Great leaders don’t tell you what to do they show you how it’s done, breathing example – Deepa Aathreya
Great leaders don’t tell you what to do they show you how it’s done. A breathing example of one such prodigious leader is Deepa Athreya who is a leadership coach by profession and socially known as an educationalist. She works 24/7 to encourage school children to irk their inner most leadership qualities to prosper in life. She has factually started from the bottom to make it to where she stands. An epitome of humbleness is Deepa. Even though she has transformed the lives of lakhs of children, she shies away from lime light and works as guardian behind the screen.
Tell us about yourself?
I am a leadership coach and my work involves transforming the lives of children and inculcating leadership as a main trait. I have worked with over 1 lakh students as of now. My main priority is to make children take control of their lives and effectively communicate amongst themselves and peers. My motto is to develop a never give up attitude in children along with public speaking and focus on extracurricular activities. We make sure we educate the children in this field via fun activities and camps. Our camps have been a hit in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai. We also work with college students too. Currently we launched a program called “young leaders awards”. This is basically a pan India initiative where children go through workshops and several rounds before we narrow down to 12 nominees who go on to participate in the national level program. Personally, I am a MBA graduate and mother of 2. I have met with 2 near to death accidents which has been life changing. 11 years ago, I was selling balloons on the street to survive and now I am where I am due to dedication in my field of interest.
About your children?
My son is 14 and is in his 10th grade, he is an amazing culinary expert and a chef in the making. He trains under renowned culinary experts. My daughter on the other hand is a young social activist in the making and an actress who officially hosts shows on chutti TV. Her tele series will soon be premiered in raj to. My children are poles apart in personality and character and this makes them very special to me.
Why do you primarily focus on leadership?
My husband is a high school dropout and I am a double degree holder, it was a love marriage. I hail from an orthodox family who were dubious as to why would I marry a drop out. They failed to notice what I did which was that my husband is a victim of unrealistic school expectation which edged him to dropout, where as I shielded myself through thick and thin and completed graduation. I have had 2 instances in school which have long lasting effect over my life. The first would be, when I was in my kindergarten a teacher discouraged me saying I would never be able to do math and until now that has been my only drawback in life. Whereas the second would be when I was in my 9th grade another teacher told me that she could see me go places and placed immense load of encouragements over me. After the second event I went on to become school pupil leader, followed by retract president in my undergrad and mba president in my masters. When words of encouragement can dowonders, imagine a separate stream like mine which would provide all the students not only top 5 rank holders with immense confidence boost and mental uplifts that will help them achieve success.
And finally about my husband, He is a classical example of ‘first rankers in school are not necessarily first rankers in life
Every human being can perform under tremendous stress and discomfort; example would be an infant making his way through the mother’s womb. Leadership is diverse it is not a fixed term. Leadership for one person would be taking charge of a class whereas for another it would be taking charge of their life. I believe in leading where we are planted to be. If you can lead yourself, you will be able to lead others and your life effortlessly.
Leadership starts with self-imagine and how you view yourself for example within my own family my son and my daughter have two different styles of leading their lives. My son is on the silent edge and outshines in cooking whereas my daughter is on the louder edge and loves socializing. A leader is not only a person who leads but a person who can identify his or her resource and knows how to put it to use.
Is it too late for an adult to be trained by a leadership coach?
It is never too late if the fire inside you to learn is still burning bright. We do have adults coming in for our leadership coaching classes and they thoroughly relish every moment of it. We extend our knowledge to college students as well as parents participation programs. But to be honest andragogy is hectic while compared to pedagogy. Children can easily be moulded like clay where as adults have inhibitions and do not tend to take risks easily. Finally, it is all about intrinsic motivation.
Hypothetically how do you deal with a child who tends to become dominating in the name of leadership?
Honestly it isn’t hypothetical at all (laughs) it happens far too often. We must educate ourselves with the styles of leadership such as authoritative, democratic etc. in our case we prioritize the children to be humble and look forward to making it to success by identifying resources in their team mates. A best leader is someone who identifies the best in his team mates. We firmly believe that the only competition a child must face is with him rather than others. Our motto is to compare how you were yesterday with how you are today.