My Soroptimist Sisters, my colleagues on the NASI Board –both current and ex, friends and well-wishers.
It is both my honour and privilege to be addressing you as President and Councilor of the NASI of India. It is a position and role that I take very seriously and I am committed to ensuring that my team and I deliver as a Leadership team on the promises that we make.
My Soroptomist journey started 24 years when I was introduced to the concept of Soroptimism. Since the through taking on different Club Projects and holding different offices, I have learned and grown in my understanding of this movement and I am still learning. I would like to acknowledge in gratitude all the people who have been my mentors and gurus on this journey. Sheela Rao of SI Poona who has always encouraged me and motivated me to be part of NASI. Annette Mascarhenas for her belief in me. Shreelatha Narayanan and Lata Krishnan have been my informal mentors and my go-to people. I really value their advice. My club members in SI Poona for being my backbone, and of course my family.
As President of NASI, a have a dream for our body. My dream is that NASI functions as an integrated and unified body of dedicated professional women in the service of SI Clubs all over India. My dream is that we raise the awareness of Soroptimist as a brand in India –people know who we are and the work we do. My dream is that we network with other organizations and reach out to influence policy and be counted as influencers and thought leaders in our area of work.
That is why the theme I felt most appropriate for the term 2018-20 is “Collaborating for Impact”. Collaboration is the glue that binds us together. When ‘I’ becomes ‘We’, even illness becomes wellness. Let us operate with an inclusive approach seeing the whole picture and not just our individual piece. When we let go of “I did this” or “my club did this”, it creates a very different vibe. And vibes attract the right tribe. We want more and more bright and inspired women to be part of SI Clubs and NASI and this will only happen when they get inspired and excited by our actions and behavior.
We need to collaborate actively with other network partners, Govt., Media, Influencers so that we can work on projects together and make a difference in the lives of underprivileged women and children. I would be very interested and eager to hear success stories around partnerships of this kind from our clubs.
We also need to collaborate across all the SI Clubs in India. Many of us have wonderful projects and ways of working that others can learn and adapt. Let us actively reach out to each other for this. This is also a way to collaborate. Some clubs are already doing –let us take that to new heights.
It is important also to measure the impact of our work. As a result of our work, what difference have we made? How many lives have we impacted and how? What are our metrics of success? Can we showcase these as case studies that can be published? When we showcase impact, we will attract funds, members and partnerships plus raise the awareness level of our Clubs and NASI.
As members of NASI Board, I see ourselves as servant leaders for our Clubs. We are here to support your growth, to enable you to function better, and to facilitate resolution of any challenge you may be facing. We are here as your mentors and guides. This is our promise to all our Clubs.
I talked about my dreams from NASI. Dreams are not enough-they have to be backed with plans and actions. The Vision for NASI, the long term strategic objectives and action steps is a clear starting document which will be our guiding framework. This will happen over the next 6 months. I intend to reach out to all of you to co-create this and present it to you in the June AGM.
Over the next 2 years, we intend to create more spaces in our NASI meetings for all of us to converse and learn apart from the business meetings. I believe conversations will enable collaboration. We will also be using digital methods eg Zoom calls, webinars, e-newsletters to be in touch with all our members.
Needless to say, we will carry on the good work done by my predecessors and build on it rather than reinvent things. I am blessed with a talented and highly experienced team and we intend to work well together to execute on our promise.
Sometimes when we are in the business of attending meetings, management, administration and leading, we may forget the real reason why we are members of Soroptimists Clubs-why we are Soroptimists. We are Soroptimists because we want to make a difference in the lives of others. We are Soroptimists because we care.
I would like to close with this quote from Nerio which best describes it:
“The value of a life is best measured not just by the years spent accumulating posssessions, but by the moments spent giving of oneself, sharing wisdom, inspiring hope, wiping tears and touching hearts.”
May we always remember the real purpose of our life and living.
President and Councillor
NASI of India