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7 Questions with Sinjini Sengupta
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Sinjini Sengupta
Name: Sinjini Sengupta
Current title: Founder
Current organisation: Lighthouse
Founder of Lighthouse | International Speaker & Storytelling Coach | National President Mentoring & Soft Skill WICCI | Mentor of Change NITI Aayog | Author, Columnist & TEDx Speaker | Distinguished Toastmaster | Actuary | Incubated at NSRCEL IIM Bangalore
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
My biggest challenge so far has been to have the meetings of the creative soulful thinker and the functional, practical doer inside my head. It is always a challenge to switch to the right and left side thinking constantly as I develop Lighthouse and discover the nuances of running a venture.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Not a large enterprise yet, but Lighthouse has lofty aspirational goals to reach the minds and hearts of people across the globe soon. For my journey, it is one of a deep hairpin bend. I have been an Actuary for 12 years and had a professional burnout leading to severe physiological conditions and emotional breakdown. I began to dabble with the pen and the mic, which then took me on their wings and sailed. Lighthouse is a culmination of my work over 6 years of deep inner work as well as long self education based growth along the subjects of personal growth, positive psychology, spiritual practices and retreats, emotional intelligence, creative writing and storytelling. In the process I have been blessed with abundant social recognitions including a best-selling fiction that was made into a short-film screened at Cannes, multiple TEDx, Distinguished Toastmaster status and regular invites to coveted international platforms as a thought leader in the space of Emotional Intelligence, Personal Growth, Leadership and Storytelling.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I am a largely instinctive and creative soul, before every other role I play as an individual, leader, seeker or in family. I try to reserve some time for creative self care right as I start my day with help of Vipassana meditation, and continue into the day with help of my team and the weekly planner that constantly help me stay floating through my multiple commitments through most days. Unfortunately I am doing a 7 days week right now and taking erratic days off, but I do intend to put a structure around the off time once the early days are past us.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Emotional resilience! With the help of my spiritual practices, I constantly remind myself that it is not what is extrinsic but what is intrinsic that matters after all. It helps that we teach the same guiding principles through our experiential programs at Lighthouse, which helps me to show up in congruence and helps me to take quick and confident decisions at fork roads.
5. 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?
I live most part of my day in a library of wall to wall bookshelves and practically read a book a week at the least, so this isn't an easy question. I am a great fan of the book "Here and Now" by Ram Dass that helps me connect back to my core in a snap each time I feel swayed by surface emotions.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
It is a long process. While I cannot call Lighthouse a large enterprise right at this moment, I do coach and work with a number of leaders who run such big companies. From what I see, the new age leadership is built on the foundation of emotionally intelligent communication, and inner awareness is a must towards that goal. As I work with leaders I lead them into authentic and purpose driven storytelling through the process of step in, step up and step out, that helps them from self awareness all the way through to developing a focus on long term good, legacy and thought leadership.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
My story of my first batch of the Storytelling retreat I led at Lighthouse had a story I would always remember. I had collaborated with a large women group of professionals who against revenue share had confirmed me a sizable participation. I had not considered doing a whole lot of marketing from my end considering the safe way of banking on another organisation for reach. The evening before the program, as I connected with them they told me they have not received any registrations, and actually the listing was also done in such a way that it didn't reach the intended target group. The names I received were just site visitors. I took a breath and accepted in my heart the reality of the moment, and stepped out onto the balcony with a cup of tea to give myself a moment to unwind and absorb this. Minutes later I check my phone and there are money deposits and registrations floating up my phone screen. These are people who saw the poster on my profile - no proper video or pitch, mind you, just a simple poster - and paid up for the whole 8 week's long retreat just by believing (they said to me later) "If Sinjini is doing this, it must be good!" My first batch ended up having participants from 4 continents (UK, Europe, South Africa and India) and some joined after the first session based on word of mouth of existing participants. Some of them woke up at 5 o'clock in the morning, some attended on the way to work. It is a story I'd always come back to I believe.