Pilgrims vs Nomads | January 2019

Pilgrims vs Nomads

Dear Friend ,

[These Second Life updates are what I send friends – some from my first life that lasted 18 years in the corporate world, some from my second life when I decided to quit my job, come back to India and work with children and young adults on the values and skills that will prepare them to be leaders with a difference. To read my first Newslet for context and later ones visit http://talentease.com/blog/  .]

Greetings!
Compliments of the season to you and your family and wishes for a fruitful and meaningful New Year.

In a few days we will celebrate Epiphany or the feast when the three wise men visited the baby Jesus and paid homage to him. They were pilgrims. They felt a call, they followed the star and stayed focused till they reached their objective. As they traversed the deserts, they may have met with another category of travelers – wandering tribesmen or nomads. Both travel- but one with purpose and one rather aimlessly and more focused on the short-term needs of food and shelter. Each year we need to ask ourselves this question – were we pilgrims or nomads? Did we ‘wander’ the year with purpose ?

2018 was an especially meaningful ‘pilgrim’ year for us at TalentEase. We completed five years since our first session began in 2013. On Dec 8th we took the opportunity to celebrate the milestone and to give thanks to God and all the people who have supported us in our journey and believed in our mission. Special thanks to our team who have stayed committed and passionate about making a difference through today’s young people. Their daily work makes TalentEase what it is. We are so grateful for all the school and college leaders, who trusted us with the leadership development of the children and young adults in their institutions.

With 30 full time team members and over 30 part time Facilitators we are thrilled that the TalentEase team has grown without losing focus on the principle of keeping the child and young adult at the centre of everything we do. We have completed well over 500,000 children and young adult impact sessions and run leadership programs for over 5000 Principals, Correspondents, Educators and parents at over 50 schools and colleges. Our effort has been to go deep.So we work with children on continuous sessions through the academic year building leadership skills and values through increasing levels of understanding and expertise. At one of our schools, children who began with us in Grade 1 are now with us in Grade 4 doing the 4th level of our leadership program!

We had some stand out moments this year.

  • Our Light Lives initiative working with orphans and low-income schools has been something very close to our hearts. On Dec 9th, we watched with joy as over 600 orphans graduated from the first year of the TalentEase LEAD (Leadership Experience And Development) program. A 100 more will join the program this year. Many thanks to the Catholic Club Orphans Trust with Mr.Gilroy D’Silva and his team who funded the program and encouraged us with their faith and support. On Graduation Day, the children enthralled everyone with their talented performances and Sid Sood, ( Director and Co-Founder, Wildcraft) our dear friend and supporter delighted the orphans with the generous gift of a Wildcraft bag to each of them.
  • Through Light Lives, we also welcomed over 80 students from overseas – close to 50 from the UK and over 30 from the National University of Singapore. The students came in and worked at low income schools and orphanages. They worked with the children; teaching them in the classroom, playing with them, running projects in the neighbouring villages that ranged from putting a chicken coop together, to working on an e-commerce project to help villagers sell their produce, to doing up the library in the school. Our special thanks to David Evans, the CEO and Founder of The Diversity and Innovation company, for his faith in this program and for taking the “Discover India, Discover Yourself” journey to schools in the UK.

John White the Director of 6th Form from one of the UK schools, Bedford Modern School had this to say about the India trip they undertook with us:

“The Discover India trip was quite simply by far and away the most impactful initiative that I have been involved in during a 25 years teaching career. To give context I have experience with numerous charitable organisations, sat on various executives, worked in an inner city and with education welfare – this trip not only surpassed all of my previous experiences by a margin, but it exceeded our expectations completely. An emotional, humbling and life-changing experience that has given me personally a new perspective that has been welcome.  Having already had a reunion with the group that undertook the trip – it is clear that we are all feeling the same.

“An amazing experience that I would highly recommend. I feel like a new improved person.” was how most students described the trip.

  •  We fulfilled a long-time dream of working with colleges to make courses more employment ready. At Holy Cross College Trichy, Sr.Bridget , the Principal entrusted us with the first of its kind B.Com-BPO program. We had the privilege and the responsibility of designing the curriculum in collaboration with the college and university and putting in place specialized staff who have got the young girls started on a different type of college education. Our Leadership Skills and Values program also rolled out for over 1700 students at the same college.
  • Through a valued partnership with Yahweh Solutions and the personal commitment of its CEO, Shankar Nathan, TalentEase got started in Vizag this year with over 5000 students commencing the LEAD program.

On the personal front, I finally joined Teresa and the children in the 10k run. For someone whose idea of vigorous exercise is a short walk, this was very fulfilling to do.

I had the opportunity to tell the TalentEase story through a TED style talk at the Lead for Change Coacharya Conference (https://coacharya.com/bangalore-2018/). You can watch the talk at the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWx-IyAK6bA

There’s a big difference between being pilgrims and nomads, and I like to think that our journey over these last few years has been one of the most meaningful pilgrimages of my life.

May I wish for you and your families a ‘pilgrim’ year in 2019. May you wander with purpose.

God bless.

Leo

Looking for Recorded, on-demand courses? Visit lifeskills.talentease.com