Schools in India could never have chosen a better time to reopen. The months of oncoming monsoon are when schools make a new start. Just like the rain that brings in new greens to the earth, at Mantra, we started the academic year with nine new joiners.
With just one pair of feet on the ground in 2013, to 20 pairs in 2017, the first three days of the month of June was a defining moment for Mantra. The new members of the team were inducted into the team and the three days were their gateway to Mantra. As Rucha Pandey, one of our inductees put it,“We had to get to know the people before we got to know the work.” And most importantly the time served the purpose of building the team, our culture and define the values with which we operate as a team.
Lal Bagh botanical gardens played host for our first day. We spent time playing some games because we believe that a team that can be silly together can be serious together. We also spent some time reflecting about the kind of people that we are. The time spent gave us an insight into our team and the people that they are.
The second day of induction dove straight to business as the program team provided us an overview of the schools they work in and what they have accomplished so far. We were also run through the organizational processes and expectations.
Fun and games resumed after lunch which was followed by a baby shower for our team member Jay, who was going on her maternity leave. We showered Jay and Bubble who is fondly christened as ‘Mantra Baby’ with lots of love and good wishes.
We ended the second day with a leadership session by Mr Madan Padaki, the CEO and Founder of Head Held High Foundation. Mr Padaki, shared the story of his entrepreneurial journey and some of the accomplishments of his organization. He took the time to get to know why each one of us had chosen to do the work we are doing and left us inspired to continue tackling the problem of lack of quality education. He opened us to another side of our team members and we got to learn a little bit more about our team.
The final day of the induction saw us deeply reflecting on our life events and the values that guided us through them. A highly emotionally charged session helped us discover some of the values that we live by. The session was followed by a discussion with Ben Shuldiner on how we could handle some of the challenges we face in our schools. Ben, was happy to see how the team had doubled, from one year to the next and provided us some ideas on coaching school leaders effectively.
The end of the induction signified the start of something new, a new academic year, a new career for some, and new plans and hopes for the rest of us.
-Written by Ms. Fiona Vaz, Senior Program Manager , Mantra4Change