An insider perspective of TEDxFIIB – Varying shades of empowerment

On 25th August 2018, FIIB hosted its first chapter of TEDxFIIB with the theme The Empowered ‘Self”. With bubbling anticipation and sparkling enthusiasm, students, alumni, and the rest of the FIIB community celebrated ideas worth spreading. As part of the event, 9 absolutely amazing storytellers, each with a unique story to tell, took stage and mesmerized the audience with their simple yet powerful life mantras for leading happy, contented, and wholesome lives.  As the conversations unfolded, it was clear that empowerment starts from within oneself. It is the power inside each of us that makes us shine.

Here in the words of Ms. Radhika Shrivastava, Executive Director, FIIB let’s walk through the journey that led up to this mega event.

Q: Why did you decide to organize a TEDx event at FIIB?

A: You know, this is a bit of a story as this links to the theme of The Empowered ‘Self’  and also the culture of FIIB. Last year, I used to mentor the public speaking student club of FIIB called Cue; and one afternoon, just before lunch, this student, Akash who was a co-head of the same club at that time came to my office with gushing enthusiasm saying how he recently attended a TEDx conference and how he would like to do something like that at FIIB, but doesn’t know where to get started. We talked about it a bit. His energy was really infectious (and at the same time my hunger was really mounting!). I quickly googled about TEDx license, gave him the link and said why don’t you find more and submit an application. I also connected him to a faculty member who had mentioned previously attending a TED event. Over the next 2 months, the student took a lead in drafting our application; We kept talking about it; we connected him to more people who were able to hand-hold, and soon we got our license!


In that sense, our approach to organizing this event was true to our promise to students -that we will challenge them to achieve their potential, as well as create opportunities for their future success, with the support of committed mentors and lifelong friends they’ll make here.  And that empowerment we keep talking about is reflected in our theme for the conference as well.

Q: Why did you select the theme of The Empowered ‘Self’?

A: Frankly, it was easy to pin down the theme as we had wanted it to be something that resonates loudly with our culture, as well is of relevance to our students.  As a Business school with 23 years of closely working with the youth, shaping their future, we noticed that sometimes feelings of mediocrity, lack of purpose, and futility of lifelong effort are the barriers which stifle them from reaching their full potential. The student, as a learner, needs confidence in self, feel the strength of one’s abilities and cultivate hunger & desire for development. In fulfilling our aim to develop success-ready leader-managers who drive growth in their communities and professions, and to build an ideology, a mindset of excellence, built on robust ‘sense of self’ after much brainstorming, we decided the apt theme would be The Empowered ‘Self’ to give FIIB community the ambition to steer away from situations that are waning their lives, the desire to overcome the negativity in life, and the power to lead them away from life’s decisions they don’t love or believe in. Through the conference, we were hoping to ignite passion in young minds to bring out their best self.  

Q: How did you select each speaker?

A: Selecting and approaching the speakers was one of the most challenging endeavours for TEDx. The thing which kept tingling at the back of mind was, this is going to be the inaugural version of the TEDxFIIB and has to make an impact which encapsulates the personality of FIIB. The other contributing factor to this conundrum was the theme ‘The Empowered Self’. The problem wasn’t the scarcity of influential people whose stories resonate in sync with the theme, rather it was their abundance.  Fortunately, for us, our speaker panel turned out to be very versatile and from all walks of life but with one unique attribute. In their darkest of time, they held their will and turned on the light from within themselves, illuminating their paths and of many others. At the end of the day we had an array of speakers which included a recognised actor from bollywood, a couple of entrepreneurs, a rockstar, an author, a social anthropologist, a reforming administrative officer, an illustrious  taekwondo teacher and a veteran dancer and choreographer who we thought would do absolute justice to the tone we are setting.

Q: Please share a favorite quote/message from each speaker.

A. I found the following messages from each speaker ‘sticky’ for me

Mohit Dubey: Great love stories are born out of courage, commitment, and a great intent. A great intent to live the life like itself. To enjoy its beauty, to enjoy the experience and not seek any short-term things.  And, so are Startups. They too have a great cause, intent, and purpose behind them. They too like love stories need courage and commitment.

Prashant Tandon: We are entering into a world where healthcare is becoming more and more personalized, preventative and predictive. There is a fundamental disruption that is taking place, which will address the large supply gap of trained doctors. By providing assistance on the diagnosis side to doctors, we could increase their productivity to almost 10 times. Thereby, deliver on the promise of technology to put consumer healthcare needs in their hands.

Subir Malik: As I worked towards building a world-class rock band, I was particular about the kind of people we were adding to the team..  Because, in our line of work, a stage is only 10% of the time; but being together is the entire time. So when I look for a guitar player, I am happy with someone who is a 40% guitar player and 90% human being.  I know I can teach him to play 90% guitar, but I cannot make him a 90% human being.

Vipul Ujjwal: My hard-earned achievements just entitled me to get into the big league, but even at that level I had to start from scratch. It’s just like playing a video game.  Moving from one level to the next. It gets harder and more challenging. And to stay on top, you have to try harder. So you have to keep asking yourself, how do I keep myself relevant.  

Jyotsna Shourie: Purists may suggest that I have strayed from the traditional path but I firmly believe that for any classical dance to become relevant in today’s fast-changing society the connoisseur, as well as the layperson, must be engulfed in its hold.

Preeti Mann: When I decided to turn my researcher lens inwards to my own family, I questioned -what is that we sought freedom from? And the answer was -we were looking to get total control over our life and its direction. We wanted just not to be free, but feel free.

Sonal Sehgal: Successful people had opportunities that successful people hadn’t had. Instead of crying for that opportunity, create that opportunity.  And emerge successfully.

Susan Vernon: In the moments where we perceive our life events as tragedies or successes, all we can do is move forward. No matter what life gives you, move forward.   

Chetan Mahajan: Definitions of success in our life have been put into our lives by society and parents and largely the definition is money, recognition and titles. But everything wears out after a while. If you find yourself connected to your work and find fulfillment in what you do, that makes you happy.  

Q: What has been the response to the event?

A: *Beaming* Oh, the response has been both overwhelming and humbling. When I experienced the radiant energy inside the auditorium where we held TEDxFIIB reminded me why this was so important. The stories each of our speakers shared were awe-inspiring and wonderful. I will be honest, there was a lot of hard work involved, at times I wondered if our team will be able to stand up to the promise TEDxFIIB made, but in the end, it was all of that and more. But most of all, when I saw students of FIIB confidently performing at the event, believing in themselves and putting up a great show, and the students walking up to our organizers saying that it was a very empowering experience, I can tell you there are no words that can match that feeling. It was a grand success, no doubt and we’re already looking forward to our next TEDx event.

Q.What would you like to say to our student performers and emcees for the day?

A. I want to say to them that I am completely, totally proud of them! My most exciting times during the conferences were when each of our students and emcees came on stage.  I was proud of how hard they had worked, as well as of the combined talent that they represented. All 11 of them put FIIB on the map for the numerous external guests we had with us that day.  I also want to tell them how inspired I was with their dedication and effort in practicing the smallest act to ensure that what the audience saw was a flawless and perfect performance!

Q.What’s next for FIIB and TED?

A. You will have to keep tuned to this space to know more about that!  We do have something in the works for December but will wait to make an official announcement.  The team needs to catch up on their sleep first after Saturday’s event! Also, we are working very hard at FIIB to create high-quality learning experiences through our annual conferences, TED and otherwise.  And I am sure that people who attend these will go away feeling as satisfied and enlightened as the TEDx audience.

Know more about the happenings at FIIB by visiting www.fiib.edu.in