By Anchal Kakkar, Mahamaya Navlakha, Mridula Kashyap
The social impact sector in India is growing at a rapid speed. What was traditionally seen as working at NGOs or volunteering for a cause now means much more than that. But, there still is a lack of understanding and knowledge about the scope of opportunities that exist in this space. It was that which led Arthan, Amani Institute and International Innovation Corps to come together to create the Demystifying Social Impact Careers conference series.
With the inaugural event in Delhi in April and a successful second edition in Bengaluru in September, we are thrilled to have engaged with more than 250 individuals. The conference saw a mix of young professionals interested in joining the social impact sector, persons interested in exploring and knowing more about the development sector, and those looking to network with like-minded individuals for new ideas and opportunities.
The Bengaluru Edition
Held in association with the National School of Journalism at their campus in Bengaluru on September 7, the second edition witnessed attendees from diverse backgrounds including students in the field of development studies, professionals working at tech companies and other corporates, and those already familiar with the sector.
The day began with an introduction by the three hosts: Arthan, Amani Institute, and International Innovation Corps; with them focusing on the opportunities in the sector, the knowledge gap that exists, the human capital challenges, and how this is the best time to be working in the development sector in India.
The Long Conversation
The first session, moderated by Roshan Paul (Co-Founder and CEO, Amani Institute), had speakers such as Sapna Karim (Head, Civic Participation at Janaagraha), Shiv Kumar (Co-founder at Catalyst Group) and Vishal Talreja (Co-founder, Dream a Dream) speak about their entry into the sector, the inspiration behind taking the plunge and shared advice for those keen to be hired in this space.
Highlights from The Long Conversation
“To solve for large problems in the sector, one needs to have a passion for a segment or core domain area. This is critical for you to figure out before you even begin a job search in the sector”. – Visual Talreja #tips #purposecareers #socialimpact #impactcareers https://t.co/3ATThOOsM0— Arthan (@ArthanCareers) September 7, 2019
Expert Panel 1: Transitioning from the private sector to the social sector
Making the shift from corporate to the social sector is not an easy one; it may come with pay cuts and a vast difference in the work environment. But, it makes you wake up every morning with a smile, it is worth it.
For the first panel discussion, Mekin Maheshwari (Founder, Udhyam Learning Foundation), Sucharita Kamath (India Chapter Manager, ANDE) and Sudha Srinivasan (CEO N/Core), moderated by Shehzia Lilani (Country Manager, Amani Institute) narrated their journeys from corporate to the social sector.
Mekin spoke about working with Flipkart and realising that the social sector is where he wanted to be.
” For me its personal. In 2015 we the core team at Flipkart were visualising our path for the next 10 years. That day was momentous. I, unfortunately couldn’t visualise myself at Flipkart in the now, let alone until 2025.” – Mekin Maheshwari #purposecareers https://t.co/tjcXwMEe95— Arthan (@ArthanCareers) September 7, 2019
Sucharita shared how she evaluated her skills and strengths before making the shift.
” I wanted to do something with meaning.I didn’t know what it was. I was scared.I had no idea of the impact sector.I didn’t think I would be valuable for this sector. But what I did was evaluate my strengths and Aods and being honest with myself. That’s how I began’. -Sucharita https://t.co/RLEGTnwhHu— Arthan (@ArthanCareers) September 7, 2019
Expert Panel 2: Can I make a living while working in social impact?
The social sector comes with its fair share of myths, and the one around the lower pay scale is a prominent one. However, with the exponential expansion of the sector, there has been an improvement in the compensation; and in many cases, it is at par with those in the private sector.
Abhijeet Mehta (COO at Quest Alliance), Hardika Shah (Founder and CEO at Kinara Capital) and Pranav Kothari (Vice President, Large Scale Education Programs at Educational Initiatives), moderated by Shriya Sethi (Director at International Innovation Corps), threw light on what it takes to succeed in the social sector – from having an open attitude to change to soft skills such as humility and being collaborative.
At Demystifying Social Impact Careers, we hosted three exclusive workshops namely Deciphering Entry Into Social Sector hosted by Arthan, Becoming Good At Networking by Amani Institute and A Beginners Guide On Meaningfully Engaging With The Government by Accountability Initiative.
Walk Your Talk
After a day of panel discussions and workshops, the finale for the day was hearing inspiring stories from leaders who have taken risks to live their values and make a difference in the world. For this session, Bhairavi Prakash (Founder, The Mithra Trust), Jyoti Thyagarajan (Founder Trustee, Meghshala Trust), Madan Padaki (Founder & CEO, 1Bridge), Sohini Bhattacharya (President & CEO, Breakthrough) and Ved Arya (Founder, Srijan) shared their stories and how they the role of the social impact sector in India.
” if my grandfather’s grandfather is born today and asked what are the things that look the same- it’s appalling to know that one of things he will say is a school in India. That’s how outdated we are in education”. -Jyoti Thyagarajan#purposecareers #socialimpact #walkyourtalk https://t.co/FZBgPI02ti— Arthan (@ArthanCareers) September 7, 2019
With this, the second edition of another enthralling conference came to an end. We have lots of new ideas for our next event in Mumbai, and we cannot wait to put them together and bring a bigger and better version of Demystifying Social Impact Careers.
See you in Mumbai in 2020! To register, click here.