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7 Questions with Devyani Kapoor
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7 Questions with Devyani Kapoor
Name: Devyani Kapoor
Current title: FOUNDER & MENTOR
Current organisation: EDUDEVS SCHOOL OF INSPIRED TEACHING AND LEARNING
Ms Devyani Kapoor is an educator, author, and thought leader. She is the Founder and CEO of Edudevs- The School of Inspired Teaching and Learning. An ex-principal, she carries over 30 years of experience with her in the education sector and has worked with key brands in the industry like D.A.V, Amity Heritage School, Educomp Solutions, KN. Modi Foundation, Extramarks. Cambridge University Press, The Great Place to Study and many others. She is credited with the introduction of a number of innovative pedagogical techniques for effective classroom management, quality circle time, lesson planning, experiential learning and student empowerment techniques. She is an author with Cambridge Publications. The United Kingdom and is credited to have authored several CBSE curriculum books. At present, she is an Academic Consultant with many leading educational institutions. She is a Senior Resource Person for Cambridge University Press and has conducted 100 Capacity Building Workshops for educators across the country.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader in the education sector?
Most challenging for me as a leader has been to change the mindset of the people and make them understand that real leadership is not about authority and power but about responsibility and empowering people around you.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Being the head of an organization my days usually remain extremely busy with meetings and personal research. Hence self-discipline and being motivated are mantras of my life. My day starts early with my morning prayers/ chanting followed by yoga and breathing exercises. I reach the office by 9 am and the first thing is to reply to my emails in the inbox. Taking a small and casual team meeting over a cup of coffee is a ritual that helps me understand the mood of my employees and in that meeting, I casually also get an insight into the progress of their work. We dedicatedly work from 9 to 6 pm. On reaching home I have an early dinner following which I go for a walk. I retire to bed early while reading and listening to music.
My motto is - Take Life each day at a time!
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
A leader should be a trustworthy person who drives the agenda not to satisfy his ego or enhance his position but intending to generate the right values which in turn will lead to building a positive environment.
A true leader who empowers his team and creates more leaders!
4. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Every Leader should possess and nurture in himself some core traits.
The book which greatly impacted my leadership was - Primary Greatness - The 12 Leavers of Success by Stephen R. Covey.
Character is what defines you and is the edifice on which stands the structure of your personality. The book talks of secondary greatness which is a life spent chasing superficial rewards like money, popularity, pleasure and primary greatness is a life spent with integrity, responsibility and meaningful contribution traits that go on to make a great leader.
5. How do you find and keep great leaders in the education sector?
Teachers make some of the best leaders in everyday life. They just need a little guidance and can beautifully transform into Leaders for life. It is a trait that is inherent in some irrespective of their designation and developed by others. The education sector like any other field has leaders in their teachers. The threat has to be nurtured and empowered for effective influence.
6. What's most important as a leader in the education sector for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
If a leader is desirous of creating a strong and positive school culture he needs to understand that no sustainable improvement in student results and gaps in achievement can be filled until the school leaders, teachers work on strong norms of behaviour. School culture depends on how the elders - teachers , parents, leaders behave in a school setting. What practices they follow, how they interact with each other, what values inform their behaviour, how do the leaders model their behaviour – these become the main guiding force in the schools capacity to learn, improve, design its long term vision and mission and impact the various stakeholders from the students to the parents.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader in the education sector so far?
A few years ago, a new student joined my school. During my first interactions with her, she was very timid, her parents mentioned that her previous school was very traditional. Thus, it was very rare that she got a chance to participate in school activities and such. Hence, she never got a chance to speak up, learn to express herself. She was quite shy, though she jumped at every opportunity she got to learn and experience more things. Slowly but surely, with the new culture in my school that she was experiencing, getting the chance to speak up, learn and participate. She grew into this confident woman, who isn't afraid to speak up, voice her opinion and is always ready to learn something new. She took part in sports competitions, volunteered for comparing, she started writing - stories and scripts, and she even took up acting. She once stood up there in front of 150-200 parents and students and performed as a lead in a school play. This really showed how important it was to nurture a student, to provide them with an accepting and inclusive environment. And to let them know that it's okay to speak, and to take a chance on them cause you never know what they might have shown if you never give them a chance.