taught at the college and university level and served as the Director of Technical Computer Education at Cowley College. Ray has owned several small businesses, including a computer business and a boarding stable with a tack shop, and is a certified Farrier in his life outside of Toastmasters.
Ron Mixer, Program Quality Director
Ron Mixer, PM3
“Forty-six years ago, I gave my first sermon to my first congregation. When it was over my knees hurt from knocking so much. I shudder to think how many audible pauses there were, and I know I held on to the pulpit as tight as I could.” Today that experience becomes vivid in Ron’s mind every time he sees a new Toastmaster give their “Ice Breaker” speech. Because of Toastmasters Ron had the privilege to develop his speaking skills, speech writing skills, and the opportunity to speak many times to crowds of thousands of people during church conventions across denominational lines throughout America. As a retired pastor, Ron enjoys speaking often and credits much of his success as a speaker to his first Toastmaster Mentor, David Brennen, DTM. In his opinion, there is no better way to develop your speaking and leadership skills than Toastmasters. There are many speaking programs available to would-be speakers, but none offer opportunities to learn leadership skills that will help in all aspects of life.
Ron is married to Glenda and has two daughters, two sons-in-law, and six grandchildren. His youngest daughter is a District 16 Toastmaster and a club officer and speaks at medical conferences. His oldest daughter is an analyst for a major telecommunications company. Ron is the founding Team Lead for the District 16 New Member Orientation program, has served as an Area Director, and held several club offices. He states it is a true honor to be a part of leading District 16 for 2023-2024.
Praveen Nagarajan, Club Growth Director
Praveen Nagarajan, DTM
Toastmasters has changed my life. In 2017, my son’s health was deteriorating. My supervisor took me to Toastmasters. I used to be Introvert, preferring to listen rather than speak. Since I joined Toastmasters, I started to speak almost every week. My home club members provided feedback which helped me grow. I have achieved the Distinguished Toastmaster award in less than 3 years. Triple Crown has become a habit I have achieved for the past 6 years. I successfully led my Area and Division to Select Distinguished status as an Area Director and Division Director. I received the Area Director of the Division and Division Director of the year awards.
Life has been challenging as a special needs dad. Toastmasters helped me heal, provide the network to socialize, built confidence, and expanded my leadership and communication skills both personally and professionally. I was able to convert my vision to serve the special needs community into reality. The Toastmasters experience helped me to lead a pilot Employee Resource Group in my company. The Diverse Abilities Network pilot program, supporting employees, caregivers, and advocates of people with disabilities was launched in 2021 under my leadership and became a permanent Employee Resource Group in 2022. Our goal was to have at least 30 members in the launch year, but we achieved 300 members at the time of launch.
I am honored to serve as the Club Growth Director for District 16. I have 18+ years of experience in information technology serving customers across 5 continents. Toastmasters has changed my life. I want to share my leadership and communication skills with everyone. I want to build relationships and achieve excellence in Club Growth.