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7 Questions on Leadership with Sridevi Srinivasan

Name: Sridevi Srinivasan

Title: Founder

Oranisation: Little Laudable Learners

"Sridevi Srinivasan Professional Storyteller, author, educator, Public Speaker, and trainer with a focus on inculcating reading and communication skills and instilling a love for reading in young minds. She is the Founder of Little Laudable Learners. Author of the book ‘Mindful Ways to Raise Confident Readers Sridevi is the Founder of Little Laudable Learners, an initiative to unfurl the innate potential of young minds inside out.

● Little Laudable Learners envisions unfurling young minds from the inside out, by creating suitable platforms for them to explore, experience, edify, and excel.

● Little Laudable Learners offers various courses including storytelling-based communication skills and leadership skills development program, Raising Readers, Tamil through storytelling, Hindi through English, Vedic maths, Bharathanatyam and Yoga.

● Empower educators and create the best quality teaching-learning experience through Little Laudable Learners

● Empower young leaders through the Young Leader Empowerment program Sridevi as a Storyteller

● Has been telling stories for children for more than 10 years.

● Conducted storytelling-based reading programs in rural areas and helped children to read and write stories.

● Integrated Storytelling and dance and have delivered more than 5 Nrithya Katha performances during the pandemic.

● Has performed Storytelling in the International Storytelling Festival, KathaVriksh, Mayaakatha, where stories dance and in Story carpet.

● Has trained students to perform storytelling and has featured their storytelling videos on Mayaakatha's Facebook page.

● Has been training students to perform online and has staged 21 show days and 2 live performances. Sridevi as Trainer

● Has been conducting training programs for teachers on raising readers, storytelling in teaching, and classroom management.

● Has been conducting training programs for parents on Raising a child as a reader.

● Have delivered a webinar on Raising Readers in The Atal Bihar Vajpayee Trust

● Train students for storytelling Sridevi in Toastmasters

● Speaker at Division Level International Speech and Humorous Speech Contest.

● Vice President of Public Relations for the term July – December 2022

● Associate Area Director July – December 2022

● President July-Dec 2021

● Vice President of Education for the term of January - December 2021

● Bagged Excellence in Execution Award for the term January - December 2021

● Elected as the President for the Term of July - December 2021

Background An IT professional, metamorphosed into an Academician, Storyteller, and Trainer. The training on “Raising a Child as a Reader” from Scholastic Publications, USA was the moment of epiphany that changed the course of her journey towards children.

On returning to India, bubbling with energy, she traveled around Tamilnadu with a bag full of storybooks. Transported children to the illusionary world of stories through storytelling and exposed them to the wonderful world of words. This journey persuaded her to use "Storytelling" as the lifeline of her Reading Program.

She worked in a CBSE school and developed a Reading program. With her multipotentiality, she headed the Primary wing, School Events, Dramatics Club and Library activities. her work on innovative, creative and collaborative stories way annual events was applauded. The street plays, library activities, and her involvement in organising foreign exchange programs, TEDx events, green school programs and other social initiatives were much appreciated. Her joy lies in the curiosity of her students to imagine, think, read books, and tell stories. "

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Sridevi's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

The most challenging aspect of a leader is what distinguishes them from others. A leader, indeed, is someone who carves a path through the unknown and navigates the complexities that lie therein. They explore uncharted territories in the vast skies, relying on scant guidance, much like seeking mentorship from the stars. Throughout this journey, the pace and momentum may fluctuate, but the leader's unwavering courage to move forward remains the paramount challenge.

With a well-defined vision, mission, and goals directed toward realistic and achievable targets, actions aligned with those goals, a steadfast commitment to values and principles, inching forward, and celebrating each milestone, a leader can cultivate and bolster their courage.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

As a young girl, I had a range of aspirations—I desired to be an avid reader, writer, speaker, storyteller, and even entertained dreams of becoming a scientist. However, my professional journey took a different turn, leading me to excel as a software professional and achieve unique milestones.

Upon reflection, I delved into understanding why my initial dreams were not realized. It became evident that the lack of guidance in my early years played a crucial role. As the first graduate in my family, I had to navigate the path of what to study and how to shape my aspirations, eventually reaching a different milestone.

Teaching my son and instilling the skill of reading in him brought a revelation. I recognized that my younger self required a different form of care, guidance, and approach to fulfill the dreams I held as a girl. Now, my ambition is to be a guiding force for children, fostering essential skills in reading and communication. I believe that by instilling these skills, they will not only be prepared to pursue their dreams but also excel in any path they choose.

To work on what I believed, I transformed into a storyteller, reaching out to first-gen learners in various rural areas.

Filled with energy, I traveled around Tamilnadu with a bag full of storybooks, transporting children to the illusionary world of stories through storytelling. Equipping myself with the necessary skills, I completed my Montessori training and Bachelor of Education, working as an educator in a school. This journey persuaded me to use "Storytelling" as the lifeline of my Reading Program. Working in a CBSE school, I developed a Reading program and headed the Primary wing, School Events, Dramatics Club, and Library activities.

My work on innovative, creative, and collaborative story-based annual events received applause. Street plays, library activities, and involvement in organizing foreign exchange programs, TEDx events, green school programs, and other social initiatives were highly appreciated.

During the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, I took a break from my job, yearning to work on what I am passionate about—inculcating reading ability and fostering a love for reading. This led to the inception of my venture, Little Laudable Learners, previously known as the League of Little Legends. In assuming the role of a leader, I acknowledged my worthiness and gained the trust of others. This realization occurred when I understood that I held the solution to the issue and should be the catalyst for change in the world.

This marked my emergence as a leader, someone who charted their course through decisive actions. The true essence of leadership enveloped me when parents expressed faith in the positive transformations I facilitated in their children. This external affirmation solidified my self-perception as a leader. Each time I open the minds and curiosity quotient of a child to the wonders of reading, I take on the responsibility. My commitment extends to reaching out to more children and helping them explore the world through the transformative power of reading and effective communication.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I split my day into two. Early morning to noon and evening to night. I am an early riser and the first thing I do is look at the mirror and smile. My gratitude session and affirmations are followed by yoga or a walk. As am a mother of two boys and living in a joint family with in-laws, cooking gets the highest priority.

Then I get into the office and start my work after writing my goals in my special diary. As an entrepreneur, storyteller, and trainer my schedule will not stick to a routine. Every day I will have a different routine and each day I plan differently. Sometimes creativity takes precedence over everything. Good scripts for the stories or a speech would pour in and fill up my head and hence expressing them in words takes top priority.

The workflow is based on the KPIs and aligning the tasks of the team, following it up, status calls and meetings fill the task list. Once am done with my morning half I take a break and during that time, I scroll through the social media posts. I also talk to relatives and my close friends at least once in 15 days. Again, by noon I take a short break and prepare a good and healthy snack and dinner. With that start my work in the evening. I close my day at 10.00 pm.

In a day I will make time to talk to my inlaws during morning coffee.

Having good conversations with my kids energizes me. I also ensure that I keep a check on my close buddies.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Recently, I've picked up an important lesson about leadership. It's all about sticking to your vision and moving forward, no matter what challenges come your way. I often think about how to get my team excited and energetic about their work.

What I've figured out is that a leader who keeps pushing ahead automatically motivates the team to follow in the same direction. When a leader decides to move forward, they might face difficulties, but overcoming these challenges is crucial to keeping the entire group moving ahead.

Moving forward as a leader isn't just about physically going ahead; it's also about having a mindset that encourages both personal and group growth. It's a powerful force that guides the team towards their goals and builds a culture of resilience. The decision to keep moving, to face the unknown, isn't easy. Challenges pop up, creating significant obstacles. However, a leader's ability to tackle and overcome these challenges is key to moving the whole team forward.

The core idea isn't just about moving ahead for the sake of it; it's about doing so with a focus on the big picture. It's about creating an environment where challenges aren't seen as roadblocks but as chances to come up with new ideas and get better.

Overcoming challenges isn't just necessary; it's what keeps progress alive.

Overall, leadership lessons are about the strong connection between a leader sticking to their goals, the team getting inspired, and the determination needed to overcome challenges. This understanding forms the foundation of a resilient leadership approach that moves the team forward toward shared goals, no matter the different speeds encountered on the journey.

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?

The book "Born Again on the Mountain" by Arunima Sinha has profoundly influenced my leadership journey. Arunima's compelling narrative is a powerful testament to resilience, determination, and the indomitable human spirit. As a leader, I found her journey from adversity to triumph deeply inspiring, and it has left an indelible mark on my approach to leadership. The book "Born Again on the Mountain" by Arunima Sinha has profoundly influenced my leadership journey.

A national-level volleyball player lost her leg in a cruel accident and her dreams shattered and she was deep down in the abyss. However, She gathered her broken pieces of courage on the slopes of Mount Everest. Her unwavering resolve to reach the top of the world made her the first female amputee to conquer Everest. What a resilient human spirit. Her transformative journey had a profound impact on how I approach challenges and setbacks in my leadership role.

Arunima's story taught me the importance of embracing adversity as a catalyst for growth. In the face of setbacks, she not only rebuilt her life but went on to achieve extraordinary feats. This narrative has instilled in me a belief in the power of perseverance and the ability to turn obstacles into stepping stones for success. Arunima Sinha's story serves as a guiding light, reminding me that even in the face of adversity, true leadership can emerge stronger and more purposeful.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

One crucial piece of advice that I would offer to young leaders is to cultivate resilience. Resilience encapsulates a blend of qualities such as patience, perseverance, willpower, a sense of purpose, and a clear vision. As emerging leaders, the journey is filled with numerous lessons, often learned through experiences that may not necessarily go as planned. Acknowledging that every setback is a valuable learning opportunity implies that young leaders may encounter multiple failures. However, the key is not to surrender to setbacks but rather to take a pause, engage in reflection, understand the reasons behind the failure, and then explore alternative approaches.

It's important to recognize that the path to success may not always follow a straight line. There might be instances where you set a specific goal, but your efforts lead you in unexpected directions. During such times, it's natural to question the purpose of your actions. However, it's crucial to trust that everything unfolds in this world with a purpose. Even if you seem to be deviating from your original plan, every experience contributes to your overall understanding and development. Remaining passionate and dedicated to your dream is paramount.

Consistently work toward your aspirations, understanding that there will come a point when your dream itself propels you toward your ultimate goal. This resilience, coupled with a continuous pursuit of learning and adaptability, forms the bedrock of effective leadership for the leaders of tomorrow.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

The success stories of underprivileged children overcoming adversity through the transformative power of education are undeniably inspirational. One such remarkable story is that of Dr. Ben Carlson, whose life took a transformative turn due to his dedication to reading.

Dr. Ben Carlson, facing numerous challenges in his early years, discovered solace and inspiration in books. Despite financial constraints and difficult circumstances, his relentless reading habits became a beacon of hope and knowledge. Driven by his passion for learning, Dr. Carlson navigated adversity to achieve academic success, eventually earning recognition for his contributions to his field.

Similarly, the life journey of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam stands as a testament to the incredible impact of education on an individual's life. Hailing from a humble background, Dr. Kalam's trajectory from a common family to becoming a renowned scientist and ultimately the President of India is awe-inspiring. His unwavering commitment to education and self-improvement propelled him to great heights, showcasing the transformative power of knowledge.

These stories echo the profound truth that education can be a catalyst for personal growth and societal change. The resilience and determination displayed by Dr. Ben Carlson and Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam underscore the idea that education is not merely a means to an end but a powerful force creating lasting positive change.

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