Young Global Leader

By Rohini Mohan
What do Aishwarya Rai, Karan Johar and Jhumpa Lahiri have in common with Infosys Vice-President, Subhash Dhar? They are all part of the exclusive forum of Young Global Leaders commissioned to envision a better world by 2030 and to develop concrete ideas and strategies to transform that vision into reality.

Chosen from among thousands of candidates from all over the world and from a variety of disciplines, the forum of Young Global Leaders is a 200-300 strong group of exceptional individuals under 40 who have been extremely successful in their chosen professions, have demonstrated tremendous leadership capabilities and are passionate about world issues. The YGL, created under the aegis of the World Economic Forum, will spend a considerable amount of time over the next five years working on task forces to accomplish specific goals in the areas of health, environment, education, global governance and poverty. A typical project developed by the group was one called ‘Table for two’ where donors could match meals at restaurants with meals for families in the developing world. The idea is to take what seems like an abstraction from the future and to give it roots in the present.

 
Talk to Subhash Dhar and you will realize within minutes that he has what it takes.

A Computer Science graduate and IIM-B alumnus, Subhash went through a couple of interesting job changes before Infosys. One of them was at Ravi Data Base Consultants and he recalls how in the early nineties, his company, by using digital imaging to enhance the time on a wrist watch in a photograph played a key role in the India Today article on  the famous Harshad Mehta/ Narasimha Rao meeting. 

His next assignment in 1994 was with a start up called IndiaWorld Communications Pvt Ltd, a pioneering venture in the World Wide Web space in India which created a subscription based India news website, the target audience being the NRI. Subhash had the opportunity to interact with powerhouses like RK Lakshman, Amin Sayani, Shammi Kapoor, and Khalid Mohammed amongst others. The company then ventured into creating corporate websites; and this is where Subhash developed his expertise in E business and Internet Consulting.

 
At a chance meeting with an Infosys co-founder in Bombay over a decade ago, he learned of Infosys’ plan to start an Internet Consulting company. There were not too many people back then qualified to perform that job, and Subhash got off to an auspicious start with India’s most admired company, having received his offer letter on December 30th 1996 the very day his son was born.

He started as Business Manager in the Internet Consulting practice at a time when Infosys was a little known entity. After serving as Sales head for the Ebiz Strategic Business Unit and then the Telco Business unit, today he heads up the Telco Vertical and has responsibility for both sales and operations for Europe and America. 

The family spent over 6 years in the Bay Area but moved back to Bangalore when Subhash took on the Business head role. There was some regret in leaving the Bay Area. It was the only real home his son knew and his daughter was born in Fremont. Subhash’s wife Mona had also made a name for herself in the community here. Not just the wind beneath his wings, Mona is an MBA and an HR professional in her own right. She had a flourishing career at Boots Pharmaceuticals in India which she gave up when they had their son and subsequently moved to the US. Mona volunteered for the City of Fremont in their VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistant) Program and put in an unprecedented 400 hours, which inspired the city to pass the 155th resolution in her name.
The Dhars are not about all work and no play though – they have more friends than they can count in both Fremont and Bangalore. Apart from being a pretty good drummer Subhash’s claim to fame is a mean imitation of Amitabh’s Khaike Paan Banaras Wala…He is also a huge fan of RD Burman.
  
It was when they were back for a year long stint in Fremont last year that Subhash received the news of his successful nomination as Young Global Leader. He had been working for a while on the World Economic Forum task force, Digital Eco System 2015, when some officials encouraged him to forward his candidacy. Infosys is very closely linked to WEF as a strategic partner and is also a big supporter of their initiatives. They were also called upon to nominate an internal candidate, and they backed Subhash.

He is eagerly looking forward to the formal induction which will take place in September this year. In his past experiences working with the WEF task force he was able to meet and share ideas with a wide cross section of people and discovered that wherever they come from most accomplished people share common fears of which are born common ideologies. That is why this is such an amazing program. It brings together accomplished individuals from different ethnicities, professions and mindsets; the Opera Singer from Italy, the CEO from Russia, the Chef from Peru, the CFO from USA, the CTO from China, the Priest from South Africa, the MP from India…. a rich, diverse community of extraordinary intellect and talent.

It is entirely up to the individual as to how much time and effort he or she wants to put into the task forces. Not everyone has the same level of commitment, he says. The next 5 years will require not just hard work but a lot of juggling of time between work and family life. But his goal is to put in his 100% so as to benefit and contribute fully. “Not only will this afford me the opportunity to give intellectually to the world, it will be tremendously beneficial to me both personally and professionally. My goal is to make to a difference. Celebrities are leaders and able to change people’s minds. I am excited that I will be exposed to such different perspectives”   he says.
 
Vishwanathan Anand, Rajiv Bajaj, Kumarmangalam Birla, Subhash Dhar – all accomplished Indians, Young Global leaders armed and ready to take on the world, and create a better future. Makes me truly proud to be part of this community.    

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