Akila Bharatha Mahila Seva Samaja (ABMSS) was set up in the year 1993 in Bangalore to promote the social causes of child and people welfare. Over the years, the organization has morphed from a catalyst, supporter, promoter, and sponsor for many causes. Since 2013, the organization went on to add Cleft India as the flagship programme.
Apart from cleft lip and palate, the organization also supports congenital facial deformities, other birth defects, awareness work in rural areas; education of doctors and medical personnel involved in supporting the charitable cause; speech and myo-functional therapy; and nutrition for under-nourished and malnourished children.
We start off the year by speaking to Dr Dushyant Prasad, General Secretary at ABMSS on his entrepreneurial journey..
Where/How do you get your best ideas?
During my evening walks in the park and also while attending conferences.
What is something they don’t teach you in University that you should probably know?
Managing personal wealth and how to build a sustainable financial roadmap.
First thing you do as soon as you wake up?
Sip on my black coffee with the newspaper while listening to bhajans for a complete hour.
What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses in the country?
Will answer with respect to small and medium non profits. Ease of establishment and support for sustainability. This could lead to many interesting ideas turning into reality that dynamic youngsters who are on the right path to solving and helping solve societal problems.
What was your biggest stroke of luck since the launch of your company (s)?
The passing of the CSR bill, which enabled us expand our partners, programmes and beneficiaries by leaps and bounds.
What do you typically read and your favourite book?
2 newspapers everyday; fiction by Indian authors; English poetry; My Dateless Diary by R K Narayan.
Best boss you had and what did you learn from them?
Alexander Gross, a former hockey player turned CEO. To be slow and steady in decision making and to grow and consolidate while expanding, both ultimately lead you to remain robust and relevant.
What question do you ask at interviews?
Always two questions-to give me a deep dive about their background both professional and personal and secondly, their goals and aims in life. These two probably sum up any potential employee.
One thing you learned about yourself?
We are nothing but a figment of our imagination!
How do you keep your team motivated & engaged?
Fortunately, our work is into crafting smiles for cleft children and giving them a second chance at life. This is so infectious that no one needs external motivation for the larger scheme of work that we are in.
To keep them engaged, I always share information about the health of the organization, the problems, the successes, and future plans to make them feel like family.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
Set work hours and keep them away from my private time. To keep most weekends exclusively for self whilst keeping the weekdays for work.
A childhood memory that shaped something you do in your business today?
A visit to the Sathya Sai Baba hospital with my father, which offers completely free and quality medical care to the needy in a truly world class sense. This was something I was just amazed at, given the fact that so many people have distressed lives as they are unable to afford medical care for no fault of theirs.
Today, I am really proud that my organization, ABMSS, impacts the lives of more than 5,000 children each year across the length and breadth of the country.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Know your passion and live by it.