What are you leading?
I am presently the Founder CEO of 'Leadership For Equity' working with a mission to practice and build leadership rooted in radically changing public education systems in India. Over the last two years, my work was primarily focused with Pune & Maharashtra governments at different levels. Our work in Pune through Pune City Connect (PCC) is inspired by the idea of Collective Action, where we work with municipal administrators, corporate leaders, NGO’s and school teams - to develop and implement a working agenda for scaling quality education. As I aspire to build an organization known for creating proof points for innovative scale-depth models in systemic education reforms, I am intrigued about creating system leaders who constantly reflect and practice systems thinking. I am also conscious that we just started our journey and hence in the approach we take to lead our four current projects, we have to constantly keep learning and evolving.
How did your experiences as a fellow inspire or prepare you for what you’re doing now?
I believe that before we try to change the status quo it’s important to empathize with it. My fellowship as a teacher in a government school setting has helped me empathize. Working alongside with other public school teachers, school leaders and parents has provided me an opportunity to be open to different perspectives on education. It was really hard to find my role in the larger education eco-system when I was focused on teaching just 35 students in a class, but the experience of working with key school stakeholders has pushed me to think of my contribution beyond my classroom – to my school and community. The difficult experiences with the local leaders and officials enhanced my understanding of working in chaotic systems and working with uncertainty – in hindsight the experiences in Fellowship has helped me deal with systemic complexities better. As I think of all the smaller and larger experiences that shaped me as an individual in those two years – they have definitely laid my foundations of working on adaptive challenges and having a systems thinking lens to solve complex problems.
In the next 5 years, I was to solidify my commitment to ‘One Day all children’ by working on large-scale education reform projects to improve the quality of public education systems in India. I want to achieve this by consciously building a pipeline of system leaders who are rooted in the idea of changing human relationships in changing systems; who simplify the complexity of social problems for the end users; who use appropriate tools to realize the role of self & organizations in chaotic eco-systems; who practice adaptive solutions to build a simultaneous and dynamic top-down and bottom-up approach to manage change; and most importantly, leaders who operate with humility, optimism and the perseverance needed to move the world forward. In the quest of building and practicing leadership, I also want to closely involve with the political leadership, to prove that in a country like India you can win elections with Education as your key agenda item.