A well-delineated canvas of the social sector

Date : Feb 6 , 2019 | Alumni

Suki Iyer, who attended the inaugural ILSS Leadership Program in January 2018, writes about the insights and perspectives—expected as well as unexpected—that made the experience unique.

I’ve worked in the corporate world for over two decades and then spent the past five years on a sort of a sabbatical, roaming the world and generally doing everything but work. I was ready to get back to work and was very clear that I wanted to be in the social sector. 

The ILSS Leadership Program was a godsend to me and very timely. I was at a point where I ‘didn’t know what I didn’t know’, and I was looking to this program to help me discover this. Well, I certainly achieved this goal.

I learnt so much else, too. The program deftly painted a very broad yet well-delineated canvas of the social sector: the types of work (both horizontal and vertical), the challenges, the gaps, the stakeholders, the time that outcomes take to reveal themselves, funding strategies and tactics, and a lot else. And, most importantly, the internal shift we need to make in our own mindscapes to be effective in the social sector. 

The ILSS team was able to bring together a diverse set of speakers and workshop leaders–each of them experts in their field. To me, what was very interesting was how the content and learnings of one session set off unexpected insights from another session: there was a unique alchemy that enhanced the entire experience. 

It has now been a year since I have completed the program. My personal circumstances had made me plan to start looking at work only in 2019. Although the ILSS team had said at the outset that they may not be able to help us find opportunities, I think they underestimated the depth of their own offerings: we get interesting opportunities sent to us every other day. And as I write this, I am in active discussions with several organisations.  Last and not the least, I met a bunch of wonderful, wonderful people. We formed the first cohort;  and the bonhomie and the learning that we got from each other was again something I didn’t expect — a miraculous icing on the cake.

Hearing about my experiences, another friend signed up for the next program, and I would strongly advocate other people—even if they are not intending to move from the corporate sector —to sign up for this program. It will likely give them a perspective which will make them more effective in the corporate space as well. 

Suki has spent several years in banking, branding, tech-led education and social entrepreneurship. An Economics Honours and an alumna of IIM Calcutta, she is passionate about politics, economics, society, history, social media, and how their complex interplay impacts the world today.

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