Develop Leaders with Emotional Intelligence: ICC Annual Leadership Conference 2015

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The Board members of the India Culture Center with the speakers and panelists at the Leadership Conference held at India House on Saturday, July 11.

By Vanshika Vipin

HOUSTON: The Annual Leadership conference hosted by India Culture Centre (ICC) in association with other Indo American associations aimed at bringing a paradigm shift in developing leadership. Centred on the theme ‘Developing Leadership’, Leader’s Conference 2015 witnessed a full house on Saturday, July 11, at the India House. Without the vision, best of the causes are lost. With a mission to foster and accelerate the smoother coordination between Indo American organisations and individuals of Indian origin, ICC hosts Leadership conferences every year to instil the need of visionary leaders in all spheres of life, including non profits.

The annual conference began at 10.00 am with informal networking over breakfast powered by the Sri Swaminarayan Temple. The opening speech was given by the conference chair Girish Naik. He opened the conference by welcoming the audience, esteemed panel speakers and the eminent dignitaries of the city. Charlie Patel, the presiding president of ICC, catapulted the conference in the right direction by clearly specifying the objectives of the Annual Leadership Conference. The need of the hour is to develop global leaders who have a clear vision, well thought strategy, excellent interpersonal skills to delegate and optimism to execute. One of the esteemed speakers, Pinakin Jaradi, took over the stage to warm up the audience before the conference began.

The conference kick started with Girish Naik introducing the first speaker, Parul Fernandes, a Higher Education Consultant with XPAN International, ex- Director of International Studies, University of Houston. Parul highlighted on the seven effective habits essential for developing the leadership skills. She backed up her seven pointers with a psychological test that took one through a visualisation series of forest, key, bear, urn, house, man shouting followed by a white out. At the end of this test, she synced the test results with the personality traits and effective methods to develop visionary attributes and combat the fear of failures. With around 40 years of experience in education and management and, having travelled to 45 countries, Parul gave the tips of putting first things first and believe in Synergizing as a medium of cohesive growth.

Honored as one of the 2012 Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the United States Junior Chamber, the next speaker in line, Sanjay Ram brought with him 20 years of experience in providing engineering, management and master planning services to the Industrial and Governmental market segments. Having been the Principal-In-Charge of a $1 billion global consulting firm, where he managed an Infrastructure Business Practice across multiple states, Sanjay spoke emphatically on ‘Servant Leadership’. Peppering his talk with quotes from famous personalities, he said ‘An essential part of the American dream is Civic engagement’. It is crucial to have inclusive growth strategy and implementation to ensure global development. Few ice breaking exercises were done to create an inclusive environment. He quoted a quote from Max De Pree – ‘The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say Thank You. In between the leader is a servant ’.
The final speaker of the highly engaging conference was Pinakin Jaradi who has worked in Shell and Chevron oil & gas companies for 30+ years in the positions of senior integration consultant, advisor, business manager, and project manager. “Emotional Intelligence separates the star and the average leader by more than 90% at the higher level of leadership. Self awareness, Self control, Self motivation, empathy and social skill formed the basics of Emotional Intelligence’, said Pinakin while explaining the importance of the Emotional intelligence in leadership. The good news was that Emotional Intelligence would be cultivated by appropriate training and conditioning.

The power packed conference concluded with a mix of Q&A from the audiences and the final vote of thanks delivered to the esteemed speakers with plaque presentation. The conference ended at 1 pm followed by the scrumptious lunch served by the Vishala Restaurant.

While the guests indeed took with them the umpteen pearls of wisdom freely distributed through the medium of leadership conference, one was left wondering on how the world would change if each one practiced these leadership traits.