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TEDx MICA Speakers

Nidhi Acharya | Monday 28 February 2011 ( 1 Comment)
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Our Speakers For 2011

 

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Ms. Shaheen Mistri, CEO Teach for India, is also the founder of the Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit organization, with a mission to impact the lives of less privileged children, enabling them to maximize their potential and change their lives. Akanksha works primarily in the field of education, addressing non formal education through the Akanksha centre model and also formal education by initiating school reform. Over the past 19 years, the organization has expanded from 15 children in one centre to over 3,500 children across Mumbai and Pune. Mistri is an Ashoka Fellow (2001), a Global Leader for Tomorrow at the World Economic Forum (2002), an Asia Society 21 Leader (2006) and serves on the boards of Ummeed, The Thermax Social Initiatives Foundation and is an advisor to the Latika Roy Foundation. Mistri has been working on the idea of Teach For India from 2007, and serves as its founding CEO and one of its founding Board Members.

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Rajeev Desai, Chairman & CEO Comma Consulting is the founder of India’s newest and most experienced public relations consulting firm. A pioneer in the profession, Mr Desai established India’s first PR consulting firm, IPAN, in December 1987 when he relocated to Delhi after having spent the best part of the 1970s and 1980s in the United States. In the 17 years that he steered IPAN to the top slot in the PR consulting profession, Mr Desai played a key role in the entry into India of Pepsi in 1988; in the launch of Citibank’s global consumer bank in 1989; in the rapid popularization of Golf, a 1990 campaign on behalf of ITC (Wills Circuit Golf); in the entry and launch of STAR TV in 1991; in the incipient technology boom for companies like Microsoft, Cisco and Intel in the mid 1990s; as also in the opening up of the telecom sector for companies such Nokia, Hughes, Alcatel, BT and BPL Mobile (the first cellular service).

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Mahesh Murthy, founder and CEOPinstorm has 24 years of marketing and communications experience – of which over 14 years are in online marketing. After dropping out of college, Mahesh sold vacuum cleaners from door to door and then found a home in advertising with Grey in India and Ogilvy in Hong Kong, where he won international notoriety as a creative director on HP, Microsoft, Unilever, The Economist, Pepsi and MTV - for whom he wrote and directed a spot voted “Asia’s best commercial of the decade”. Mahesh then moved to a Silicon Valley firm, CKS Partners (later, USWeb/ CKS) as Creative Director and eventually, Partner – where he helped create and launch the first commercial version of Yahoo in 1995 and the “Earth’s biggest bookstore” campaign for Amazon.com in 1997. After a successful IPO for CKS, Mahesh moved to head marketing at iCat, an e-commerce firm in Seattle, which was subsequently acquired by Intel. Mahesh then returned to India to run Channel V, a rival to MTV, till its sale to Newscorp in 2000 and then founded Passionfund to invest in and guide startups. Among his investments were Geodesic, a mobile software firm with a 2008 market cap of over $500m; EBS Direct, a multinational loyalty and marketing services firm; Compassbox, acquired by CareerLauncher and WebDunia, India’s leading multilingual portal. Mahesh pens reasonably infamous columns across various business publications and has played the Donald Trump-equivalent role in an Indian rip-off of The Apprentice, involving entrepreneurs and business plans. While running digital marketing campaigns for his favourite charity in late 2003, Mahesh saw an opportunity to change the basic business model in advertising and set up Pinstorm with a bunch of great people to do so. As the company has grown and better people than him - like others listed here - have come on board, his contribution to business is increasingly restricted to deciding whose lunch box to raid at the communal table. Mahesh co-founded his second fund, Seedfund in 2006 with the backing of investors like Google and Motorola to create and guide even more revolutionary companies.

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Amitava Bhattacharya, Founder and full time director at Banglanatak dot com, is an engineering graduate from IIT Kharagpur with 19 years of work experience worldwide. Amitava is recipient of Chevening Leadership & Excellence Scholarship from the London School of Economics. He was nominated as Eastern Zone runnerup in Times Lead India Contest, 2007. In ten years time, he led his organization banglanatak dot com  to grow to 65 persons well qualified team (with over 350 person years of development sector experience) and has worked at about 30000 villages across 23 states of India.Amitava has innovated and led both of these initiatives mentioned below, which has contributed immensely in the development process and also in pro-poor growth. The one being: Theater as a tool for grass-root communication, which includes outreach, capacity building of local stakeholders and doing social research – all using theater. The other: Making Art a livelihood. UNESCO Paris has accredited banglanatak dot com to provide Advisory Services to the Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee (2010).

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Narayanan Krishnan is an Indian chef turned social worker. Krishnan was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. He was an award-winning chef with a five-star hotel group, short-listed for an elite job in Switzerland. But a quick family visit home before heading to Europe changed everything. "I saw a very old man, literally eating his own human waste out of hunger. I went to the nearby hotel and asked them what was available. They had idli, which I bought and gave to the old man. Believe me, I had never seen a person eating so fast, ever. As he ate the food, his eyes were filled with tears. Those were the tears of happiness,” said N Krishnan.

Krishnan founded his nonprofit Akshaya Trust in 2002. Every day, he wakes up at 4 a.m., cooks a simple hot meal and then, along with his team, loads it in a van and travels about 200 kilometres (120 mi) feeding the homeless and mentally-disabled in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. He serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to 400 indigent and elderly people in Madurai. He carries a comb, scissors and razor and is trained in eight haircut styles that, along with a fresh shave, provide extra dignity to those he serves. He is one of the Top10 in "CNN heroes 2010" list.

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Dr. Palash Sen is founder and front man of iconic Indian super group, Euphoria. Palash was born on the 23rd of September 1965, in a family of talented Doctors and singer. Taking the family profession ahead, he graduated as an MBBS and later specialized in Orthopedics from UCMS, Delhi. It was during this time, that he started Euphoria with his friends. 
Euphoria, which began as a college band, went on to become one of the most successful and best selling artists to have emerged from India. Euphoria has 4 studio albums to their credit along with a “Best of” compilation. Euphoria is hailed as the pioneers of Hindi Rock movement in India and still continues to the sub continent’s biggest and busiest live acts. 
Dr. Palash Sen made his debut as an actor in 2002 with Filhaal, a movie directed by Meghna Gulzar. He is set to make a comeback in March 2011 with a film titled “Mumbai Cutting”. Euphoria has also done music for the film. 
2011 will also see the release of Euphoria’s much awaited 5th studio album, along with Dr. Palash Sen’s official biography, penned by Pune based writer and painter, Ashish Kate.
Dr. Palash Sen can be reached through his official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/docpalash or via the Euphoria page, www.facebook.com/euphoria.dhoom

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Anshu Gupta Ashoka Fellow and Founder GOONJ. A masters in economics, a double major in journalism and mass communications took him to Delhi and widened his horizons. As a graduate student he traveled to Uttarkashi in North India in 1991 to help in relief efforts after a cataclysmic earthquake in the region. This was his first real exposure to the scale of problems of India’s rural masses. The sense of shock stayed with him as he finished his education and got a secure government job and then moved to the corporate sector. Eventually, the need to do something and the slow germination of the idea of GOONJ over the years became too strong to resist. He left his job with an Indian MNC in 1998 and with the full support and partnership of his wife and other friends he started GOONJ. 
Anshu K. Gupta is facilitating an economic bridge between urban, wealthy India and impoverished, rural India by simply sharing the surplus of wealth. Anshu is establishing a culture of sustained donations in India by creating a mechanism for second-hand clothes and goods to pass from the wealthy to the poor. 
Anshu lives in Delhi with his wife and daughter and works full time for GOONJ. His other passion is photography, and while on travel to all parts of the country he captures his experiences on film. These photographs are displayed at various forums including collection sites and act as powerful documentaries of the desperate need of millions and the magic of giving. 
Anshu has received CNN-IBN Real Heros Award.

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Lady Shruti Rana is an educationist, musician and a teacher/exponent of Indic traditional knowledge systems and philosophy. She is also an Indic psychologist and health consultant and works towards social empowerment and wellness of women, youth and ethnic communities. She is also a documentary film maker. She founded Shruti Foundation, a nonprofit, charitable trust in 2006 for education, traditional wisdom and human rights. While she spent her earlier years in Kolkata, Delhi and Gurgaon, she now lives in Belfast,U.K. and works both from Delhi (India) and Northern Ireland in the U.K. She was awarded the Delhi Ratna Govt. of India Award in 2002 for her contribution in the realm of healing music.

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Bertie da Silva, is one of India’s most original rock musicians. An entirely self-taught guitarist, da Silva has been writing music since the early 80s. Songs like Tin Pan Alley and Sir Lancelot have passed into almost legendary local memory. But in the mid-80’s da Silva’s interests turned from music to academics and the next 15 odd years were spent teaching English Literature at St. Xavier’s College. Around 2002 the spirit began to move again. And he took up teaching himself classical guitar. His forays into classical music opened the dormant spaces in his mind and the songs began to flow, new, different, contemporary. His musical genes go back to the hip music of the 60s and 70s but the song writer had by now assimilated tradition and was ready to break out in challenging and exciting new directions Then a chance reunion with old college musician friends resulted in an impromptu gig in April 2006 that played to a packed venue of fans old and new. He put together a backing band in 2008 and has played a series of concerts to rave reviews. In 2010 he added a novel act to his live set: acoustic with friend Amyt Datta, an act which combines voice with virtuoso guitars playing in tandem. Da Silva also performs a solo set accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica. Unwilling to travel extensively because of academic committments, (da Silva is currently Dean of Arts in St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata,) he recognizes that the time may be ripe to take his music to other audiences, which is why he travels to Ahmedabad to perform in solo concert for you.

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Kranthi Kiran Vistakula is a next-generation entrepreneur, the founder and CEO of an innovative technology venture called Dhama Innovations Pvt. Ltd. Kranthi is the creator of the revolutionary patented ClimaCon technology. ClimaCon is the only technology, in the whole world, that can be seamlessly embedded into the clothing of the wearer to provide cooling/heating (within a range of 4oC-44oC) on demand, irrespective of ambient weather. While pursuing masters at MIT Boston, Kranthi‘s own thermal discomfort inspired him to create ClimaCon, for the benefit numerous military men, industrial personnel and sports enthusiasts who deal with harsh weather in course of their duty. Kranthi has also been the Co-Founder and Co-Managing Director of Intact Labs, Cambridge. In the capacity of this position, he was the Co-Principal Investigator leading a research team in a NASA project to create a mechanism to generate electricity using proteins for space applications. Kranthi’s innovations have won him the title of Business World ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010’ and ‘Innovator of the Year 2010’ by Massachusetts Institute of Technology published “Technology Review Magazine.” Kranthi has also been a gold medalist Lockheed Martin Innovators’ Competition in 2008.

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Raju Narayana Swamy is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer. He is presently Secretary, General Education, Government of Kerala. 
Narayana Swamy was born into a middle class Kerala Iyer family from Changanassery, Kerala, India. He has a bachelors degree in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology Madras. He reportedly turned down a MIT Scholarship in order to pursue a career with the Indian Administrative Service. He also ranked 1st in the 1991 Civil Services Examination and entered the Indian Administrative Service. 
Narayana Swamy is a prolific writer with 23 books to his credit. His work Santhimantram Muzhangunna Thazvarayil (Travelogue) won the 2004 Kerala Sahitya Akademi award. Among his recent works include Niram Mangiya Vazhithara, which is a translation of The Road of Lost Innocence, the English version of the French memoirs by Somaly Mam. He also has a passion for Mathematics and Physics which he opted as subjects for the Civil Services Examination.

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Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, a yogi and profound mystic of our times, is a visionary humanitarian and a prominent spiritual leader. A contemporary Guru, rooted as strongly in mundane and pragmatic matters as he is in inner experience and wisdom, Sadhguru works tirelessly towards the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of all. His mastery of the mechanisms of life, an outcome of his profound experience of the Self, guides in exploring the subtler dimensions of life. Sadhguru speaks at some of the world's most prominent international leadership forums. In January 2007, he participated in four panels at the World Economic Forum and spoke on issues ranging from diplomacy and economic development, to education and the environment. In 2006, he addressed the World Economic Forum, the Tallberg Forum in Sweden, and the Australian Leadership Retreat. He has also served as a delegate to the United Nations Millennium Peace Summit and the World Peace Congress.
Sadhguru's vision and understanding of modern social and economic issues have led to interviews with BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, CNNfn, and Newsweek International. His insights are regularly featured in India's leading national newspapers. A well-known public figure, he regularly draws crowds of more than 300,000 people for his public talks and "sathsangs" (group meditation).

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Vinod Malhotra was with the Indian Administrative Services for 38 years. His administrative experience covered a wide spectrum ranging from Industrial Development, Tax Generation, Environment, Rural Development, and field of Arts & Crafts. As Development Commissioner – Handicrafts, he conceptualized “Dill Haat” which has become a national hub for Indian Handicrafts. His international experience includes negotiations with different countries on trade related matters under the aegis of WTO. As National Consultant to United Nations he offered advisory services in setting up the National Carpet Institute and was also responsible for promoting Indian motifs in the carpet industry. A student and patron of Hindustani classical music, he composed music for renditions of the Shlokas of the Bhagwad Gita. He has been a founder member of various musical organizations including, Nadabrahman, Uttar Dakshin Cultural Organization and Aakarshan. He has written ten books so far, six of which have been printed and the remaining are in the pipeline. These include “Bhagwadgita and Management”, “Cosmic Energy and origin of Genes”, “Demystifying Death”, “Lifestyle Management” and “Mantras of Leadership”. Mr. Malhotra has been busy conducting lectures on spiritual and management related subjects in different parts of the country. Currently, Mr. Malhotra is involved in operating an NGO under the name and title of “Association of child aid organizations” (ACAOI)

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