LEAD Prayana 2016: A Recap!
LEAD Prayana, which began in 2012 with just 63 students, is an annual leadership journey that takes almost 150 passionate students between the ages of 18-26 throughout India on a 14-day tour across Karnataka. Packed with site visits, role model sessions, and hands-on activities, LEAD Prayana inspires students by exposing them to individuals and institutions which have innovated and implemented solutions to major challenges. Through this leadership journey. LEAD aims to instill in the participants a need to bring change through effective leadership.
VTU played host to the Belagavi kick-off ceremony, where after the lighting of the ceremonial flame, students and honoured guests alike were treated to a rousing speech by Mr. H. Maheshappa, Vice Chancellor of VTU. While Mr. Maheshappa shared his six traits of a true leader, he noted that in fact, “leadership is an enigma, but we know it when we see it”. However, it was Mr. Maheshappa’s instructions to the budding student leaders and future entrepreneurs before him that garnered the most applause: “you shouldn’t be job seekers… you should be making the jobs, being jobs providers!”
Mr. Naveen Jha, CEO of Deshpande Foundation and the person who dreamed up and made real the LEAD program in 2008, also shared the stage as an honoured guest. Mr. Jha shared the learnings from his years of leadership experience, and told the students that this leadership journey would “take them to the ocean”, but it was their choice if they would seize this monumental opportunity to develop their leadership skills by jumping in, or simply dip a toe. This is one reason why this program seems so unique: students must learn to take initiative and become leaders, rather than simply have opportunities handed to them.
The kick-off also featured speakers from the LEAD program and alumni of LEAD Prayana who shared their tips and stories with these eager new “Prayanees”, as they are affectionately referred to. After the students were sufficiently motivated to start their journey, a ceremonial flag-off was held. The first bus drove out of the VTU campus to applause, drums, and flags waving, the future student LEADers sticking their heads out of the bus windows, cheering with excitement for the two weeks ahead.
Fifth Day at S-Vyasa and Jain University, Bengaluru
Sixth Day at Microsoft Ventures, Bengaluru
First was Mr. Musthafa PC, once a school drop-out who later held a high-profile IT job in Dubai, but returned to India to spend more time with family and give back to the community. Mr. PC is the founder of iD Fresh, an idly and dosa batter company that employs 650 individuals whom otherwise would be unemployed or not fulfilling their potential. Determine the purpose of your life, and then “ask yourself, what you will do to achieve that purpose?” Mr. PC told the audience, emphasizing the importance of giving back to the community and having strong values and sincerity in any leadership or entrepreneurial role.
The founder of LEAF, Mr. Nair, also addressed the 130+ student leaders while at Microsoft Ventures. “As long as the curiosity is there, you are young”, he told the Prayanees, in a presentation that informed about the agricultural industry and maintaining profitability in this sector that is so prevalent in the Indian economy.
Ninth and Tenth Day at Dharmasthala
The Institute under Pathmavibhushan Dr. Dharmasthala Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala (SDM), provides all kinds charity and services to the needy through RUDSET Institute, SDM Trust, Shantivana Trust, medical trust, Siddhavana, and Rathnamanasa Gurukula which add more value to Indian culture. The Manjusha and his vast museum are the spotlights of this trust. Shri Kshetra Dharmastala Rural Development program and Gyana Vikas Mahila program are the rays of hope and lifeline to the Kshetra believers trying to find the path of life, not to neglect that the mahotsavas are totally a delight for the eyes. “Dharmastala is a place of realization, it is a place of love, it is a place of humble belief and people, and it is a place of faith and hope… Dharmastala is a place to be” says a student participant from Lead Prayana 2016.
Eleventh day at Manipal, Udupi
Vice Chancellor and the face of Manipal University the world over, Dr. Hattangadi Vinod Bhat, integrated himself with the vibrant young minds travelling across Karnataka with the leadership program LEAD Prayana. He has been spearheading the diversification of the Manipal University course offerings, international collaborations, and instilling leadership and research skills in the Manipal students. He is the man responsible for the spectacular growth in external research, specializations in field of community medicine, and newfound involvement in service-oriented activities for the students.
Answering the questions students had for him, Dr. Bhat talked about “changing landscapes” from Hubballi to Udupi and how it helped him to realize the necessity of coming back to Manipal. His early schooling in Udupi district, after which he lived in various cities around the country with his family, made him realize that healthcare interventions produced better results when approached in other ways. He shared how his rural centre at Karkala was entrusted with the responsibility of creating a healthcare facility thanks to his tedious work.
After the session, students were taken all over the university campus, including the anatomy and physiology museum, library (one of Asia’s largest), the Marina Indoor Games Stadium, and the planetarium. The students’ inquisitiveness in learning about aviation, robotics, and upcoming inventions in technology was quenched during their Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) visit.
The 15 day leadership journey then left for its next destination, Hubballi-Dharwad, after enjoying the sunset at Malpe Beach.
Day ended with the most awaited sessions of the whole journey. The interaction rather be called as
the productive flow of ideas from a legendary like Dr. Gururaj ‘Desh’ Deshpande to the yet to be entrepreneurs cleared almost every misconception an entrepreneur can ever have. If people are considering their obstacles as the biggest hurdles of their lives, the inspiring session by Ms. Malathi Holla definitely proved that sometimes the hurdles do give us a chance to jump higher than we can ever expect that we can.
The 13th day of LEAD Prayana triggered its day off sessions by Dr. A. Velumani, a scientist turned entrepreneur, CEO and creator of Thyrocare Technologies Limited, world’s largest thyroid testing laboratory. Born and brought up in “Luxury of poverty” which fueled his desire to start an affordable enterprise. With much experience and passion associated with thyroid, he quit is job in BARC to start his own chain of thyroid testing laboratories. With just an initial investment of one lakh rupees. A man of wit and strong determination left the session promising his presence in the upcoming LEAD Prayana to inspire the next budding youth.
The day of sessions continued with the lady Pioneer of Personal Branding in India, Tanvi Bhatt. Founder and Managing Director of Panache-India’s Premier Personal Branding Company, Tanvi interacted with students taking them to her own personal story of leaving behind engineering and evolving out to create her own space in the business field.
Surprising the audience Dr Shalini Rajneesh IAS Principal Secretary, Backward Classes and welfare Department at GoK, entered the hall to question our youngsters to challenge problems our country was facing and find necessary solutions themselves. She insisted on necessity to form self help groups in the rural areas to decrease the dependency as the civil servants to public ratio is out of reach in over populated countries like India.
The next speaker was introduced by LEAD functional head Ajay Suman Shukla. Though “needs no introduction”. Mr Narayana Murthy, Chairman Emeritus of Infosys, earned a standing ovation, before even speaking question and anser session was conducted with the eager audience. “Its only entrepreneurs that can turn idea into jobs for others” was only one among a myriad of quotable moments with the business and IT legend.
The youth for change rally then began with the hundreds of Yuva Summit attendees spreading their energy and positive spirit to the streets of Hubballi as they walked to the Gateway Hotel Lakeside, led by LEAD functional head Ajay Suman Shukla and Cofounder of the Deshpande Foundation Mrs. Jaishree Deshpande.
The Last day of Prayana, Graduation Ceremony
Sooner or later everyone will discover that the important moments in lifes are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the goals achieved, the real milestones are more simpler and heartfelt warmer. Thelast day of LEAD prayana February 7th!!