Can one person really make a difference in the world? The answer is, of course, yes!
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Malini Jayaganesh realised that anyone who wants to change things for the better can make a difference – even while growing up in one of India’s most populated cities.
As she walked to school each day, she saw Mother Teresa and her fellow nuns nurturing the poorest people in the city. It inspired her and she realised that simple acts can have a profound impact. Malini now lives and works in Australia, where she catalyses collaboration in business and community and nurtures the gifts of cultural diversity.
Malini has received five Global Excellence Awards from the Business Relationship Management Institute in categories including Global Community Impact, Trailblazer, BRM Practitioner and Regional (Australia) Community Impact. She has also featured in the global list of Top Business Relationship Managers in 2019 and 2020, and received a Service Excellence Award for her work in the Victorian public sector.
In this interview, Malini shares why it’s so important to have a vision and what helped her to achieve her own…
How important is having a vision?
Malini: I think it’s critical. Growing up in India, we learn that life is similar to a journey or a voyage. To use a sea voyage as an example, the vision is like a beacon guiding you on your way or something that helps you navigate. You can also look up at the stars. They help guide people to their destination. And I think it keeps you anchored, and if you have a broad enough vision and something that’s long-term enough, it helps build your resilience because, in the short term, there can be lots of ups and downs.
But as long as you know you’ve got this vision that you’re working towards, that sense of your grander purpose, you’ll be able to pick yourself up and move on.
How has your vision evolved across your career?
Malini: I think my vision for my life was formed when I was very young. And it’s because of a few different things. Still, they all ultimately came together. I grew up in Kolkata, one of India’s most crowded cities. There are a lot of really poor people and people who struggle. And I always felt that I want to be part of that change.
I want to be part of something that will change things for the better, for people around me.
And I also knew that this was not just a fancy aspiration because when I was very, very young, I used to see Mother Teresa out on the streets. I used to see the things that she was doing. And later, when she received the Nobel Prize, I reflected on my experience seeing her as a child, and I thought she was not doing anything extraordinary. She cared for people and fed people, which are things that anybody can do. So that made a powerful impression on my mind that for us to bring about positive change, we don’t have to have extraordinary skills or powers. They can be simple, everyday things that we can do. And so, over the years, my experiences in life have just validated that for me. The idea is that I am an agent for positive change, and I think it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a place like Kolkata. It can be wherever we are. There are opportunities to change things for the better. So whether it’s in my workplace or my community, or in the city where I live, there are plenty of opportunities all around us. That’s what drives me.
What has been most helpful in enabling you to create, find or execute your vision?
Malini: One beneficial thing is having people around me who have my best interests at heart.
Sometimes, they will give me advice that I don’t necessarily want to hear. Still, they will do that in a very constructive and compassionate way. And I think that has been vital for my growth. That has been quite invaluable. I’ve also had the opportunity to learn about or interact with some fantastic people. That’s what’s been inspiring and keeps me motivated. They’re not celebrities on TV. They’re just everyday people that I encounter in my life, which helps me build my confidence. The final thing I would say is that I practice mindfulness. That has reminded me not to take myself too seriously. It helps me feel unclouded and be able to make decisions. It helps bring me much clarity.
Define and achieve your own leadership vision
Join Dr. Kim Vella for the 1-day Achieve Your Leadership Vision Workshop. This will be held on 29 July, 2022 in Canberra.
Together, we will:
- discuss the true meaning of a leadership vision and how it can change your life
- uncover some of the roadblocks that may be obstructing your vision
- define a clear and achievable vision you can aspire to
- use practical tools to set a roadmap for success
- address typical challenges you may face and how to overcome them
Seats are limited so register early to secure your spot.