Arthan Brings Together Impact Visionaries at the ‘Leaders for a Better World: Rethinking Social Sector Strategies’ Summit

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Delhi: In an effort to bring together for collaboration and networking and to strengthen India’s Impact ecosystem, Arthan organised a summit titled ‘Leaders for a Better World: Rethinking Social Sector Strategies’ recently, in New Delhi. The summit brought together distinguished leaders, seasoned professionals, forward-thinking innovators, and catalysts for change – all driven by a common purpose: enhancing the impact ecosystem. The aim was to promote collaborative learning, discover opportunities, share best practices in organisational culture, and facilitate meaningful networking. 

The Summit featured speakers who shared their extensive professional experiences and expertise. These included Dr. Rukmini Banerji (Pratham Education Foundation), Deepali Khanna (The Rockefeller Foundation), Deepak Dogra (Board Member – Arthan and Climate Asia), Shaveta Sharma-Kukreja (Central Square Foundation), Dr. Shagun Sabarwal (Co-Impact), Ratna Viswanathan (Reach to Teach), Dr. Y Suresh Reddy (SRF Foundation), Charu S Budhiraja (Council on Energy, Environment and Water), Ashwin Mb (Fortify Health), Indrajit Chaudhuri (PCI India), Mandira Kalra Kalaan (Purpose), Kanika Verma (Development Alternatives), Smita Jha (Consultant – Social Sector), Sneha Banerjee (MASH Project Foundation), Nandita Krishan – Moderator (Arthan) and Vartika Gupta – Moderator (Arthan).

The host for the day, Shivani Chimnani (Arthan), skillfully guided participants through day-long sessions. Rahul Balakrishnan (Arthan) delivered an inspiring welcome address where he asked experienced professionals to utilise the summit to unite and build partnerships while offering young individuals the opportunity to learn and become effective leaders.

The day had prominent keynote speakers Deepali Khanna (The Rockefeller Foundation) and Deepak Dogra (Board Member – Arthan and Climate Asia). Deepali Khanna highlighted the imperative of empowering women within the green economy. She underscored the significance of addressing gender inequality in leadership roles and ensuring women’s active engagement in climate decision-making processes. On the other hand, Deepak Dogra eloquently emphasised the importance of placing people at the heart of the efforts to drive substantial social change- making a compelling case for a people-centred approach as the bedrock for achieving truly impactful shifts.

Talking about building networks, Deepak Dogra advised, “Establishing mutual respect as a cornerstone of all interactions [is essential] because ultimately that’s the team you are going to work with. Assume excellence in behaviour and acknowledge the constraints that every one of us is working under. If we will be cognizant and mindful of constraints, then that will help us establish strong relationships within the team and the sector.”

A thought-provoking panel discussion followed the keynotes, Strengthening Human Capital: Charting a Succession Roadmap for the Future of Social Impact Organisations, where a panel of experts explored critical topics, including strategies for investing in organisational growth to amplify sector-wide influence, creating opportunities for the next generation, and attracting top-tier talent while ensuring equitable compensation for their exceptional contributions.

Emphasising the role of funders in helping build effective teams, Dr. Rukmini Banerji elaborated, “The more the supporter spends time in the field close to the real work, the more they are open to understanding the challenges that are there. Some foundations have mature funders because they have seen many things around the world and can assess. Many foundations also have organisational effectiveness grants, and that has come up after realising that this is a long-run game.”

Arthan also hosted a roundtable discussion titled Dynamic Culture Dialogues: Navigating Empathy, Entrepreneurship, and Empowerment in Today’s Organisational Landscape. In this enlightening session, a panel of experts delved into essential themes, including the concept of organisational culture as a participatory and collective force, the cultivation of empowerment through fostering empathy among employees, enabling them to emerge as compassionate leaders, and the understanding that inclusivity is not merely a desired outcome but an integral approach of the organisational journey.

Regarding how empathy towards employees can improve team structures, Indrajit Chaudhuri said, “We can all say that we are working for our passion and social development. But for many people, it is also about the job. If we forget that, then probably we are denying the fact that there is job insecurity as well. For example, I have somebody for a project that will be finished by a [particular] date, and the person will be insecure upon completing a project. We tried to kill that insecurity by working on the structure to make most people work on multiple projects, so the employment is not dependent on the project.”

Talking about the role of leadership in facilitating opportunities for others, Mandira Kalra Kalaan mentioned, “We should not think of leaders but rather of leadership and about creating pathways for leadership for different individuals within an organisation. Adaptive leadership looks at different skill sets, viewpoints, and perspectives. Expanding what inclusivity means, what kinds of perspectives we want to include, and thinking through what leadership looks like from these different perspectives.”

The conclusion of the leadership summit was marked by a vote of thanks delivered by Anchal Kakkar (Arthan). It was a culmination of a day filled with insightful deliberations and engaging conversations that revolved around the central theme of nurturing emerging leaders for a better world. Throughout the event, thought leaders came together to share their expertise, exchange ideas, and inspire action. These discussions not only provided valuable insights but also catalysed cultivating leadership that can drive positive change and contribute to a more promising future. The Summit concluded on a note of inspiration and commitment to continuing the journey of leadership development in the impact sector for the betterment of society.