Gaining new perspectives on the India GLP Program

28 Jan 2020

In 2019, two Churchill Fellows were given an opportunity to participate in the Global Leadership Practices (GLP) Program, a leadership development program made possible by our partnership with Yellow Edge.

Fellows Sam Bayley and Stephen Geason travelled to India where they gained new perspectives and networks to continue their Churchill Fellowship journey. The inclusion of Churchill Fellows to the program added depth and breadth to the participant cohort.

Stephen and Sam shared with us their experiences of this unique opportunity. 

Stephen Geason | GLP INDIA

Why did you decide to apply for the GLP Program in India?

I had considered applying for the GLP in 2018 however, felt the timing was not right. In 2019 I had achieved significant goals which I had set myself professional and personally. The Yellow Edge program offered an opportunity to further assist my growth and take me well outside of my comfort zone. The GLP once again offered the fantastic opportunity to engage in a global market.

Tell us about the experience. Did it meet your expectations?

The 2-day primer conducted prior to the program is a fantastic and valuable process which assists in putting the nerves at ease and helps to set realistic expectations. The experience programmed by the Yellow Edge team and the We School was exceptional and delivered well beyond my expectations. It is an immersive and all-consuming week which I would recommend to anyone looking to develop their leadership and creative thinking skills. It was a challenging week which I feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to partake in. Thank you to the Trust and the Yellow Edge team.

How did it enable you to build on your Churchill Fellowship findings and/or your growth as a Churchill Fellow?

The GLP allowed me to develop new contacts within Bangalore and further abroad in India who are working within the entrepreneurial and start up space assisting people with disabilities, senior living and dementia. The program allowed me to connect with the other members of the group in Australia. As an incredibly diverse group of individuals it was surprising the amount of common values we shared. The GLP taught me to stay nimble and be able to adapt to changing and variable environments, to act with integrity and guide utilising authenticity and meaningful engagement.

Which organisation, site visit or individual did you find to be most valuable on the program?

Having limited knowledge in the IT sector the site visit to Infosys was insightful and allowed me to see the future India. The company’s clear vision, masterplan and investment in their community is admirable. One other very memorable experience was engaging with the students at the We Business School on the last day of the program assisting them to prepare a traditional Indian lunch, which was followed by a spectacular performance by the students in the evening. Again, we saw the future India and as mentioned by Andrew Simon from Yellow Edge, "it is in good hands".

What was the most interesting thing you learned about India while on this trip?

India has a global conscience with clear aspirations to become middle class and a modern society. India has significant challenges to overcome to achieve this goal however due to beliefs and a positive disposition people know India will transition however it will not happen overnight.

Any advice to Fellows looking to apply for the GLP Program in 2020?

The application process for the GLP allowed me to reflect on my career and solidify the significant positive impact the Fellowship has had over the past 4 years. My advice is apply, and if successful go in boots and all. It truly is an amazing learning journey. Finally, if successful for the India GLP, take your dancing shoes.

Sam Bayley | GLP INDIA

Why did you decide to apply for the GLP Program in India?

I applied for the GLP India program as I saw it as an opportunity to enhance my leadership and management skills and an avenue for personal growth. I have been fascinated by India for a long time and was keen to experience a unique and ancient culture, but also a rapidly changing one. The concept of leadership in a cross-cultural context fascinated me and it was the right time for me to be pushed and challenged. Experiencing the food, music and cultural scene was also a big drawcard.

Tell us about the experience. Did it meet your expectations?

The GLP India program allowed me to explore and learn about industries completely foreign to me. We visited renowned Bangalore based tech, IT and pharma companies gaining an insight into their ‘start up’ values, marketing strategies and strategic plans. I took home many ideas that I will look to implement in the not for profit sector in which I work.

We also spent time learning about Hinduism, Indian culture and the arts and the historical and current political environment. All of which helps to set a wonderful scene for discussions and learnings.

We were graciously hosted by one of India’s top business schools and created some genuine friendships.  We mixed with students and received an amazing cultural night that showcased regional food, dance, song and classical music - and yes, BOLLYWOOD!

The GLP India course exceeded my expectations due to the diverse schedule and thought-provoking program. 

How did it enable you to build on your Churchill Fellowship findings and/or your growth as a Churchill Fellow?

The GLP India threw me into a different world of people, topics, discussions and world views. I was forced to engage both with questioning and answering. I have grown in confidence in my ability to converse and critically think about issues that I previously would have been silent on or avoided. It has opened my world view on cultural leadership and the interaction between business and social settings.

Which organisation, site visit or individual did you find to be most valuable on the program?

In Bangalore amongst all the development, site visits and global companies, we visited a humble suburban school. This crowded, small, concrete courtyard was filled with laughing and smiling children with dedicated proud staff. Computers running off car batteries, a donated lunch program and sponsored filtered water reminded us of the importance on focussing on our next generation.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about India while on this trip?

I learnt that India has the 2nd biggest Muslim population in the world (outside Indonesia). That in most parts of India cultural diversity is respected and people live in harmony. That even with rapid development Indians value their traditional culture and beliefs and respect others. Diversity is celebrated and has created opportunities that flow into business, development and opportunity. 

Was there anything else that you found really valuable about the whole experience? 

The GLP India participants created a wonderful travel party coming from various walks of life in terms of their professions, cultural backgrounds, ages and regions within Australia. We had hearty honest discussions and learnt much from each other. Many of us will stay in touch as friends with the possibility of forging future collaborations between our different industries. I sincerely thank the Yellow Edge team and the Churchill Trust for the opportunity.

Any advice to Fellows looking to apply for the GLP Program in 2020?

I would definitely recommend the GLP to any Fellows keen to sharpen their skills both professionally and personally. The structure of the course is very non-prescriptive and allows for a free-flowing cultural experience to remember. Be prepared to eat lots of amazing food!


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