Thursday, 3 July 2014

When I am 'jobless', I am very busy

Day 2 being jobless, but not a single dull moment. Infact I got loads of meaningful works done in past two days. My mobile doesn't stop ringing, emails are pouring and social media accounts are buzzing. Every morning I get up fully charged, hitting my work table immediately after breakfast and then my rest of day passes just being there. Its like my mind is working on high octane and it refuses to take a break.
This reminds me of my fellowship year at Boston University where I use to spend whole day studying, completing assignments, planning meetings, establishing professional contacts and going to classes in the late evening.I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom and single-mindedness, no supervisor, no follow ups, no suggestions, no advice just goals and deadlines. I turned out to be the best fellow among our cohort.
Since I was trained to work dangerously independent, I had issues when I started having toomany bosses, some of them were not even capable to understand my work, leave aside giving suggestions. So I was out to become my own boss. Someone did cautioned me that I may loose my identity if I step out of the big banner. It didn't bother me because I knew my capabilities and the legacy of work I was carrying with me. This may appear as arrogance or overconfidence, whatever it was, I was 100% sure, I was making the right move.
However the bigger boost to my confidence came through the people far and wide, with whom I had worked. This included ex-colleagues, volunteers, experts, interns, collaborators, funding agencies, individuals who participated in my walks and camps, professionals who underwent my training programmes and courses and simply the virtual friends on social media. They hugged me with their attention, appreciation, best wishes, assurances, testimonials and more. Technically I was out of my position and out of the power play, yet it surprised me people remembered me and my work. Some exhibited enormous levels of confidence which could be termed as exaggeration but they did it for me. Getting loved and respected even outside the realm of the official tag, elated me.
Something else was also happening, several people specially women called me up and expressed their desire to work for me. Then there were men who wanted to volunteer then senior citizens who said they are available, incase I need help. So much that some did advance booking of working with me after their retirement in near future. I was pleasantly surprised when my neighbor, an average home maker offered to volunteer for me and learn the ropes from me. Since I wasn't prepared to find a volunteer next to my home, I asked her if she knows computer operation, she said, she isn't fluent but she will try. I asked myself- is it written on my face that I need volunteers!!!
While this may be a feel good factor for my jobless being, the extra and jumbo booster to my spirit came from my professional contacts who reached out for me with offers and assignments. Some offering to work for their organizations which I turned down politely. Working for 21 years for one institution feels like being in a marriage and getting into another organization is like a infidelity. Nevertheless being out of the system made me accessible to several professionals who knew my work, my abilities and my potentials too. It is sad that I wasn't valued enough within my own organization. So this network which was actually partially alive while I was in my job and occasionally became warm, is now seamlessly hot and fuming. I don't know what to do with so much of work now.
I guess this is my khari kamai, the goodwill capital I generated while being a nonprofit professional, I am glad, I am able to en-cash it and people who benefited with my knowledge and advice, are generously giving back....its after all payback time for my network.
And come to think of, this joblessness has helped me to pick my latent passion- writing.

Why I shifted from Nonprofit Sector into Corporate domain?

I am science student with a Ph.D. on moths. I worked for an environmental NGO for 21 years where I spent half of my life just talking about wildlife and environment. Yet I took a plunge into the corporate domain leaving behind the legacy of nonprofit sector and starting my own company today.However this change did not happen overnight, it was building up gradually for past two years.
I am sure the new Company Act has changed businesses but this Act changed the direction of my career. Thanks to my training in Boston University in 2009-10 where I took management courses that helped me change my nonprofit vocabulary. Thereafter winning the U.S. State Department's Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund in 2012, was major path breaking experience for me where I was able to train more than 150 nonprofit professionals from close to 100 nonprofits pan India. This experience had already taken me away from the wildlife arena and made me experience the world of business management. This is when I realized I am not surrounded by people who understand the business world, so I started looking for professional inputs from corporate forums, seminars and exhibitions. I started reading Economic Times and forced myself the read up about the industry. I prescribed to various e-newsletters of several portals. This was like a self-made course on understanding corporate world.
As I was picking up the CSR news, I learnt about the dearth of CSR professionals. I also learnt that the skillset required by CSR professionals was similar to that of nonprofit professionals. I met few CSR managers and learnt, they were largely hailing from corporate world and didn't have experience of the social sector. I realized that as a nonprofit professional I had to struggle to get funds and while CSR manager has a privilege of giving funds to nonprofits. This is where, I thought I should reverse my role so that I could create a larger good for society by supporting right kind of projects and nonprofits. I started looking out for jobs in CSR domain. That's when one CSR manager friend advised me to start my own consultancy company. All this happened when things weren't great at my workplace and my views on CSR were not accepted. Also by now I was equipped with all necessary information about the corporate and nonprofit operations, I decided to put in my papers and start my own journey of helping nonprofits and corporate using the vehicle of CSR.
In order to address the CSR challenge which is diverse, I have roped in women experts who will be contributing to my vision in providing turnkey solutions for corporate and nonprofits. This amalgamation of social and corporate knowledge at my company is sure to drive results.

Monday, 30 June 2014

How Ladybird Environmental Consulting was born?

Ladybird Environmental Consulting was founded by Dr. V.Shubhalaxmi in July 2014. Frustration at her workplace for lack of freedom and recognition, forced her to form her own company. Her turmoil of dealing with her ever-growing aspirations started two years ago. She wanted new assignments and new challenges in new areas which weren't coming her way. This is when the news about Company Act amendment was making rounds. She started learning more about it and started interaction with corporate businesses. Sooner she developed a fair understanding about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability and the important role played by NGOs. She conceptualized a holistic way to address CSR mandate by involving NGOs. Unfortunately there were no takers of her idea in her organization and that's when she decided to take the plunge into this new area.

She however did not want to start it all by herself and that's when she started speaking to various women leaders on her network and invited them to join her company as an experts. In no time a team of women experts was formed and to do justice to this synergy, the name Ladybird was coined.
Dr. Carmen Aldinger, Health Expert
Ms. Charvi Parikh, Director, me2green NGO
Ms. Renee Vyas, Tree Crusader
Ms. Jyoti Palekar, Director, STEP
Dr. V.Shubhalaxmi, Founder
Ms. Usha Mallaya, Director, Greenyard

Ms. Avi Sabaval, Management Professional
Ladybird is a name of a beetle. It is known to feed on agricultural pests, aphides, thus used in integrated pest management. These brightly coloured insects thus are protectors of our crops and safeguarding our food security. Like Ladybirds, women too are greater healers and protectors. These team will surely do wonders by interfacing in the sector of environment with corporate businesses and NGOs. Dr.Shubhalaxmi dreams of running this social enterprise with exclusive women power, encouraging specially those women entrepreneurs who have hit the glass ceiling!