Freelancing has truly come of age for the modern corporate professional in India. In an era of increasing life-spans,
and shortening career-spans, how can experienced professionals prepare themselves for the changing demands of jobs and
careers? And how can they adapt and succeed in the emerging freelance gig-economy? What are the options to them after
retiring from a fruitful corporate career?
In the inaugural event of Gurukul – “Thriving In The Gig Economy”, organized by IndusGuru, a curated platform
for independent business consultants, more than 100 senior freelance professionals – from functions related to
Strategy & Finance, HumanResources & Organizaiton, Marketing & Operations, InfoTech & Digital,
got together to discuss and explore these themes. The event was led by an eminent group of speakers and panelists,
who have been CEO’s and Business Leaders – and then chosen to take the road-less traveled, including Mr R Gopalakrishnan,
Milind Sarwate, Pramod Gothi, Anant Bhagwati and Priyanka Gulati.
The key note speaker, R Gopalakrishnan, who is a celebrated author and has served on the Boards of India’s 2 most respected
companies – HUL and Tata Sons, regaled the audience with his personal life journey of learning and renewal – abiding
themes he has explored in his books. He spoke of the need to unlearn before learning, when faced with new situations,
challenges and roles – citing his own experience in Unilever Arabia and later, when he moved from HUL, as one the oldest
executive Board members to the Tata Group – where he was the youngest on the Board! Most importantly, he shared his tip to
staying young– “keep your Telomeres long”! Telomeres as biology students would know, are the end points of our DNA, whose
wearing off and shortening leads to aging.
The finale of the session was a panel discussion, drawing out the life events, stories and mantras of success from
accomplished business leaders – who had chosen, at a relatively early point to leave the corporate rat-race – and do
something different, whether it was being a Coach, an Independent consultant, an Entrepreneur, or join the Social Sector.
Milind Sarwate, a celebrated CFO with Marico and Godrej, shared his own life changing event at 50, when he decided he must
do something different. He now serves on the Board of several listed companies, and runs a financial advisory firm.
Priyanka Gulati and Anant Bhagwati, represented that breed of young professional of today, who have chosen to give up
lucrative corporate & consulting career in a large firm in their 30’s and 40’s– and instead do something different, be it
turn entrepreneur or join the Social sector – to contribute back to society.
The audience engaged in high-octane Q&A with IndusGuru’s established management consultants Vinu Vishwanathan and Sangeetha
Shankar. Both questioned the assumed norms of consulting and marketing. Vinu translated the diversity of India’s culture to
his success as an independent management consulting – when in Rome do as Romans do. Debatable? Perhaps. Sangeetha shook and
questioned the very foundation of marketing. Why do you choose Amazon over Flipkart? What makes a product successful? Its
marketing campaigns? Word of mouth? After-sales service? None of those.
IndusGuru today has grown to a network of 400+ senior professionals, with a combined corporate experience of 6000+ manyears.
Founded Increate Value Advisors LLP in 2015, after 32 years across Marico & Godrej in Finance, HR, Strategy &
Corporate Communication. He facilitates creation of business & social value through Advisory & Board roles and
investment largely in Consumer & Social Responsibility sectors. His Directorships include Glenmark, Mindtree,
Metropolis, Matrimony.com & House of Anita Dongre.
Accolades received by Milind include ICAI Award -CFO - FMCG (2011), CNBC TV-18 CFO Award -FMCG & Retail (2012)
and entry in CFO India's Hall of Fame (2013). He is a Chartered Accountant, Cost Accountant, Company Secretary,
Commerce Graduate and CII-Fulbright Fellow (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA).
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