Events: On ground to online

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to host #Abhyudaya 2020, a fest organized by the PGPPro (the equivalent of an eMBA) students of the Indian School of Business.

Being a PGPPro student myself, this was an absolute honor and privilege. Not just to have so many people, cohorts, faculty and the school trust you to seamlessly pull off the event virtually but also to be interacting with CXO level leaders personally.

Usually the fest is hosted at one of the cities where PGPPro is offered (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad). Last year was the debut edition and it was held at Delhi. This year it was to be held at Mumbai but of course covid had other plans. So we had to adapt and decided to take the fest online. The organizing committee rallied all the forces and the first ever e-conclave came to be. Abhyudaya 2020 became a two day event with the theme “Building your plane as you fly”. It really epitomized what each one of us was going through – trying to power through and move ahead despite all odds while simultaneously adapting and fixing every day challenges.

It was an eventful evening: front-end for the participants and attendees, backend for the organizing committee and I.

I was SO frazzled because of tech glitches, my laptop crashing, being completely disconnected from the audience and had no idea what was actually happening on the platform end. Being used to audience energy, reading the room, their expression, vibes and applause..sigh..all of that was missing.

Here it was just me, all by myself, speaking to my cellphone held together with bands since the tripod was flimsy. Yes, adapting to the situation, thinking on my feet and applying mahaa jugaad when my laptop was giving up on me. I also had my classmate on constant tech support using any desk to monitor my laptop.

That’s some honest behind the scenes for you.

Despite all that, every time I was given my cue I’d muster all my courage, put on a bright smile and power ahead hoping it was all playing out okay for the audience on the external platform (aka Dreamcast who are really onto something fabulous here)

Powering through all the challenges had a massive payoff!

Listening to these leaders Sunil Kant Munjal,
Madhusudan DeshpandeTarun KatialSwarup MohantyUnny RadhakrishnanSnigdha Ghosh RayNachiket Deshpande & Pankaj Rai
with their diverse experiences and knowledge was such an honor and privilege.

They didn’t just speak about the pandemic, it’s affect on business & how they coped but also about the various upheavals around the globe, the human tragedy that was exposed & personal experiences that have worked for them. That really is the biggest learning. To lead with humanity and empathy.

Some moments and words that have stayed with me were when Unny Radhakrishnan mentioned the #Blacklivesmatter movement, when Nachiket Deshpande had a presentation that was adapted to our theme complete with animation for each slide and a speedometer that moved as he proceeded from one topic to the next. The effort and attention to detail immediately struck a chord! His thoughts on how to have employees bond when they can’t have water cooler catch ups or walking conversations with colleagues on breaks were so valuable.

When I was listening to Pankaj Rai speak about networking and role modelling I didn’t realize that was exactly what I would end up doing by the end of his address!

He spoke about (and these are just SOME of the many gems he shared):
– being a go-giver (why must you always have the pressure of being a go-getter anyway)
– self leadership (stay true to your purpose)
– strategy: while projections are great how about you plan and build your idea of the future and in essence all of us are strategists!
– Identity: it’s not what you think of yourself but what others think you (but hey isn’t that branding!)

He also addressed me and referenced something I’d said earlier – way to connect effectively immediately! What a masterclass!

Now to gear up for day 2 of the e-conclave!

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