Text size: A A A

Please Click Here
to Return to
Love and Light

Sathya Sai Leadership Training Programme Graduation and Alumni Ceremony

On the 25th May 2013 the Sathya Sai Leadership Training Programme held its graduation ceremony, entitled ‘The Light of Leadership’ and saw 15 cohorts from this year’s programme successfully graduate and go on to join 72 other fortunate graduates of SSLTP.15 individuals hand-picked by Bhagawan to partake in this sacred journey of self realisation, self audit and self confidence, over the course of 14 months. A journey which draws inspiration from the eternal teachings of Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba with emphasis placed upon His ‘Mahavakya’ (Great Utterance) on leadership:

“To Be : To Do : To See : To Tell ”

The graduation ceremony was held at the Chambers Lounge, Harrow Civic Centre. The night also welcomed previous graduates of SSLTP (SSLTP Alumni), members of the UK Central Council including National Chair, Dr Kiran Patel, National Service Coordinator, Mukund Patel and National Youth Coordinator, Shyam Jamnadas as well as 2 keynote speakers.

The programme commenced with our keynote speakers; Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary Mr. Andy Marsh, Dr. Richard Giordana and Dr. Kiran Patel, our National Chair, lighting the leadership candles to signify the success of the programme to date, those graduating and to the leaders of tomorrow; truly setting the scene to what can be described as a magical evening.

This was followed by a procession by the cohorts, led by SSLTP Coordinator, Deviesh Tankaria, into the main hall to the sounds of vedic chanting. Prashanti Nilayam was indeed in Harrow! This was followed a short video on success of the programme over the past 15 years.

The first speaker for the evening was our National Chair, Dr. Kiran Patel. Kiran Uncle formally opened the evening’s programme with his welcome note, highlighting the importance of leadership in our organisation and the benefit of this unique programme which has been successfully running for over 15 years. He congratulated all the candidates on their sterling achievements and talked about how we should make a difference and undertake in national building projects. Kiran uncle ended his talk by talking about the leaders of all leaders, our dearest Swami, and how Swami is a good leader who leads by example providing selfless service and setting up numerous humanitarian projects worldwide. A lot can be learnt from His life and we should strive to live by His teachings.

Next we had our first key note speaker for the evening, Chief Constable for the Hampshire Constabulary, Mr. Andy Marsh. Mr. Marsh talked about the importance of leadership in today’s society and related his personal experience as a leader in the police force highlighting the importance of values, ethics, respect, integrity and courage and how all these qualities play a fundamental part in leadership. Chief Constable stressed the importance of authentic leadership to bring about transformation and the need to be true to yourself, “You are successful for who you are not who you pretend to be”. He stated that he joined the police force to make a difference and has installed this belief in all his staff by recognising that each one of them is a leader and ensuring they are all aware of the core values. Chief Constable concluded his speech talking about how in life you will face challenges but a good leader will rise above the challenges and seek opportunities. He narrated an example of how he saved £55 million from his budget and made a positive difference.

A short video was then showed highlighting the candidate’s journey over the last 14 months which was then followed by the next speaker of the evening, Deviesh Tankaria, the current SSLTP Coordinator. Deviesh commenced his talk by describing how he felt blessed and honoured being this year’s Programme Coordinator and how over the course of 14 months all have been fortunate to have experienced so much love, blessings and guidance from our Beloved Lord.

Deviesh talked about how the application forms for the SSLTP 2012/13 went out across the nation to all centres in all regions and how it was evident that Swami picked this year’s candidates. He went on to talk about the various experiences on this year’s programme and how there were tears and laughter, doubts and fears, but at the end of the day all united showed support and dedication for this unique programme and how it is this same dedication which had made this year’s programme the success that it is.

Deviesh concluded his speech by summarising this year’s SSLTP curriculum and announcing two very special awards. Each year SSLTP offer an award for academic excellence for the graduate who has performed beyond and above expectations and this year’s award went to Dr. Ruthra Nagendran. Also presented was the prestigious transformation award which this year went out to an individual who truly had transformed from being on this programme, Mr. Punit Ghumra.

In his final address as SSLTP Coordinator, Deviesh thanked members of the SSLTP Alumni, the UKCC and all the previous committee members for all their love, support and guidance over the years.

Our next speaker was a member of the SSLTP cohort for this year, Dr. Dipika Mistry. Dipika was one of the fortunate graduates from this year’s programme and talked about her experience. She commenced her talk by thanking the SSLTP Coordinating Committee, on behalf on all the graduates, for their love and assistance throughout the past 14 months. In her account Dipika talked about how we all have the capacity to inspire and empower others but we must be willing to devote ourselves to our own personal growth as leaders. Dipika narrated how SSLTP gave her the tools to self-reflect and dive deep to explore her inner self and narrated this by exploring the work of Bill George, Harvard Business Professor.

The current cohorts then presented a surprise act. Roni Ramdin and Pooja Tankaria introduced two videos thanking members of the SSLTP Coordinating Committee for their hard work and commitment over the last 14 months. A humorous yet very moving tribute.

We then had our next speaker for the evening, Dr. Richard Giordana. Dr. Giordano is the Programme Leader for the MSc in Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Southampton. In his address he talked about how leaders should strive to make a difference and stressed the realisation that we are all born good however through habit, society and own experiences we forget this goodness. “A good leader touches base with his core values”. Dr. Giordana went on to talk about the mind, body and spirit and its importance in leadership and how positive spirit helps foster good leadership. He concluded his talk narrating a paragraph from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Divinity School Address of 1838:

"When you meet one of those men or women, be to them a divine man; be to them thought and virtue; let their timid aspirations find in you a friend; let their trampled instincts be genially tempted out in your atmosphere; let their doubts know that you have doubted, and their wonder feel that you have wondered."

The key in that the person you are trying to inspire needs to see that you were once similar to them and that they can become like you.

Prof. Sri Kandiah then took centre stage. Uncle Sri holds Senior Management positions in Sales, Marketing, Training and HR. He has coordinated and conducted seminars and workshops in the consultancy/teaching field of Leadership, Strategic management, Navigating through change with flair and commercial acumen for the past 20 years as well as chairing numerous boards and trusts. He was also one of the founders of SSLTP.

Uncle Sri shared a few words highlighting the journey of SSLTP over the past 15 years and acknowledged the hard work and dedication of all the team past and present. He offered a special tribute to Deviesh Tankaria who has been associated with SSLTP since 2004 as he is stepping down from his role as Coordinator.

Uncle Sri went on to say that he also felt very proud of each one of the graduates and how he truly believed each one was handpicked by Bhagawan. He narrated a few personal examples from his professional life and its importance in society and paid tribute to Bhagawan for the love and guidance over the years.

Uncle Sri stressed that we must lead ourselves first before we can lead others and concluded with the analogy of a three leg stool – "Lead ourselves, lead others and lead the organisation" - each "necessary for the leader to stand."

The formal graduation ceremony then followed and we concluded the emotional evening with a musical offering by this year’s graduates consisting of devotional singing.

Below are some testimonials from some of the candidates in relation to SSLTP

"I went into the SSLTP course with no expectations, but what an adventure it ended up being. So much excitement, growth and development in such a fun and enjoyable way. I am certainly looking at life in a different way now.”
-Yatin Mistry

"In a time when people are increasingly referring to the need for good role models and good leadership, the Sathya Sai Leadership Training Programme is helping to fill the void. Focussing on principles, not quick fixes, and by studying the theories of various leadership and management authors through a spiritual lens, the Programme has helped me to become more self-confident and self-aware.”
-Roni Ramdin

Putting spirituality and leadership together is fantastic! The course allowed me to evaluate the person I was and who I wanted TO BE. This course is a true reflection of where the youth of the organisation should aim to be, by making HIS life our message.
-Gobika Mohandas

The Sathya Sai Leadership Programme is a unique opportunity to go on a journey taking steps towards understanding your true inner self whilst becoming ever closer to Swami. The focus on constant integrated awareness allowed us as a cohort to realise our innate core values for our betterment both within and outside of the Sai organisation.
-Punit Ghumra

As we mark our Lord’s 87th birthday this year it is rather fitting that to date SSLTP has groomed 87 graduates since 1998. Congratulations again to the class to 2013 and thank you to all the volunteers over the years.

Jai Sai Ram

With Love,

Deviesh Tankaria
SSLTP Coordinator