Dreams came true this December.
If you would have asked me where I would travel if I could go anywhere in the world, I would have not thought twice in choosing India.
From our arrival, it was evident that the people, food and businesses we would go to would be drastically different than China. India is much more than one simple country, there are so many distinct languages, cultures, religions and people groups that you can never really say you have been to India without visiting every province. We’ve been to Delhi and Bangalore, and had completely different experiences in these two places.
The highlight for me was going to Agra the Taj Mahal. The building itself was stunning, so much detail and beauty. This was the moment that it hit me… “I’m in INDIA!” We also got to go to the Agra Fort, built both beautifully and thoughtfully to both defend from enemies and serve as living quarters. Most beautiful building meant for battle I’ve ever seen. You could spend a whole day wandering and learning about the history that occurred in each location.
We stayed at the YMCA and visited Vodafone India a cell phone provider where we met with the CEO. It was one of our favorite visits as he shared with us his personal vision and the lessons he has learned as a leader. The company culture emphasized community exemplified by the top floor café designed with places to hang out and play games with co-workers. We also got to speak with leaders of Hindustan Petroleum Limited who answered all of our questions about the Indian economy and social issues that were pertinent to the development of the country. Throughout our visits, our hosts were continually open, personal and were willing to give so much of their time to share with us. These companies also shared a commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility realizing that the economy cannot develop if businesses do not do their part to address social issues in a sustainable matter.
Bangalore: Social Enterprises
Bangalore is a hub for business and has flourished in the last 10 years. What set Bangalore apart were the number of socially minded business leaders we were able to speak with. I was inspired hearing about the Indian solar panel company SELCO who develops their products solely for those who cannot afford them. They personally work with local banks to obtain loans for families to buy their panels and help them pay it off effectively in order that more in their community can receive the same loans. With the panels families are able to work longer hours and save money, with this they are able to quickly pay off their loan. I am so excited for India, with such rich culture and truly incredible, dedicated and intelligent people, who will bring about great change. It was in this context that I got excited about the true impact that can be brought about through business and the importance of giving back to a community that one understands and is committed to for the long-term.