Corporate Social Responsibility · GYAN

“Volunteering, for me, is an opportunity to indulge in areas that my professional work does not allow me to”

Manosh-Sengupda-99x110Meet Manosh R. Sengupta, our Banaglore based volunteer for Whiteboard, GYAN, Joy of Giving and a Guru on “Brand & Marketing”. NGO’s in Bangalore have found his GYAN session on “Building your Brand“extremely useful. The following interview shares his unique perspective on volunteering  in his very own words & style.

Tell us something about yourself ( work and other interests)? What does volunteering mean to you?

I am by nature very eclectical. Diversity attracts me and any opportunity to experience the unfamiliar and unknown has always driven my sense of existence. Though, I must admit that, often such an attitude has had more downs than ups. But life has been interesting and I would never trade this journey for the safe and sedantic life.

My life’s philosophy (tagline, in our branding parlance): “in a world filled with choices, I strive to create a reason”

I’ve been fortunate to have lived this philosophy through my professional journey of parenting / nurturing celebrated brands like IDEA Cellular, Kingfisher Beer, AT&T, TATA, Wipro-Acer, Reliance Mobile, Black & White WhiskyAcer, Dunlop, Bata, Dulux… Also, as an independent advisor, continuing this journey by engaging with the MSME sector as a Mentor.

I think, I am extremely fortunate to have found my vocation in my profession.

Volunteering, for me, is an opportunity to indulge in areas that my professional work does not allow me to. As a result, I enrich my knowledge base and widen my understanding of people and community. This is turn, sharpens my ability as a brand and marketing professional.

What are the various ways in which u are engaged with the development sector and  what motivated you to volunteer for GYAN ?

My association with the development sector stems from the encouragement & opportunities that came from my family & alma mater – St. Xavier’s, Kolkata. I was constantly exposed to and participated in various programs, ranging from blood donation camps to flood relief work, to counseling jail in-mates. Later, this evolved to direct engagement with various NGO/NPO units.

I find that almost all NGOs, while extremely proficient in their core domain of causes, are quite clueless on the need / ability to create a strong brand. Increasingly, since the last 2-3 years, i’ve found more and more such Organizations seeking me out to mentor them in this aspect.

I did not volunteer to GYAN, rather was enlisted by Aarti!

True to her style she informed me, one day, of this role 🙂 And, I am thankful that she did.

Additionally, I am a sucker for anyone willing to discuss this subject (Brand & Marketing) with me. These sessions gave me an opportunity to evangelise about what I believe is the most valuable asset of any Organization.

What are the sessions you have taken  for GYAN. What was your experience and learning from it?

Till date, I have conducted 2 GYAN workshops, each attended by about 10 NGOs.

The key insight, for me, is that it’s high time NGOs corporatized their way of functioning. While there is a lot of passion and enthusiasm, such energy needs harnessing through a more professionalized management.

In fact, the story of NGOs and the MSME sector is very akin to each other. Their biggest challenges are sustainability and scalability issues.

Do you conduct trainings as part of your professions? If so, do you find your experience and the approach of GYAN different from the other trainings? If so how?

Yes, training and workshops forms a key segment of my professional portfolio. Such sessions are conducted amongst Corporate Executives and Post-graduate Management students.

The key distinction is the ‘expectation’ with which they come for such sessions – strategic vs operational.

The Corporate segment are quite clear that these are learning sessions, and come prepared to gain new perspectives that can refresh their way of thinking.
Whereas the NGOs come with expectations of specific solutions. E.g. – how to create a website; how to develop literature; etc.

Having engaged closely with various Non profits, do you think trainings like GYAN can have a significant impact on the sector? if so, why?

YES! Such engagement is a must.

As mentioned above, the 2 key challenges for any enterprise – profit or non-profit – is how to build a sustainable & scalable organization. This calls for a paradigm shift. I believe that GYAN sessions are an effective platform to start the ball rolling.

Will you recommend GYAN as a volunteering opportunity to your colleagues? If so why?

I normally do not recommend anything to anybody. I share my experience and let others decide whether they wish to participate.

I have been narrating my GYAN session experience at various forums and have discovered a lot of interest amongst others to contribute similarly.

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