Social Entrepreneur Rachna Sharma Urges A Leadership Revolution To Bring Women Into Power
- IWB Post
- April 12, 2019
“As the young leaders of tomorrow, you have the passion and energy and commitment to make a difference. What I’d like to really urge you do is to have a global vision. Go beyond your country; go beyond your national boundaries.” – Ban Ki-moon
Rachna Sharma is connecting the dots between the power of youth and our global vision. She is running an organization called Vision 2021 – One Million Youth for Peace that provides framework, design, forum & resources to aid in conscious human evolution by using the power of collective consciousness. It unifies the world’s established/emerging leaders for facilitating the youth revolution in India.
Rachna aims to build a nation of young leaders. With her initiative, Vision 2021, she has brought prominent industry leaders together to join her mission. She’s an active propagator of developing leaders and believes in the power of young minds. In this interview, she tells us about her journey of starting her own organization and the importance of finding our purpose in life. Excerpts:
Let’s discuss some ways through which you are trying to bring about a leadership revolution.
Any new, revolutionary movement or idea faces friction initially.We are about developing collective intelligence to impact societies. It is essential to impart conscious leadership in order to overcome some challenges. There’s a lot of buzz about the whole leadership evolution that’s coming up because of entrepreneurship. Techniques such as NLP are already mentioned in our Vedas, and we must incorporate those to bring about a leadership revolution.
Tell us why initiatives like Vision 2021 are the need of the hour.
Some things are easier said than done. If qualities like compassion and humility can be absorbed through our initiatives and programs, then it will soon be their way of life, and when leaders practice the same in the organization and even outside their organization, it will help to make this world a better place.
How will developing great leaders help the ones working with these leaders?
The biggest strength of great leaders is to be able to communicate the vision and inspire people to follow it. People are thinking beyond them because of so much knowledge and exposure nowadays with the advent of social media. They want to do something that gives them a sense of purpose and wants to find meaning in their work. If leaders can communicate the greater good that company aims to do, employees and all the people working under these leaders will be able to align their sense of purpose with their work.
Tell us about your transformation journey when you realized your sense of purpose.
I worked in the hospitality industry. I was doing really well in my job as I had all the necessary skills to excel. But I used to get up every morning and ponder over my purpose in life. I started thinking about how people in my native place don’t have access to the kind of resources that will give them good exposure. That’s where the journey started. With our Vision 2021, we got all the alumni from Harvard to mentor students in J&K. I believe that being one of the youngest nations in the world with the third largest economy, it is essential to educate and create leaders among the younger generation as they will be the drivers of the future world.
You mentioned conscious leadership, how is it different from the leadership followed currently?
Conscious leadership starts from being aware of everything that goes on inside you, around you, i.e., in your immediate environment and then regarding the world at large. A conscious leader is open to changes, and instead of looking at these changes as challenges and overcoming them they look at them as opportunities. Conscious leaders identify the right purpose and inspiration in order to pass on that to others working with them. Humility becomes their number one trait.
Talking about women leaders, what are some things that inhibit them from getting ahead?
The biggest influencers that either obstruct or build their path is society and family. A lot of girls, especially, from small towns and rural areas, are left behind in spite of having enough potential because of the family and societal pressures. For example, out of the 37 mentees, there are around 16 girls in my program. Vision Matrix is providing them with an opportunity to grow. Parents are scared or sceptical to send their daughters to big cities, so organizations like us can help them build confidence and provide right information, support & guidance. Similarly, there will be many others who have great potential but don’t have enough opportunities. Even if they happen to come to metro or tier 1 cities where the opportunities exist, they face new challenges concerning culture, lifestyle and the cutting-edge competition.
How do we create more women leaders?
First and obvious support system is the family. Then we need to spread the message about building more women leaders, like what you are doing. Spreading a message will not only inspire women but will also cause a shift in the society’s mindset.
Do you think social media plays an important role in bringing about this mindset shift?
Social media is vital to spread this message because of the kind of reach it has. But it is important to take actions instead of just sitting and typing statuses. For example, there was an incident of molestation in the train, and the girl apparently confronted the molester and even lodged a complaint. She posted her ordeal on a social media site, and everyone seemed to be giving her bravery accolades. But there was no one for her help when the incident happened. So I think now that we have started spreading essential messages through social media, it is high time that we act on it as well.
Could you guide the youth who are passionate about finding out their purpose in life?
I think it is important to introspect and contemplate on what you really want to. I was reading once how Ex-President of America, Obama’s daughter took a gap year before pursuing her higher studies. In our society taking a break without reason is stigmatized. But I’ll suggest people to take sabbaticals to travel, explore and learn about themselves in order to find their passion.Invest time and resources into knowing “who I am and what I want.”
First published on Feb 15, 2018.