Dr. Vikram Rao
Vikram Rao is a Business and Leadership Coach specializing in senior level Executive coaching and business consulting.
He has had a rich career spanning 38 years. He was a Director on the Board of ABMCL, the $40 Billion Aditya Birla Group’s apex decision-making body, which provides strategic direction to all ABG Group Companies. In the past two decades, Vikram has held several Board positions in companies with diverse foot prints across branded apparel, retail and B2B businesses. As a CEO and Board member, he has acquired, led, built and transformed companies and businesses.
He started his career in 1975 with the UK based multinational Coats Viyella where, in a 19 year career, he rose to become the President of the Textile division. In 1995, he moved to Arvind group as the President of Shirtings and Knits, where he set up a 100 Mn USD greenfield operation built on the foundation of innovation and design to respond to international brands and consumers, which has since become a flagship business for the Group.
In his recent assignments up to end 2012, he held various positions as Executive Director of Thai Acrylic Fibre Co. Ltd. Thailand; Director of Indo Liberty Textiles, Indonesia; and Executive Director of Alexandria Fibre Co. Ltd. Egypt. Over a four year span, Vikram led the CEOs of these companies and transformed and grew them into a US $ 1 bln global businesses.
Kalpana brings a diverse and rich experience spanning more than 20 years across industries. As Partner at Interweave Consulting Pvt. Ltd, a boutique consulting firm offering solutions in the space of Diversity & Inclusion, she brings her combined experience in Marketing and Human Capital Development to grow the firm into a one-stop-shop for Diversity & Inclusion Solutions. Her key focuses are Women’s Leadership Development and Diversity Training in corporates. Her special area of interest is “Stereotypes & Biases” and how they impact the workplace. She has closely worked with organizations such as Vodafone, CGI, Progress Software, HSBC, Fidelity, Deutsche Bank, Logica and Amazon, in this role.
Prior to Interweave, Kalpana has been a Behavioral Skills Trainer and Leadership Development Professional. She is passionate about change & transformation and has helped organizations and individuals unleash their potential by helping them embrace change. She has designed & delivered many interventions across several corporates such as Allegis Services India, Aztecsoft (now Mindtree), Cisco, Closure Systems International, Computer Associates, DSL Software, GSK Pharmaceuticals, Innova (now Ness), Kenexa, Metro Cash & Carry, Portal Player, Procsys, Sasken, Shell Solar, Symphony, Tejas Networks, Tek Systems, Titan Industries, Virtusa, and Wipro. In the early part of her career, Kalpana has worked in several marketing roles in VST Industries, Hyderabad & Great Eastern Impex, New Delhi.
Kalpana is certified in administering & interpreting several psychometric instruments such as MBTI, FIRO-B, and DISC; and has a wide range of experience in using these instruments to help individuals build self awareness & propel change in them. She has completed a one year certification in Transactional Analysis, and is also a Certified NLP Master Practitioner.
Anita has over 35 years of work experience, of which for 15 years she has headed a business unit. She has a strong entrepreneurial sense that comes from operating as a business unit head in highly competitive environments. She is very structured and analytical in her approach, good at creating Process and Strategic Planning. She instinctively grasps key business issues across categories and is innovative in developing solutions.
Anita started her career in FCB Ulka Advertising and later joined J Walter Thompson (now JWT) in 1985. She grew to the position of Senior Vice President and General Manager – Kolkata in 1995. This was a significant responsibility, partnering two key clients at Kolkata who were in a transformational mode. She took up the challenge of managing the process of repositioning ITC Limited as a diversified company beyond Tobacco and Hotels, and into Agri Businesses, Paper and Board, Fashion wear etc. Simultaneously, another major client, Tata Steel faced market place pressures and had to change gears from “allocating steel” to “marketing steel”. She helped design and execute a dual approach targeting internal stakeholders and a customer program.
In December 1999 JWT’s largest global client, Ford Motor Company needed a strong Communications partner and Anita was moved as Senior Vice President and Managing Partner to Chennai. There was parallel reporting to the Regional Head in Shanghai and the Global Business Head in Detroit. Anita was also appointed to the National Executive Committee in 1995 and set up JWT Nepal and partnered JWT Bangladesh. In 2008, she added a new National Business Unit for Brand Consulting and led the acquisition of a company to create JWT Hyderabad.
Sadhana Somasekhar is Director on the Board of Future Focus Infotech Pvt. Ltd. (FFI) & Advisor to its Management. She has over 23 years experience in the IT& ITES industry.
She was President, Focus America, Inc., a wholly owned (WOS) US subsidiary of the organization and the Head of Business for Future Focus Infotech (FZE), MEA, WOS of FFI, India.
From 2011 till March 2015, in an executive capacity as FFI’s Jt. Managing Director, she was responsible for conceptualizing and successfully establishing the organization’s strategic organic growth initiative. She was made responsible for the Growth and Emerging Markets business, encompassing new markets and businesses in India, MEA and the North Americas. She spearheaded both strategic and tactical initiatives that led to the explosive growth during the period. Prior to this re-alignment, for over a decade as the organization’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) she was responsible for leading the marketing and strategic plan development for the organization’s business portfolio globally and re-shaped the sales & marketing organization.
Sadhana was also responsible for FFI’s branding initiatives in PR & CC, and effectively re-engineered the branding of its business configuration which included investing in corporatization and market differentiators – viz. Infra, quality standards, affirmative actions in CSAT, CSR & D&I, industry representation, etc.
CFI has very active Chapters in Chennai, Bengaluru and Mumbai. These Chapters provide CFI members with the platform for peer learning, sharing and support. Beyond this, our members experience a sense of community in terms of shared interests and values, thanks to our Chapters. Each Chapter is headed by a President and a Vice President. Here are our current Chapter Leaders:
Sridhar brings to the table a rich experience of over 30 years in the fields of Advertising, Direct Marketing, Brands and Consulting. He spent 25 of these 30 years with Ogilvy & Mather India, where he was Director. He set up Ogilvy & Mather Direct, India’s first Direct Marketing agency and is known for his evangelistic work in making Direct Marketing a part of the communication mix for many clients. He also set up Ogilvy Consulting for Brand development and Innovation. His expertise is in Creative Development, Brand Development, Customer acquisition and retention, and seamless integration of various communication disciplines to drive brand perception.
Sridhar conducts a successful and acclaimed workshop called Creative Block Busting© which helps clients clear the cobwebs in their minds and get out of the habitual ways of thinking. He calls it the ‘software of the mind’. Clients have benefited by using Creative Block Busting© for new product development, new service development, employee retention, rejuvenating existing brands, developing new customer value propositions etc. He loves writing and has an active blog – www.ideasrs.com
Sridhar is currently an Innovation Coach and Partner, IDEAS-RS, which he set up in 2000. His focus is to help individuals and organizations benefit from the power of ideas, creativity and innovation to realize their potential.
Savita brings with her over 22 years of experience of which 14 years were spent managing frontline business. Many years in a deadline-oriented service industry have helped her gain a certain proficiency in tackling interpersonal relationship issues with creative élan.
Savita joined Ulka Advertising as a Management Trainee in 1990. Over the years she worked on a varied portfolio of clients and brands that included – Amul, Castrol, Ceat, Voltas, Zodiac, Crompton Greaves, Zandu Pharmaceutical Works and Unilever Bestfoods in a frontline business role.
The many years of Account Management experience proved invaluable when the opportunity presented itself to head the HR function for the Agency, now known as Draft FCB–Ulka. Having lived, breathed and imbibed its distinctive culture for over 14 long years and having understood the realities of business, the transition was pretty smooth. Her ability to manage multi-faceted teams and deal with people of diverse perspectives held her in good stead. She currently heads Human Resources for the Draft FCB–Ulka Group as Senior Vice President – HR, and leads talent management strategies for the group.