September 11th, 2001, it was the day that life started to reveal a different path for me. It was on that day, I was travelling to Atlanta from Zurich after my post graduate studies in Swiss Hotel Management School, Switzerland for my management traineeship with Starwood group.
Unfortunately, the flight I travelled on did not land in Atlanta and we were taken back to Zurich instead. As clueless as anybody else, I returned to my hotel room and switched on the television only to find out about the tragic incident that took place at the World Trade Center in New York. That marked my first encounter with a disaster.
Following my traineeship, I stayed in the US working in various hotel management positions for about six years. In one of my roles, I was deployed to work on a hotel project in Louisiana that was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
I got to see first-hand how the US managed the disaster with a clinical approach. It was after this project that I felt a need to do something similar in India and that this was an area in which I could contribute to my country.
I had to undergo certain aspects of technical training and for this I went to Kuwait gain practical knowledge. I also equipped myself with an MBA from Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Chennai.
Apart from working in world’s most prominent brands in Switzerland, USA, Kuwait & Singapore, I have served at Pan India level in various prestigious humanitarian assignments for both Government & NGOs. To name a few:
– Coordinated NDMA’s Chennai Emergency Management Exercise 2011 & Guwahati Emergency Management Exercise 2012.
– Served as Master Trainer to UNFPA’s ‘MISP | Sexual and Gender Based Violence during Disasters’ workshop in Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal & Tamil Nadu, Sphere India.
– Conducted ‘Strengthening Emergency Response System in Hospitals 2015’ workshop in all districts of Tamil Nadu, Government of Tamil Nadu.
– Served as State Team Lead, Flood Response & Recovery 2015, Chennai, Sphere India.
– Served as State Team Lead, Inter Agency Coordination, Sphere India 2018 & State Team Lead, Flood Response & Recovery 2019, CARE India in Kerala.
– Served as Public Health Emergency Specialist, UNICEF during COVID-19 2019-2020 in Chennai.
Currently serving as Head of Information, Education & Communication (IEC) in world’s largest IoT based solid waste management project by Urbaser Sumeet in Chennai. Focus is on applying Design Thinking in altering behavior of 4 million people to perceive waste as a resource when source segregated and making Chennai as the most environment friendly city in India.
Team work, collaborative leadership, solution focused approach, being mindful of different cultures, most importantly communicating with people from different walks of life and empathising with their situations are traits that I picked up working in three continents.
More importantly personal life disasters – multiple failures, losing loved ones at crucial junctures taught me how precious life is, to wear scars as badges of honor, practice kindness, importance of self belief, realize that best is yet to come & to do only what I love.
In every darkness, there’s light.
In every struggle, there’s a way.
In every faith, there’s hope.
I strongly believe that we all are obligated to leave this planet as a better one, than it was.
Each one of our conscious action does create a huge impact. Let’s do our bit.
#Life #Journey #Tragedy #Kindness #Struggle #Training #Faith #Teamwork #Leadership #Mindfulness #Belief #Impact #Chennai #HumansofMadras