Take the lead and walk the talk!

This was my first post on social media and I was surprised with the amazing response to the post. It was titled Disrupted a regular serious event into a lighthearted fun evening!

Recently I had the privilege to be a part of the Disruptive Tech & Innovation Summit organized by KamiKaze in Bengaluru. Initially I was supposed to be just a panelist in the Diversity & Inclusion track. The theme was Diversity & Inclusion 2.0: Aligning Purpose, People & Performance. But somehow circumstances changed and in the last minute, the organizers asked me to moderate the morning session as well. So I accepted the opportunity and adding to my surprises, they made me the Chief Guest for the evening award function as well. This is what happens when we are open to jump in and help, the Universe gives it back to us in abundance.

The session went very well and I got a lot of compliments on the way I had moderated. What was more surprising was the people who did not even attend the session and when I met them later, reacted “Oh we heard your session was fantastic”. This was awesome since it was a last minute request that I had accepted and was able to carry it off.

During the evening award function, I realized that I was the only female chief guest along with other male guests. The event was turning out to be a regular serious kind of professional affair. People were applauding only for their organizations / colleagues. It was low energy even though the organizers were playing some great music. Now, foot-tapping music is my weakness and I start dancing or at least moving when I hear great music. So when it was my turn to go on stage, I knew it would be difficult for me to inhibit myself!

I then went on stage with a couple of other senior leaders to give away the last set of awards. The moment we announced the first award, the music started playing and I started jiving a bit with my hands mostly, and a gentleman came on stage to receive the award. I told the awardee that he could not walk off the stage without doing a dance-step. Well, initially he was shy but post handshakes and pictures, while climbing down the steps, he did a great dance move. The emcee of the show picked it up from there and called back the gentleman to dance more. This person agreed to dance if I were to join him and I accepted and we made some lively movements to a great beat.

This changed the serious professional event into a lighthearted fun evening. The emcee then played a Bollywood quiz with the audience which heartily participated in singing and answering the movie names, etc. She then announced that I would be performing on a hit Bollywood track and the senior leaders standing alongside me need to follow my lead. So we did and it turned out to be so much fun for everyone. Post this we got back to giving away the rest of the awards and each awardee, specially the women, hugged me and said it is such an honor to receive the award from me. What an awesome honor and experience it turned out to be even for me!

The award ceremony was followed by a cocktail dinner. Many senior leaders and awardees complimented me on my energy and how I changed the tone of the event to make it lively and engaging for all. I was thrilled but also humbled on hearing these remarks!

I wanted to share this with my friends on LinkedIn since we always hear, especially in the Diversity & Inclusion space, to be you, to be authentic and this is one of the experiences of just being yourself. Also this is what happens when you include a woman (diversity talent) among all the men on stage 🙂

It is possible to engage people in a positive manner provided you take the lead and ‘walk the talk’.


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