Involved in the process of creating effective leaders, Sangeeth Varghese believes that leaders are just ordinary people who are at the right time with the right people. The 37-year-old is the founder-chairman of LeadCap Trust, a leadership capacity-building organisation and LeadCap Ventures, a management consulting firm. A first-rank holder in economics from Sacred Heart College in Kerala, Varghese went on to work with Mukesh Ambani at Reliance Infocomm in Mumbai (2001). “Being a part of Mukesh Ambani’s team was a learning experience as I got to watch the leader at close quarters. In 2001 when the telecom industry expanded beyond our national boundaries, it was truly rewarding. After three years I quit to join London School of Economics to do a postgraduate degree in development management,” he says.
Soon after LSE, Varghese worked with United Nations for one-and-a-half years. “I decided to come back to India and began to think about leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln, who changed the course of history despite being such ordinary people,” explains Varghese, who is spearheading the Global Shapers programme, which has been implemented in collaboration with the Karnataka government for over two years.
Soon after retruning home, Varghese has been instrumental in creating young leaders from none other than government colleges. The Global Shapers aims to train 1,000 students across Karnataka to become leaders of tomorrow during a two-month fellowship programme, which includes 108 work hours. The Global Shapers programme is for graduate/postgraduate students, primarily from government colleges. The programme has also been recommended to the Indian Government for full-fledged emulation and implementation.
Varghese says, “The objective of this Global Shapers is to create defining moments for youth such as moments of reckoning that expand their horizons, potential and possibilities. The aim of this programme goes beyond mere employability. It is to raise a band of young role models for our society.”
Varghese’s vision is the democratisation of leaders where all youngsters are empowered despite crippling differences. “The programme is an adult-focused learning system and more self-directed rather than taught, problem-centered than content centered, requiring active involvement than passive listening,” explains Varghese. “Another interesting aspect of the programme is that it is delivered mainly through simple stories and narratives — easy to imbibe and understand, even for local language medium students.”
Varghese is also into writing — Open Source leader was his first book, published by Penguin India. He is currently penning DNA of Early Success. Varghese is an ambassador for the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and was listed in the Who’s Who in the World for the year 2012-13. A globally acknowledged leadership thinker, Varghese has been personal advisor for three prime ministers of the world on matters of leadership and youth development.
While not working, Varghese spends time with his two-year-old toddler and wife. He loves to read on biology, and evolutionary sciences is his favourite topic. ‘Keep pushing oneself to perfection’ is what Varghese believes in.