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Connecting The Development Sector

Age is Simply a Matter of Attitude – Dr. Nalini Saligram, Founder & CEO, Arogya World

GoBarefoot, a professional networking platform exclusively catering to the Development sector, by facilitating connections and exchange of ideas and information, has collaborated with Katalyst India and Third Sector Partners to present “Leadership Conversations in the Development Sector”, a series of insightful interviews conducted by Shital Kakkar Mehra, India’s leading executive presence coach and Founder at GoBarefoot. Featuring seasoned and reputed leaders from various verticals of the social sector, the series offers a peek behind the scenes and helps viewers find answers to the most pressing questions facing the sector.

When discussing her three biggest learnings from a career spanning 40 years, Dr. Nalini Saligram, Founder & CEO, Arogya World believes that age is simply a matter of attitude if you are enthusiastic, curious and have a zest for life and adventure. “If you have a deep sense of purpose and want to leave the world a better place, your age doesn’t matter. Leaders should seize opportunities and run with it while exhibiting a very deep sense of purpose,” she believes.

Learnings for Development and Corporate Sectors

The development sector should copy the sense of measurement and focus on results indicated by corporates. What difference did we really make and what did we achieve are questions that help us stay accountable. Not performing should have consequences, as seen in the corporate sector, as this boosts output. A sense of urgency and learning how to build brands and scale up are other things we can learn from the corporate milieu. Simultaneously, corporates can learn about motivating people with a purpose. They should help employees understand the mission and engage them by showing that they care for the employees and the communities.

Government Learnings

The government should consider non-profits as a very important ally, especially in the phase of building a country back in a better way. Multi-stakeholder collaboration is necessary as the problems facing us are so big that no one, not even the government, can do it on their own. Non-profits can be great allies in taking innovations to the last mile populace.

Tech Affecting Social Sector

Development sector organisations must build initiatives with technology at the background to assess impact and outcome. Social media can be used for education and promotion purposes. Technology can be used for a lot of initiatives across sectors and it can also help us scale up and improve efficiency while capturing and visualising data. 

US-India Non Profit Ecosystem

In the US, the society places a huge value on non-profit entities. Tremendous social capital is associated with being on the boards of non-profits. We should inculcate this in India and help develop a greater appreciation for the value non-profits bring to communities. They should be viewed as true allies to both, the private and government sectors. A loosening of regulations on non-profits in India would also be a welcome change. In terms of donors, individual givers are the main source of funding in the US. In India, HNIs and private foundations are increasing their donations. We are also seeing an increase in CSR and retail giving. Foreign aid is not the biggest source anymore and this is amazing.

Leadership Evolution

Leaders today need to be thinkers and doers. They should be able to think and strategize while also pivoting and moving at lightning speeds to deliver outcomes. Collaboration is imperative as deep societal changes cannot be made alone. Leaders should work with other NGOs to boost scale and impact. Also focus on fund raising and think on your feet while embracing changes. 

Read our previous conversation with Saurabh Taneja, CEO, The Akanksha Foundation here.

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