Hosted by the Madras Management Association, this is a live, reflective, non-commercial Conversation Series. AVIS' guests in this Series are Uncommon Leaders for a few special reasons: 1. They don't come from business/corporate backgrounds, but their journeys are inspirational because they have a teachable point of view. 2. The stories of these guests often demonstrate the power of Reflection, Resilience and Resourcefulness - key attributes of personal leadership and entrepreneurship. 3.Unfailingly, all guests have shown how their Happiness - coming from their doing what they truly believe in - has helped them make our world a better place! This Series is primarily focused at the business world/corporate sector which is continuously looking for uncommon perspectives on leadership and entrepreneurship to inspire its troops. It is also for any discerning student of management and leadership. AVIS brings his signature flourish to each Conversation, establishing how Happiness impacts living a Life of Purpose and helps deliver leadership, entrepreneurship and High-Performance in any context in Life.
The Series began in April 2016. Please scroll down to see pictures and videos from Editions in 2018.
The Uncommon Leader: November 13, 2018 featuring Harry Maclure, Editor - "Anglos in The Wind", Film Maker and Designer
In the 20th Edition of the Series, we feature Harry MacLure - Editor - 'Anglos In The Wind', Film-maker & Designer. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Harry was a young bartender at the Hyatt Regency in Kuwait City. Harry lost everything in fleeing that crisis-situation; for three weeks he barely got a meal a day in the refugee camp in Jordan. Miraculously he found himself back on a flight to India. And when he landed in Mumbai he decided that he would never relocate to a foreign city and instead resolved to live a meaningful Life in India itself. Soon, his Life's Purpose - of preserving the Anglo-Indian ethos and identity - found him! He first set up 'Anglos In The Wind', in 1998, as a quarterly magazine for the community. Despite the challenges involved in bringing it out, the magazine has survived for 20 years now. While he runs the Harry MacLure Design Studio to help him and his wife Jillian sustain themselves, Harry invests their additional resources and his time in activities relating to nurturing the community. He supports deserving Anglo-Indians through a monthly grant, he runs a publishing house that encourages Anglo-Indian writers and he continues to work on documentary films that showcase the history and the culture of the community over the past century in India. He's currently leading two ambitious projects. One is a full-length commercial feature film that he is directing called 'Calcutta, I'm Sorry' that releases in early 2019. And the second is the 11th World Anglo-Indian Reunion that is being hosted by him and his team in Chennai in January 2019. Why is Harry obsessed with wanting to preserve the 500-year-old Anglo-Indian community's story and identity? How does he find the resources to help him onward with his Life's Purpose? Where does he find the inspiration to keep going despite the humongous odds that are stacked up against him? Harry's is a story of living a Life of Purpose, focused on a Vision and demonstrating grit to stay on the path - these are key entrepreneurial traits. Please join us as AVIS chats up Harry in a never-before Conversation. There will surely be significant and relevant perspectives for you to take away, whether you are a manager, entrepreneur, business leader or management student!
The Uncommon Leader: September 7, 2018 featuring Anil Srinivasan, Founder & Dr.Sudha Raja, Program Head of Rhapsody- Education through Music.
In the 19th Edition of the Series, we feature Anil Srinivasan, Founder & Dr.Sudha Raja, Head of Programs, Rhapsody - Education through Music. Anil gave up a PhD at Columbia University in the US to follow his bliss - music. In the past 13 years, since returning to India, Anil has established himself not just as a world-class musician, collaborating with artistes across genres, but also as a thought leader in the field. A lesser-known fact about Anil though is that he is leading an initiative that is enabling and empowering education among children through music. His social-entrepreneurship venture Rhapsody, set up in 2013, today impacts 216,000 children across 144 schools in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and New Delhi. Working alongside Anil, and helming a team of 76 teachers, is Dr.Sudha Raja, an eminent music scholar, singer and teacher. She is Rhapsody's super-energetic Program Head. Sudha curates music lessons so they fit into the frameworks prescribed by the different academic boards that administer education in India. So, whether it is to understand fractions in math or the role of chlorophyll in leaves, there's a song, there's a rhythmic pattern, that helps children internalize complex concepts better. The Rhapsody team's research has resulted in the development of 444 multi-modal, multi-genre and multi-disciplinary lessons for children between the ages of 3 and 13. Now, that's a momentous break-through to achieve in our country's seemingly impregnable education system. Why have Anil and Sudha chosen do what they are doing with Rhapsody? Why do they believe music must be accessible and meaningful to children - not just as a hobby but as an art form that develops and molds a child's outlook to Life? What has been their experience setting up this venture - working with governments and educational institutions over the past 5 years? AVIS hopes to have Anil and Sudha answer these questions, and some more, to glean valuable lessons in social-entrepreneurship. The Rhapsody journey has just begun. But the initiative has already blazed an inspirational trail. Whether you are a manager, entrepreneur, business leader or management student - there sure will be a significant and relevant perspective for you to take away!
The Uncommon Leader: July 10, 2018 featuring Naveen Mahesh & Raaji Naveen, Co-Creators, Headstart Learning Centre.
In 2005, Raaji and Naveen gave up their promising professional careers in the United States and returned to Chennai. They wanted to live closer to their parents. At that time, they didn't quite imagine that they would end up incubating an idea that has the potential to change the way education is perceived and developed in India. Naveen began by helping with a primary school that his mother Sudha had set up in 1995. But he soon found himself asking fundamental questions: what is the purpose of our education system - is it to prepare children for Life or is it merely to prepare them from exams? His quest, and his thought-provoking conversations with Raaji, led them both to launch the Headstart Learning Centre (HLC) with a singular focus on re-imagining the learning environment for children. 13 years on, Headstart is recognized as an Ashoka Changemaker School. It has seeded and grown five, never-before, game-changing concepts in education that aim to make children inquiring, knowledgeable, empowered and caring global citizens. Raaji's and Naveen's journey with HLC is powered by a sense of Purpose, it has a crystal-clear Vision, it is driven by staunch adherence to a set of Values, it challenges status quo and is qualified by their persevering spirit. These are key entrepreneurial traits. AVIS gleans several learnings from this inspiring couple in this conversation. You sure will take away something significant and relevant - whether you are a manager, entrepreneur, business leader or management student!
The Uncommon Leader: May 15, 2018 featuring Dr.P.Srinivasan, Founder, Jeevan Stem Cell Bank
Who is a Buddha? Anyone who understands the impermanence of Life and is "living" each day fully. Who is a Social Entrepreneur? Anyone who asks "How can I serve?" instead of merely saying "I deserve!" And who is both a Buddha & a Social Entrepreneur? As we discovered in this Edition of #TheUncommonLeader Series (hosted by MMA) - Dr.Srinivasan Periathiruvadi of Jeevan is just that, a Buddha and a Social Entrepreneur!!! It was a beautiful conversation marked with Dr.Srinivasan's legendary candor and peppered with several nuggets of wisdom from the 40+ years of his roller-coaster entrepreneurial journey. We talked about leadership, Vision, faith, miracles, letting go, moving on and yet about carrying on despite the odds.
The Uncommon Leader: March 27, 2018 featuring Sriram Ayer, CEO and Founder, Nalandaway Trust
In the 16th Edition of the Series, we feature Sriram Ayer, Social Entrepreneur and Founder, NalandaWay Foundation. Sriram had a well-paying corporate job and Life happened to be going “just fine”. But witnessing the 2002 Gujarat riots up close changed everything. It prompted him to ask existential questions. In December 2004, when Sriram was at work, a young boy came selling agarbathis. The boy wanted to study and was earning a livelihood from his post-school, evening job. The riots had stirred something within Sriram but the young agarbathi-seller’s resilience inspired him to take action. He set up the non-profit NalandaWay in 2005, which works with children from the poorest districts in India, helping them raise their voices and issues through theatre, visual arts, music, dance, radio and films. In its 13 years, NalandaWay has touched over a million children and currently impacts 54,000 children across 136 schools, in Delhi, Haryana and Tamil Nadu. Sriram is an Ashoka Fellow and has been named among the top 50 social entrepreneurs in India by Outlook Business. Bringing about sweeping social change requires a Vision and the perseverance to stay on course over a long period of time. These are traits that are crucial to entrepreneurs too. In this conversation, AVIS explores Sriram's journey of founding and leading NalandaWay and glean lessons in entrepreneurship from him. You are sure to find relevant takeaways - whether you are a manager, entrepreneur, business leader or management student!