Keynote on International Women’s Day at Bank of New York Mellon, Singapore

It was a pleasure to be invited to speak as one of three keynote speakers on the occasion of International’s Women’s Day at Bank of New York Mellon, Singapore along with Claire Chiang of Banyan Tree Holdings and Ketki Vinayakachandran, a practicing doctor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My keynote was entitled ‘Forward Thinking.’  The theme of the event was ‘Leading from the corner office and beyond’.  What kind of leadership thinking and behaviour would enable C-suite leaders from the ‘corner office’ need to enable organisations and societies to survive and thrive in the future?

I spoke about the need for ‘Conscious Leadership’ for a sustainable and equitable future – leadership that’s conscious and mindful of ‘footprint, mindprint and heartprint’ which means one’s physical impact, impact of one’s thoughts, and impact of one’s behaviour, and how these create a ripple effect in an organisation.

The event was attended by about 100 employees and clients of BNY Mellon Singapore.  The feedback I got was very heartening, most said they felt really inspired. In particular, one lady noticed I had spoken the language of banking (given my finance background, I was able to use the right terminologies), and that the talk came from a rational space as sustainability can come from a highly emotional space.  I was able to achieve, I think, a balance of both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASEAN Corporate Sustainability Summit & Awards (ACSSA) 2014, Manila

It was indeed a wonderful experience to speak on ‘New Media and Sustainability’ at the ASEAN Corporate Sustainability Summit & Awards (ACSSA) 2014 on the 20th of March. Addressing a gathering of industry professionals, as well as representatives from the NGO sectors, I shared my views on a  topic that is of particular importance in this day and age, when a lot of the messaging is through social media.

Bhavani Prakash speaking on ‘New Media and Sustainability’ at ACSSA 2014, Manila

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I shared with practical examples, how new media can be a very useful channel, and in some cases critical for various purposes such as sharing ecological intelligence, communicating with stakeholders, empowering the audience to make decisions, enabling behaviour and culture change, canvassing and crowdsourcing as well as managing crises and increasing resilience.  In the Q & A we also talked about measuring the impact of our social media engagement. All in all, a well attended session with great feedback from the participants and the organisers.

Bhavani Prakash with delegates after her breakout session at ACSSA 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking at UWCSEA

How does one engage 200 Grade 5 students and keep their full attention? Certainly not be ‘telling’ them things. I made it a very interactive session with them, and wove in a sustainability story with some of their favourite TV heroes and heroines.  The children really impressed with their wonderful questions at the end, and also the various suggestions on how to lead an eco-friendly life.  A great morning, well spent! Thanks to Hugh Pollard, Grade 5 tutor for organising this.

Bhavani Prakash speaking at UWCSEA

How do you inspire people to make positive change?

How do you inspire people to make positive change?

Ever since I became a sustainability advocate in 2008, it has been a continuous quest of mine to find different ways of engaging with people – to enable myself and those around me to make positive change towards a better life, and a better world.  In seeking out stories and inspirations from various communities of people, and sharing them, it is my hope that we can all create ripples of positive change around us.

As professional speakers are all about inspiring people into action, I posed this question to some of the top Singapore based global and local speakers who attended the Asia Professional Speakers Singapore (APSS) Annual Convention on 23rd April 2013. I would have loved to ask many more who attended the event, but I had limited time to pull this off in between the sessions.

After compiling the video, I realised that there is indeed much wisdom in ‘collective wisdom!’   Enjoy and be inspired!

And do leave a comment below if you wish to share how YOU inspire people to make positive change.  You never know whose life you may touch!

(Video link is here )

Many thanks to Nicole Stinton, Andrew Bryant, Fredrik Haren, Ron Kaufman, Heather Hansen, Manoj Vasudevan, Andrew Chow, Tim Wade, Brenda Bence, Nishant Kashibatla, Tim Hamons, Wendy Tan and Maria Kassova for being such good sports, and sharing their thoughts.

This is a group photo of the APSS Annual Convention 2013, courtesy of APSS and Ron Kaufman who inserted the banner.

APSS Annual Convention 2013

 

 

 

Sustainability Circles: Leadership Lessons from Nature

Group Photo: Leadership Lessons from Nature

 

What lessons can we learn from observing Nature? How can these lessons inspire us to become better leaders – in our own lives, and in leading our communities or organisations?

This was a novel 3 hour interactive workshop that I had the pleasure of putting together with Zafirah Mohamed of the Sequoia Group, at the HUB on 25th April 2013.

We came up with 4 major themes (a hard task as Nature has so many lessons to offer, the more we observe!) around the way she organises herself, and followed each theme with an interactive exercises that deepened the participants understanding of the content, but more importantly to search within and engage in richer conversations with fellow participants.

We had a great night!  Look forward to another Sustainability Circle.

The pictures of the event can be viewed here on Flickr:

Here was the flyer for the event:

TedxSingapore 2013

Bhavani Prakash at TedxSingapore 2013

It was a huge honour to be invited again to speak at TedxSingapore 2013 on 20th April.  It was a fantastic event with 18 inspiring speakers and I was blown away by their passion, their stories and ideas definitely worth sharing.

My mandate from Michelle Wan and Dave Lim, the curators, was to make sustainability an idea that would be simple enough for the ‘person on the street’ to understand.  That shaped the crafting of this talk, which is very different from the one I gave at TedxSingapore Women on 1st December 2012, where I spoke about the need to preserve food plant diversity.

The curators and the volunteers worked tirelessly to make this day a huge success. Hats off to them for energising the audience with a fabulous event.

 

Update on 15th September 2013:

Here’s the uploaded video of the TEDxSingapore talk:

Video link here

Energy Experience Series 2013 at UTown

The Energy Carta group is led by NUS students who are very interested in energy issues and how this can be addressed to create a more sustainable future. It was a pleasure once again to be invited by them to speak and subsequently moderate the panel discussion at the “Energy Experience Series 2013″ held at UTown on 6th April 2013.  The panelists included Prof. Palani Balaya (NUS), Prof Michael Quah (NUS), Mr Vinod Kesava (GreenAsia Group) and Ms Tan Li Yen (NEA) with the topic being, ” Singapore’s role in a global energy landscape: Leader, Follower or Mediator” 

Here’s the poster with the details:

Judging at Pecha Kucha Night 2013, Asia Professional Speakers Singapore

It was a great experience judging the Pecha Kucha event at Asia Professional Speakers Singapore this year, and an honour to do so sitting next to speaking stalwarts like Ricky Lien and Tim Wade.  I must say I had more trepidation doing the judging, than actually participating in the event last year, where I was very pleased to win.  Looking back at my talk last year, I got a lot of useful advice from Andrew Bryant, CSP and David Goldwich,  I could pass on to the participants this year.  When judging, these were the main things I looked for:

1) Why is the speaker making this speech? Why is it important to him or her?
2) What is the main thesis statement or takeaway that he or she wishes the audience to takeaway?
3) How is the speaker elaborating that thesis statement as one coherent whole – through stories, strong visuals, anchors etc
4) Is there a clear call for action?

Ricky gave several insights into the use of voice, the sense of presence of  a speaker and body language. Tim offered several sharp and useful comments as ‘Simon Cowell’ for the night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a great night it had been for all of us. Here’s a picture of the participants. They’re all winners!!!

Participants at Pecha Kucha 2013

 

Our Singapore Conversation for the Green Community @ Singapore Polytechnic

It was a wonderful educational experience to co-facilitate Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) for the Green Community recently. It was held on 19 January at Singapore Polytechnic. This OSC was initiated by Faizah Jamal, Nominated Member of Parliament (Environment and Heritage) People and Civic Sector, and Eugene Tay, Director, Green Future Solutions, in collaboration with the Singapore Polytechnic Environment Club and “Our Singapore” Programme Office, Public Service Division.

Here is the neat summary of the group dialogue by Eugene Tay in Green Future Solutions:

“55 participants, including 45 representatives from green groups and 10 from the public, turned up on a rainy Saturday morning to voice their thoughts and vision for Singapore. The diverse views of the green community, which included environmental NGOs and groups; individual environment, animal and wildlife activists; and environmental businesses, associations and research academics, added an important voice to the overall national conversation.

Next, the small groups moved on to discuss our vision for Singapore in 2022, and explored the following key questions:

  • What do we envision for Singapore?
  • What is the role of civil society, private enterprise, government, and the ordinary citizen?
  • How can the green community be more creative, engaging and inspiring in the way we communicate with Singaporeans on our environmental concerns and visions?

Each group presented their views and we ended with a big group discussions on what has been said and what we can do next.

Some of the diverse views from the groups include:

  • The need for environmental impact assessments (EIA)
  • A country that respects the earth and looks at Gross National Happiness
  • The government moving away from enforcement and regulation, towards helping people who help themselves
  • The need for people in the various environmental sectors (public, NGOs, institutions and government) to collaborate
  • Corporations having a larger role to play in conservation and the environment
  • Consumerist lifestyle of Singaporeans need to be addressed
  • Government should adopt a holistic approach when it comes to policy implementation
  • Incorporate environmental issues and awareness into the education system
  • More attention on climate change, and managing waste, energy, and food properly
  • Moving from 5Cs to a 5Gs society: gracious, green, giving, grounded, grateful
  • More environmental narratives and stories from the media
  • Mainstreaming the green agenda”

 

TedxSingapore Women 2012

Bhavani Prakash at TEDxSingapore Women 2012

 

 

It was a great honour to be chosen to speak at TEDxSingapore Women 2012. I chose the topic on which I had done a lot of research over the last few years for Eco WALK the Talk.com and wanted to present the issue of food security from a different angle, that of preserving food plant diversity.  Here is the talk:

 

The TedxSingapore Women 2012 photostream is here