Debating Forgiveness with Amanda Lindhout!


EO New Delhi welcomed renowned philanthropist and bestselling author, Amanda Lindhout for a soul-stirring interactive session. Lindhout made the news across the world when in 2008, she and Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan were kidnapped by Islamic extremists in Somalia.

After her release from 15 month long captivity, Lindhout embarked on a philanthropic career and in 2013. Her book on the ordeal, A House in the Sky: A Memoir, made the New York Times Bestsellers’ list.

Lindhout began her talk by reminiscing about her childhood in Canada, her fascination with travel, her time working as a waitress right after high school and travelling to nearly 50 countries in the years that followed soon after. She took to freelance journalism, which was when she planned her fated trip to Somalia with her then boyfriend Brennan.

Even though Somalia was a country in strife, Lindhout found more than usual goodness and generosity in its people. When a woman who had not eaten for the last 2 days offered her food, it changed Amanda’s world-view forever. “The world is not the same place that we see in TV or read in books… A country with the most problems is sometimes home to very good people.

On 23rd August 2008, Lindhout and Brennan were kidnapped by a dozen armed militia, while they were on their way to a refugee camp. Their kidnappers, mainly troubled teenaged boys toting AK 47 assault rifles, demanded a 3 million dollar ransom for their release. Since their families were unable to raise the amount, the two were held captive for an excruciating 15 months until the money was paid. As hostages, they were moved from one place to another.

Initially Lindhout and Brennan were treated fairly and kept together, until they tried an escape. After their failed attempt, new rules were imposed  upon them and they were separated. During these months Amanda experienced hunger, extra-ordinary physical pain and her faith in human decency was lost. “I was 22 years old, in chains, in a pitch dark room, on the floor thinking, how could it be happening to me”, Amanda said in a thick voice.

One day when a young boy was beating her, she suddenly realized that his pain was equal to hers. “They made me suffer because of their own suffering”. It was in that moment she experienced forgiveness. She quoted the Bible “For when I am weak, then I am strong”.

Though forgiving her captors wasn’t easy, she chose prayer and gratitude over hatred and bitterness, and focused on small kindnesses. “I looked for any moment that I can be happy for like if any captor greeted me or if I was allowed to use washroom for one more minute…I searched for beauty everyday” said Amanda.

On Nov 25, 2009 after 460 days of captivity Amanda and Nigel were released after their families successfully raised funds and paid the ransom. She was hospitalised and treated for acute malnourishment. Following her release, Lindhout received a lot of media attention, which she mostly tried to avoid. After she released her memoir, she began talking to the media more freely. “Forgiveness doesn’t comes easy to me, it’s a process. Every single morning I make choice to forgive, some days I get there some days I don’t…” she said.

In 2010 Linda founded Global Enrichment Foundation to create more opportunities in Somalia by offering university scholarships to women. She shared images of Somalis being helped by her foundation. “I had a second chance in life, I want to make my life matter on this planet… The country where I lost my freedom is also a country where I found my life’s purpose… ” said Amanda.

She ended her speech with this quote from Dr. Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and holocaust survivor. “We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation–just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer–we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Q&A Excerpts

When asked about Nigel:

He wasn’t treated as terribly as I was but he couldn’t help me. We were released together but we went separate ways… We’ve been friends, a couple and hostages. After all that happened, we found it really hard to connect and we haven’t talked in years. I wish him luck.”

When asked to explain the quote from the Bible and why she thought a country with most problems has the most kind people:

It’s because people struggle everyday to survive. Though I am not very religious, that quote always stuck with me and when I was in captivity I really got its meaning. You can think ‘how do I implement it’ or you can go home and live normal daily lives. It’s an everyday decision for me and I make that choice everyday”.

When asked whether forgiveness came easily to her after all her experiences:

It wasn’t easy and it still isn’t. Some days I get there and some days I don’t”.

When asked if Nigel was a help to her in captivity:

It was a gift to not be alone. In first two months we spent times together. After we were separated I could hear his cough or voice and that gave comfort. It felt good knowing that someone was with me”.

When asked about Justice and Forgiveness in Somalia:

Somalia hasn’t had any law for years. Their justice isn’t like what we think of justice. I received a Facebook message from one of my captors and he congratulated me for the work I was doing for Somalis… They know I have chosen compassion over revenge and that is the best justice I can ask for”.

PHIL-osophies of life!


Jennifer Carroll is the CEO of J&J Way Productions, a former TV news reporter, author,  highest rated speaker at the EO Buenos Aires University, and EO spouse for over 22 years. She is passionate about using her creative talents, voice and energy to make a difference.

Jennifer will be sharing with EO New Delhi members her journey and tales of how Phil, her husband, who faced the greatest ordeal of his life- Prostate Cancer – was UNSTOPPABLE, living life out loud, running triathlons, snowboarding and travelling the world!

Phil Carroll was an internationally renowned entrepreneur and was described by Forbes magazine as, “only 25 years old and as rich as cheesecake.”  That feature article applauded his first venture, Three Buoys Houseboat Vacations. Phil and his partner plunged into the real estate industry managing and selling a billion dollars worth of real estate. Their claim to fame was when they launched more boats than the US Navy. It was an entrepreneurial roller-coaster, to say the least, filled with plenty of challenges and surprises. Phil Carroll’s celebration of life here on earth ended December 14, 2012, after a fearless five-year battle with Prostate Cancer.

Phil celebrated his life until his last breath. He lived passionately, loved hard and shared his ‘Phil’-osophies with everyone he knew. Through his actions, he taught us the power of positivity and that perspective is everything.

Jennifer will be sharing with EO New Delhi members, “PHIL-osophies of Life: How to Be Unstoppable!”  with her unique energy and enthusiasm, along with powerful video messages, on 18th February 2014, at Ganga, Shangri-la; 7:30pm onwards.

An evening with Kunal Bahl of


Kunal Bahl, CEO, spoke enthusiastically to the members of EO New Delhi, sharing details of his fascinating journey of founding and growing the very successful It seems like it all started back in 2006 in Kunal’s bedroom when he and his friend, Rohit Bansal, an IIT Delhi graduate came up with an idea for a business that provided discount coupons.

Though they lacked market research and business analysis, their enthusiasm, determination and simply put, their guts allowed them to forge forward and start their business. Their initial months of effort were disappointing. Even though they experimented with different products, nothing they proposed struck a chord with either retailers or consumers!

Somewhere amidst their struggles, Kunal realized the tremendous potential of digital commerce and decided to jump into the online realm. They began working on their online platform and it wasn’t until February 2010 that they named themselves! With no clue how to run this internet company, the team faced many hurdles! Not only were retailers unwilling to try something new, they were still running the company from their homes, were unable to hire competent staff and were still spending most of their seed capital on salaries!

Cut to 2013 when has proved itself as one of the largest online marketplaces in India. It has over 2 crore registered users, more than 40 lakh listed products, more than 500 categories and a sales force that exceeds 1000 employees.

This session was graced with the presence of members from EO Kolkata, EO Pune and EO Japan.

Some excerpts from the Q&A session with Kunal Bahl

EO: How do you handle supply chain issues?

KB: In other business models, sellers ship directly to the consumers of their choice. At we have created a technology to integrate all courier companies. We select these courier companies on the basis of their service and performance. So we have 100% track-ability and full control over shipping of the product. Our 20% – 80% of orders are shipped within 24 hours.

EO: How do you select your vendor? What role did an IITian play in company?

KB: We look at sellers’ financial statements, product samples and their willingness to sell. Also there is a seller score on the website. IIT helped us on the technology side.

EO: Amazon is entering our country, what’s your strategy?

KB: Most well established companies foray into Indian market with a set framework but fail, as the industry is highly unpredictable. Our philosophy is that if a person is rich he will not shop online. We target the middle-class that forms 80% of online shoppers in India. No one who matters to this ecosystem knows about Amazon. Amazon has to start at zero with them.

Kunal Bahl: Experiences & Learnings

1. Don’t do it alone: Finding the right partner and being persistent is the key to success.

2. Need for speed: It’s best not to over think your idea. Start small and learn quickly!

3. Know whom to hire, when to hire: Place great emphasis on your hiring policy. At SnapDeal, candidates have to clear 4 rounds of interview and present their own business plan in order to get selected. Kunal explained that he prefers candidates who can market themselves, have good communication skills and who put their hearts into their work.

4. Your culture will define your success: Place great emphasis on the work culture in your office. Kunal described the work culture at SnapDeal as positive and informal. Its employees are called team members and are all provided the same office space. In fact, the office is like an extended living room, has a balanced gender ratio and much emphasis is given to motivating employees.

5. Be a missionary company: Always set goals and missions that seem beyond your reach. Kunal explained how goals are defined for each quarter at SnapDeal and employees are motivated to achieve them. He said that goals that had seemed impossible were achieved many times!

6. Step out of your comfort zone: Push yourself and be shameless in competition! Kunal elaborated by mentioning a successful campaign by SnapDeal wherein they sold Durex condoms for only Re. 1 on Valentine’s Day. Even though all the marketing gurus disapproved of their idea, they were able to sell 1.5 lakh condoms.

7. Investment in brand is good: It is always good to invest in your brand. Brand building exercises can often bear interesting fruits! Kunal shared his experience of how a village in North India named Shivnagar changed its name to Nagar after the company provided them fresh water!

8. Make your company stand for something and live it, breathe it: Streamline your activities to suit your target market. Kunal explained that SnapDeal doesn’t want to cater to everything and everyone. It specifically targets people who want to save money. All their activities and even their taglines (‘Bachatey Raho’ and ‘Helping India, Save Money’) have made this crystal clear.

9. Phenomenal growth: SnapDeal has surely experienced a phenomenal growth. It sells a saree and mobile every 2 minutes. It adds a new product every 30 seconds and has a strong network of sellers. Kunal then showed a moving video of how SnapDeal has changed the lives of small town retailers.

10. Be positive, content and happy: Above all, Kunal said that he believes that to be successful a person needs to be happy and optimistic.

An Interaction with G M Rao


Following its theme – Live, Laugh and Learn, Eo New Delhi held an enlightening event with Mr. Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao, Founder and Chairman of GMR group, who shared his life story from humble beginnings to private jets! An introductory video was played to showcase the journey of GMR group, which evolved from a jute company to a well-diversified group.

When Mr. Rao took the podium and addressed EO members, he said that his daughter and son-in-law were a part of EO as well, and he found EO to be a great forum to learn.

He then shared his own and GMR’s growth story. Mr. Rao shares a common goal with EO: a Thirst for Learning. In every role he played, be it a student leader, trader, manufacturer, banker, and infrastructure developer he learnt valuable lessons and desired to learn more.

Mr. Rao was born in Rajam, a small village in Andhra Pradesh. In his early days he helped his father in handling the family Jute business, which gave him an insight into managing diverse stakeholders. Later he graduated in mechanical engineering from Andhra University, where he was a student leader. The leadership and teamwork skills he learnt in that role helped him highly in his whole career. His father insisted upon him to get a job and thus he worked briefly for A P Paper Mills where he recalls observing closely how a businessman runs a company. Then he joined as an Executive Engineer with the state’s PWD and it was here he was introduced to infrastructure projects.

When his father passed away, Mr. Rao left the job and joined his family business. Though the Jute business was yielding profits, he had a burning desire to step out of his comfort zone and achieve more. It was this desire that made him foray into manufacturing operations in 1978 and over the License Raj years set up 28 units in steel rolling, ferro alloys, sugar, alcohol and banking, amongst others. As a manufacturer he learnt two things, 1) how to manage workers and 2) God is in the details.

The other valuable lesson he learnt was 3) not to be emotionally attached with his businesses which is evident by the fact that he has sold off many of his businesses. A brewery he started in partnership with Shaw Wallace, was sold off to Vijay Mallya. There was a sugar mill, which was sold to EID Parry. From agro-business, GMR moved into finance, buying shares in the Vysya Bank, of which he then became chairman. At Vysya Bank, his network widened to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. “Every business I diversified into was new to me”, said Mr. Rao.

The economic liberalization of India in 90s proved to be a great opportunity for Mr. Rao. By then his sons were MBA graduates and helped him in the business, suggesting strategies and charting a vision statement for the GMR group. They decided to focus on the two main sectors Agriculture and Infrastructure. GMR group was already into Agro business so they tried their hands at infrastructure and put up power plants in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

By the time there was a bid to built the Hyderabad airport, GMR group was already into building roads and power plants. He won the bid beating L&T, even though he wasn’t sure how to go about it. He spent a lot of time, energy and money; and hired the best consultants and visited airports all over the world to learn the complex system of airport construction and management. As an infrastructure developer he learnt that whatever you do make it world class.

“When given the option to build an airport, I chose New Delhi rather than Mumbai because Mumbai has a lot of constraints. There were challenges in Delhi too. It was my first business in Delhi and coordinating with 58 departments was difficult, but there was a passion for the life time opportunity”. GMR group completed IGI Terminal 3 New Delhi Airport project on time. The airport that even EO New Delhi members are proud of.

Mr. Rao gives a great importance to family and has implemented the best practices of European business families. He proudly shared his idea of family constitution, with EO New Delhi. Each of his family members is allotted a mentor. The family council meets regularly to sort out even the smallest of issues and also encourages the participation from female members. All his family members are involved in the business – son-in-law Srinivas Bommidala runs the group’s highways and urban infrastructure business, while his sons Kiran K. Grandhi and G.B.S Raju run the airport and international business.

Mr. Rao is a humble man and dreams of a small fiat car and small apartment in Visakhapatnam. He is a stickler for details and gave innumerable examples of how he always keeps a close eye on quality control, technical processes, and the nitty-gritty; be it in the sugar mill he runs in his home district, or the power plant in Mangalore, or the runway at T3. He places a great importance on values, beliefs, and social responsibility.

Excerpt from the Q&A session with Mr. GM Rao

EO: You’ve evolved as a student leader; do you think your closeness with the political leaders helped you in anyway?

GMR: It is true that Venkaiah Naidu is my classmate. But there was no political support at any time. Whatever we have achieved it is created by me, my family, employees, values and attitude. We have policies and we follow it.

EO: You talk of business life in two parts, Pre & Post economic reforms. For the pre-economic reforms part, how you diversified into 28 sectors in just span of 15 years?

GMR: My belief is if you empower people they’ll be successful, you just need to review and check them.  I used to do everything by myself in the Jute business and it was a great learning. For every new project I went into minute details at first. The project started slowly and then came momentum. Challenges were always there.

EO: How many hours in a day were you working?

GMR: Those days there were no mobiles or digitalization so I worked for around 14 to 16 hours per day.

EO: What are your core values in life?

GMR: Humility and Teamwork.

EO: What is your view on starting early vs starting late as an entrepreneur?

GMR: I started early, as an entrepreneur but there was an imbalance in my life. There were times when I wasn’t able to spend time with my family and I got stressed. But luckily I moved towards spirituality and yoga and it helped me a lot. Now I spend time with my family and myself. A happy family is a necessity. So whenever you start there must be work life balance. And I personally believe the Universe helps you to achieve your dreams.

“I thought an airport was nothing more than a runway and a building! I had built roads and factories, so I told Chandra Babu I can build an airport!” But we finally built a world-class airport.

EO: I feel proud that we have IGI T3 but as an entrepreneur is it a good idea to get into something that gets you into the limelight? What if something goes wrong and there is a media leak?

GMR: Initially when something went wrong I was depressed. But then I focus my energy on how to prevent it. If there are any gaps I review it. There are 32 service parameters, processes and strong review mechanisms. I spend the whole day focusing on quality control; I feel reviews are very important for a complex project. If something still goes wrong and there is a media leakage, we immediately react and try to not repeat it.

EO: You are a serial entrepreneur. What are the top 3 qualities you look for in a partner?

GMR: If I choose a partner I look for qualities like Humility, Liaising and values. If partner comes to me I look for their capacity to train our people, liaising skills and values.

EO: In last 10 years there has been much growth in  the infrastructure business. How do you see Infrastructure companies in the next 10 years?

GMR: There are many challenges in this sector. The market is unpredictable; there are bottlenecks in the power sector. The only solution is Liquidity and flexible strategy. Therefore I always have a different strategy for each business. I sold most of my businesses without any emotional attachment.

Meet with Amanda Lindhout; A Fighting Spirit


An award winning humanitarian, social activist, public speaker and writer Amanda Lindhout’s story is one of passion and perseverance. There is truly much for all of us to learn from her.

From humble origins in Canada, Amanda took control of her destiny the day she quit her job as a cocktail waitress and became a journalist. She arrived in Afghanistan in 2007, moving on to Iraq and then Somalia as a freelance reporter. On 23rd August, 2008, she and Nigel Brennan, a freelance Australian photojournalist were kidnapped in Mogadishu; along with their Somali translator and two drivers by teenage insurgents from Hizbul Islam fundamentalist group. As fate would have it, they were kidnapped in lieu of two more experienced journalists who had incidentally increased their security that very morning. Despite many attempts at negotiating a ransom, Ms. Lindhout was held in captivity for 15 months and released only following a random payment by her family. She was hospitalized in Nairobi for two weeks and treated for acute malnutrition.

Following her release, Amanda received a lot of media attention which she shied away from until 2013, which was when she released her memoir, A House in The Sky. Co-written with journalist Sara Corbett, her memoir recounts her experience as a hostage. Eliza Griswold of the New York Times said of the book that, “Her tale … is much more than a gonzo adventure tale gone awry — it’s a young woman’s harrowing coming-of-age story and an extraordinary narrative of forgiveness and spiritual triumph”. She has also founded the Global Enrichment Foundation to empower, educate and provide aid in the very country where she lost her freedom.

Amanda’s trajectory as a woman of unique resilience, vision and action has made her an inspiring example of how one person can enact positive change on a worldwide scale. In 2012, the Women’s Executive Network named Amanda one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

Amanda Lindhout will be speaking to members of EO New Delhi on 23/01/2014 at The Nilgiri, The Oberoi; 7pmonwards. Please RSVP on Facebook or to Nishtha Bakshi at the earliest.

GMR Chief to Speak to EO New Delhi


The story of G M Rao, the Founder Chairman of GMR Group is truly inspirational! He was born in a small town called Rajam in Andhra Pradesh to a small scale jeweller. The origins of his business empire can be traced back to a single Jute Mill which he invested in, in 1978. From then on till the 1990s, he indulged in opportunity driven business building, entering 28 businesses as a serial entrepreneur. He exited most of them when the economic reforms of the 90s allowed for newer opportunities.

As a part of the post liberalization baby boomer generation of entrepreneurs, his consequent moves were entirely driven by strategy and made with a long term horizon in mind. He eventually settled his focus on the core infrastructure sector. The result is a robust GMR group that is active in 7 countries and has business verticals in Energy, Roads, Airports and Urban Infrastructure including SEZs. He is also the owner of Delhi Daredevils!

Mr. Rao’s personal journey has been an interesting one. He has evolved from a student leader to a trader, to a manufacturer, to a banker and to an infrastructure developer. Over the last 35 years, his company has grown into the one of the most recognized brands in the country. G.M. Rao is India’s 15th richest person and a Forbes Billionaire having a net worth of $ 3.2 Billion (2010).

His management principles too are unique! He believes that “Family must be run like Business and Business must be run like Family”. The GMR Group Vision also states that the “GMR Group will be an institution in perpetuity that will build entrepreneurial organizations making a difference to society through creation of value”. Mr. Rao also has a strong belief in giving back to society, for which he has set up the GMR Varalakshmi Foundation to improve education, empowerment, healthcare, livelihood and community development in 22 locations in India and Nepal. To ensure that his legacy lives on, Mr. Rao made a significant endowment to his Foundation; namely his entire personal wealth!

G.M. Rao’ will be speaking to the members of EO New Delhi in a must attend event on 18th December 2013 at 7.30 pm at Ganga, Shangri-la, New Delhi. Please RSVP on Facebook or via SMS to Nishtha Bakshi (Chapter Admin).

Once in a life time experience in EO


My EO journey started in June 2012 when I joined EO New Delhi as an Admin. This was the first of its kind job for me, so I didn’t know what to expect from it. What came my way seemed normal until our last EO event – “Walk on fire with Helene Liu”.

I had attended the same event before organized by another ‘O’ organisation, and was the first time I attended an event outside of EO. To put it simply, it was nothing like our event… there was this DEAD silence at this event, no networking, no interaction, and very unlike our own EO event, only 35 people attended. It made me realise how engaged and integrated our members are – they get so involved, cannot stop asking questions and adding value in their own way to the events – which essentially happened at the Walk on fire event too!

At the EO Walk on Fire, the event started with Walking on broken glass. As soon as Helene was done showing the demo, there was a rush of volunteers to walk, it was difficult to stop the members and their families (including small kids) to walk on glass. Helene said later that evening, “this group is so energetic and fearless, I’ve not seen a group like this in a long time”. The Glass walk went on for about 30 minutes and we then moved towards FIRE, the main event of the evening.

Helene gave a little brief on the “Dos and Donts” and then walked on fire herself. Before she could even turn around and say something, one of our tenured members, Rajiv Bajaj and his son walked one after another BOLDLY GO’ing. I was shocked, I think so was Helene –  they showed no fear!

In my journey of 17 months with EO I’ve seen and organized many events and some really brilliant ones, that scored more than 9 ratings but what I saw and experienced on 17th November was nothing compared to anything that I had experienced before. The Family bonding across the entire chapter!! The scene of a daughter/son and father walking together on fire was too emotional and priceless not only for them but also for people watching. Forum bonding! ID Musafir’s forum walked together. I didn’t get a chance to ask them about their experience but the enthusiasm said it all. This was nothing like that we’ve ever done before… it was exceptional!! We MADE A MARK!

The event went on.. one after another there were lot of amazing moments, fathers walking hand in hand with their young daughters, forums walking together, couples walking together.. by the way all of them are walking on FIRE, but the ease and calm they did it with did not reflect it was such a daunting task. And then came my turn, I was so scared.. I went in front to start and then backed off a couple of times and then Akash Khanna (another EO New Delhi member) came forward, took off his shoes, held my hand and said “I’ll walk with you, just look straight and walk”. Thank you Akash, I owe you for this one. Just when I thought this was over, Helene came running to me and said “Amarjeet, you have to walk with me”. And I walked on that fire again with Helene!

This is what EO gave me and all those who attended a “Once in a lifetime experience”. I will not forget this event till my last breath and am sure a lot of you fell the same!

Amarjeet Kaur
EO New Delhi

Deeper impacts of walking on Fire and Broken Glass


The sun set that evening, only to give rise to a majestic full moon shining over the sprawling lawns of a fellow EO members farmhouse. 50-odd EO families gathered together with growing anxiety and fear. My kids had mice running in their stomach as soon as they were invited to light the log fire. Each of us were asked to make a wish. Suveer, my 11Yo son, wished that no one should get burnt or cut. Such a simple yet impacting wish, and a far cry from some of the other material wishes I hear. Well done son !

Anshana and Ruheen (my 8YO) daughter had declared to me earlier that there would only be a 50:50 chance that they would walk on fire that evening, By now I could see that slowly progress towards a sure-shot ‘NO WAY’.

EO resource, Helen Lui,  broke us into forums to discuss our individual intentions to do the walk. By this time the fire was burning fiercely, almost like a Pyre under the glow of the moon. We discussed one aspect that each of us wanted to leave behind and focused on a future goal that was dear to us. Some joked that this was Agni Pariksha, a test to separate the pure EO’s from the un-pure ones.

Armed with these thoughts and only High-Tea to keep our courage levels high, the group proceeded for its first circus act of the evening. It would be a while before alcohol was served………

ACT 1 : Broken Glass Walk – The Mind over Matter.

The walk started with a few brave souls volunteering to demonstrate the EO Core Value – ‘Boldly Go’. The walk way was set with 60-70 broken champagne bottles spread evenly over a white sheet. Helen showed us the way – keep your head high – focus on your end goal – do not look down at minor distractions , the broken glass – it will only distract. Before we knew it every one including kids as young as 6-7 YO joined in to walk on glass. It was one of the most empowering moments I have ever seen.

Key Learnings:

1) The glass walk demonstrated that mostly fear is only in the mind. Your achievements are limited by this fear. By over coming that fear, ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things (without alcohol).

2) If you focus firmly on your goals (outcome) and you have the determination to achieve them, nothing can stop you.

It was truly mind over matter !

ACT 2 : Fire Walk – A Risk Mitigation Strategy :

After having braved the glass walk, the fire walk seemed like a piece of cake. Armed with disbelief (of walking on glass) our anxiety gave way to a wave of positive energy. EO Families held hands and walked over burning embers in a grand show of faith and commitment to each other. Save a few chickens, who did not like the idea of being grilled on a tandoor, 90% of EO’ers present walked on the fire bed multiple times.

Key Learnings :

While I watched this amazing feat being performed by fellow ordinary humans, I put my thoughts on the science behind this act. Why didn’t this logic defying feat, burn us ? The answer lies in the risk mitigation strategy used.

Though walking on fire seemed to be a suicide mission, I saw that if you can consciously plan for every major risk that you can conceive in advance, the task becomes much easier to execute. This is very much like what we use during own business execution processes.

Here’s what I observed :

1) The length of the fire walk was kept at 10 feet, there by containing the maximum damage to a few blisters. (this came from Helen’s experience).

This way she had already covered our maximum down side.

2) The grass on either side of the fire was soaked in cool water, there by creating a thin membrane of wet soil on the sole of our feet. This way by the time it started getting hot underneath, we were already more than half way through.

On the other side, again the presence of wet grass cooled the already hot sole plate, giving immediate relief, thereby preventing any blisters on our feet.

Needless to say none of this could have been possible without a ‘Coach’.

I am grateful to Vibhas Prasad and Karan Bhatia (Eo New Delhi Learning Chairs) for organising an event which had such deep impact on how we go about mitigating risks while relentlessly pursuing our goals. The Learnings from the event can be applied to personal as well as professional growth.

Going EO360 with you,

Hameet Sawhney

EO New Delhi

EO New Delhi’s tryst with 9 Michelin Star Chefs!


By Rahul Jetley

It would be an understatement to say that expectations were at an all time high when the EO-New Delhi Chapter announced the gastronomical event, involving a tasting menu prepared by 9 Michelin Starred chefs from all over the globe. An indication of the excitement was the fact that the event hit its capacity of 50 people within an hour of being announced!

The dinner was hosted at the globally acclaimed Le Cirque restaurant, at the opulent Leela Palace, Chanakyapuri. Attendees, dressed in their finest gowns and suits, were greeted at the door with a glass of champagne and then mingled with peers before being seated, in preparation for the culinary journey to begin. To add to the “once in a lifetime” quotient of the event, a silent auction was held during the dinner for an over hundred year old bottle of “very rare” cognac.

We started our voyage with a seafood amuse bouche, followed by various seafood appetizers, poultry and meat main courses and ended with a strawberry and melon soup, accompanied by a Panna-Cotta and strawberry jelly. In homage to the large vegetarian population of India, each of the courses had a vegetarian option to ensure everyone’s preferences were accommodated. A flight of red and white wines, carefully selected to compliment each of the courses ensured that everyone was in high-spirits by the end of the evening!

The event was held on 4th October and featured delicacies prepared by Alyn Williams, Fernando Del Cerro, Michael Wignel, Mark Best, Roger Pizey, Frances Atkins, Marcello Tully, Ian Curley & Laurie Gear, all of whom have two or three Michelin Stars.  All proceeds from the event were forwarded to charity. 

Sunil Lulla: The Brand man of Indian Media!


Sunil Lulla is the Chairman & Managing Director of the Times Television Network. A media and news industry veteran, Mr Lulla is also a board member of the News Broadcasters Association. He brings with him immense experience in the media sector having been associated with the business of television media, entertainment and communication for over two decades.

Before joining the Times, Mr. Lulla held senior positions with Sony Entertainment Television, MTV, J Walter Thompson, Diageo, HMV and He holds a Masters Degree in Management Studies from the S.P Jain institute of Management & Research and has worked in India, Taiwan and China.

Mr. Lulla’s strength lies in building brands from scratch. He has been building media brands for more than 20 years now. He started his career with Forbes, Forbes Campbell and Co., a Tata Group company, in 1984 as a management trainee. His next stint was at HTA (now JWT). For about seven years, he handled various accounts, the largest being Unilever. Even though he was doing well in HTA, Mr. Lulla felt that an ad agency was not the right place for him in the long run.

In 1991, HMV was on the verge of winding up or receiving a government bailout. Viewing these state of affairs as a challenge, Mr. Lulla joined the company and he, along with a small team, managed to turn HMV around. “I had to go back and win the confidence of producers. We repackaged HMV’s old catalogue and released them as premium products and earned higher value,” said Mr. Lulla in an interview with afaqs!, a leading advertising website.

Soon, he moved on to become the General Manager of MTV India, which was in a bad shape in the 90s. By 1997, MTV was the No. 1 music channel in the country. “The essence of this success story is understanding consumer insights. I got a brief from MTV which said, ‘Don’t play Hindi music’. I ignored the brief,” said Mr. Lulla.

After MTV, Mr. Lulla moved to Diageo for a short while. “There I realised that if I didn’t have a leadership role, I didn’t enjoy the job,” he states. So, after a year, he moved on and helped his friend, Pradeep Kar of Microland, build, an Internet venture.

After was sold to STAR, he moved to Sony Entertainment Television (SET) in 2002. Mr. Lulla brought in ‘Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi’ and Indian Idol and restored SET to its former position. It gave the brand a huge pull – a 33 per cent increase in viewership and revenues.

Mr. Lulla has now moved to Times Now and the move from entertainment to news has had its own share of challenges. “Many things were new to me in the news space – building the infrastructure, large scale investments, setting up bureaus, the whole editorial approach and working with two different partners, Reuters and the Times Group,” he said, towards the end of the interview.

Mr. Sunil Lulla will be speaking in a must attend event for EO New Delhi Members on 20th September 2013. The event includes cocktails, talk and Q&A session to get some fresh ideas that can be applied to your business goals;  exclusive dinner to create an atmosphere that allows entrepreneurs to drop barriers and build deep friendships at the conclusion of the event.