LEAD Leadership Program batch:2 2013


From July 12th  to July 21st,  2013, 65 college students from across different regions of Karnataka participated in the Deshpande Foundation’s LEAD Leadership Program.  LEAD Leadership Program aims to help students become strong leaders through practical exposure to an array of subjects, site visits, and guest speaker sessions.

Daily Sessions
During their daily IT, Communication, and Leadership sessions, students learned and practiced many important skills that will benefit them in their personal and professional development.  In their IT sessions, students learned how to create accounts and effectively use sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Gmail.  Students also learned about important computer programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel.  In the communication sessions, students learned about and practiced the principles of interpersonal communication.  In addition, they also learned resume and cover letter writing.  Leadership sessions consisted of brainstorming, team building and communication activities, and group discussions to foster students’ understanding of leadership and to hone in on their leadership skills.
Site Visits
Seven Beans 

Seven Beans aims to change the way that people “hang out” in India.  Seven Beans is an eclectic Hubli landmark that not only serves delicious coffee beverages and food, but also provides customers with a unique and meaningful experience.

Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya
Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya (KSV) provides an academic and musical education, in addition to food, accommodation, and health care, to two hundred underprivileged children, free of charge.  Upon their arrival at KSV, the students
toured the grounds and observed some of the children during their music and acting classes.  After the tour, Adam Wood (Director, KSV) taught the students about KSV’s history, impact, and future plans.  The students then worked together to move some heavy construction materials away from the main path to ensure more accessibility to the pathways and classrooms. In the evening, the KSV children gave musical and theatrical performances for the LLP students.  The LLP students also got the chance to perform and showcase their many talents!
Akshaya Patra Foundation
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is the largest kitchen in India and provides daily meals for 1.3 million schoolchildren across nine different states.    The students enjoyed a full kitchen tour, as well as an interactive learning session where they were able to ask in detail about Akshaya Patra’s method, outreach, and successes.



Agastya Foundation 
The Agastya Foundation aims to change and improve education throughout India, and runs the largest hands-on science program in the world. At Agastya, students had the opportunity to tour the premises and try out some of the science models.

Guest Speaker Sessions
Students engaged in several interactive guest speaker sessions with reputed speakers from across a variety of sectors and organizations.

Vivek Pawar (Founder and CEO of Sankalp Semiconductor)
Vivek taught the students about the importance of “unconscious learning” and asking questions in order to achieve unconscious learning.  Vivek told the students, “Forget about answers.  Ask questions to get the right thinking process…the answers are within us.” He also urged the students to embrace failure as an important process of learning.  He said, “When failure is there, learning is more.”


Gaurav Shah (Co-Founder and CEO, Seven Beans)

Gaurav shared six very important pieces of advice with the students.  He encouraged the students to “ignore the real world”, “make meaning”, “get going”, “define a business model”, and “weave a M.A.T (milestones, assumptions, and tasks).”  He also inspired the students to maintain optimism through adversity and failure.  Most importantly, though, he told the students to not wait to pursue their ideas.  Gaurav said, “Ideas are a dime a dozen…At the end of the day, the most important part is implementing them.”
Vivek Nayak (Founder, Ken Agritech Ltd).

Ken Agritech Ltd. supplies vegetables in industrial and retail packages within India and throughout Europe. The students had a very interactive session with Vivek and were able to ask him questions regarding entrepreneurship and maintaining uniqueness while starting a business.

Sasishekar (CEO, Nanopix)
Nanopix is an image processing and industry automation company which provides solutions based on image processing and control systems in various fields of application including sports, industry controls, bio-technology and security industries.  Sasi encouraged the students to pursue their passions and to learn for the sake of interest, not for the sake of marks or a degree.



Shravani Hagargi (Founder, Safe Hands 24×7)Safe Hands 24×7 is a company that appoints and manages security and housekeeping personnel to different households and organizations.  The company is unique in that it provides women security guards to meet the specific needs or organizations, such as girls’ hostels or women’s colleges.  Employing these women has helped improve the livelihoods of many families.

Shravani stressed the importance of making decisions for oneself, rather than letting other people making decisions on your behalf.  She said, “Hard times will come, but decisions are very important. Anyone can do anything and there is no limit.  But they have to work hard.”
Sameer Shukla (Dharwad District Commissioner)

As the District Commissioner, Sameer oversees all government procedures in the Hubli-Dharwad region.  He spoke to the students about his exact duties as District Commissioner and addressed public concern of government “loopholes” and. His most important message to the students, though, was “listen to yourself”.  Sameer initially came from an engineering background, but was not satisfied with his engineering work. He decided to shift and work in public service.  While many criticized his decision, Sameer listened to himself and his own desires.  He now says that while a job in engineering would most likely provide more financial benefits, he has the opportunity to help thousands of people every day, which has provided more meaning for his life.


Dr. Simone Ahuja (Co-author, Jugaad Innovation)
“Jugaad” is a Hindi word that essentially means creating opportunity out of adversity.  A best seller in India, Jugaad Innovation explores how developing economies such as India, Brazil, and China are using a “jugaad” approach to innovation, and are able to successfully address problems while utilizing fewer resources.  More developed nations, on the other hand, tend to use a more formal, structured approach to innovation, and invest millions of dollars into R&D, but are not innovating as successfully as they previously did in the past.

Dr. Ahuja Skyped the students from the US and expanded on the topics presented in Jugaad Innovation.  Following her presentation, the students asked questions about how they can incorporate “jugaad innovation” into their LEAD projects.
Naveen Jha (CEO, Deshpande Foundation)
Naveen taught the students about the importance of being a leader with good intentions.  He also encouraged the students to do whatever they think is best for them, and to do things passionately. Naveen said to the students, “Whatever you are doing, if you think it’s the right thing, do it.”



One night, the students set out to Hubli and within just two hours, they collectively fundraised a total of Rs. 24,000 to benefit malnourished children throughout the Dharwad district.

Personal Changes
Although Leadership Program lasted for just a few days, students saw tremendous changes within themselves during that short period of time.  Most students commented that among the many learning experiences they had, they noticed increased self-confidence within themselves, as well as a clearer vision of their goals.

Suveena shared that the most “beautiful” thing that she learned during Leadership Program was to not hesitate.  According to Suveena, not hesitating means “bold, beautiful confidence”, and is very important in order to be successful in life. She is now eager to use what she learned at Leadership Program to take more initiatives in her life.

Rahim noticed “revolutionary changes” after his 10 days at Leadership Program.  Before Leadeship Program, Rahim used to have a very shy nature.  Rahim says, “I used to always be found sitting in the corner away from everyone else”.  As he stood before an audience of 80 members, Rahim said, “Now, I can speak freely with unknown people, and all of you”.  Rahim also added that Leadership Program created a milestone in his life.

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