TEDxYouth@Chennai 2010 Speakers


Founder- President, AVTAR Career Creators

Saundarya Rajesh, one of the earliest voices to speak on Diversity & Inclusion in India, is a winner of the SCOPE Woman Exemplar Award 2006, the Yuvashakthi Entrepreneur of the Year award 2007 and the Swadeshi Jagran Manch’s Award for Most relevant social contribution to business 2008.

She did her Masters in Management from Central University Pondicherry, INDIA and is a gold medalist in English Literature from Madras University, INDIA.

Mother of 2 teenagers and wife to a busy professional, Saundarya identified with the thousands of Indian women who had to give up their careers mid-way in response to a work-life balancing need. Her consulting firm, AVTAR , works with over 6300 women managers who are part of the AVTAR I-WIN network – Interim Women manager’s Interface Network.

Saundarya firmly believes that for both men and women of all ages, work has to be a part of life and not life itself. This has led to cutting-edge work done by AVTAR in the space of creating flexi-careers. Companies which believe in providing a flexible work environment to their people, have used AVTAR’s consulting services in ‘Flexidizing and Unbundling’ jobs – concepts which are the brainchild of Saundarya. AVTAR I-WIN was showcased as an ‘India innovation’ in Outlook Business 2008 List of Ten Niche services, as also in the Diversity & Inclusion conference at Hong Kong 2008. Saundarya was also invited to speak at the SHRM’s annual conference in July 2010 at San Diego on the topic ‘Flexible Working Methods to Promote Organizational Diversity’ and to Hillary Clinton’s VITAL VOICES – a summit of women business leaders in Sep 2010.

Pursuing her PhD in Flexible working methods, Saundarya enjoys Tamil poetry and is a raving fan of Mahakavi Bharathiyar’s works.

  Soundarya Rajesh

Environmental Documentary Film Maker

Ekta Kothari is a part of ONERGY which leads and provide renewable energy across rural India. Ekta is an environmental documentary film maker and an activist heading the creative wing of a grass-root climate action project in Kolkata, India – Switch ON, where she was. Early 2009, they launched the – Why New Coal, Climate Ride 2009, India – questioning India’s growth based on fossil fuel and highlighting alternatives for its sustainable growth, The Rising Tide and Droughts and Debts & a Death. Ekta was the project coordinator and also documented the cycle ride from Kolkata to New Delhi, through the coal capital of India, Jharia, and interviewed many energy and sustainability experts to put together a film on the issue – Why New Coal. She has studies direction from Film and Television Institute of India. She was the Asia Team Leader for Project Survival Media – A youth journalist network at COP 15, Copenhagen. She has also co-founded SwitchON and has specialized in Direction from Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. Ekta is a musician and plays the keyboards, flute and currently learning the violin.

  Ekta Kothari
Major Ravi    

Former Indian Army Officer and a Malayali Indian filmmaker

Major A.K. Ravindran better known by his screen name Major Ravi is a former Indian Army Officer and a Malayali Indian filmmaker, recipient of the President's medal, joined the Indian army as a jawan in 1975 and graduated from the Army Cadet College to become a commando in the year 1988. He led the mission codenamed Operation One-eyed Jack to capture suspects of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the experiences of which inspired him to direct Mission 90 Days (2007). After working for around two decades for the Indian Army, he became a military consultant for Indian films. He has worked with the likes of Priyadarshan, Rajkumar Santhoshi(Pukar), Kamal Haasan(Aalavandan), Mani Ratnam (Kannathil Muthamittal). He has earlier made a children's film but his first feature film is Mohanlal starrer Keertichakra, a film on Kashmir militancy and is multilingual.

He has been associated with many Hindi and Malayalam films before directing on his own. His first firm brought applause from many corners. It has been a novel theme and it brought out the near real picture of the war torn Kashmir valley. His second movie mission 90 days was his own experience of the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case. His third project Kurukshetra based on the Kargil war starring Mohanlal was a sequel to Keerthichakra. Kurukshetra is also the first Malayalam film, which implemented the concept of a wide release.Major is busy with his new film "Kandahar", movie based on Plane hijack, starring Mohan Lal, Amitab Bachan, Sunil Shetty and Neil Nitin Mukesh.

  Ekta Kothari
R. Elango    

Social Worker

R.Elango is a native of Kuthambakkam village which 30 Kms away from Chennai city on Chennai - Thiruvallur road near Thirumazhisai. His life as a villager gave him opportunity to realize the social menaces like poverty, untouchability, drunken men, men beating the women, caste based violence, child labour, unemployment, malnutrition and hunger. The proximity to Chennai city had not brought big changes to Kuthambakkam. Like other villages, here also the backwardness due to non availability of infrastructure, poor connectivity and less hygienic condition was existing. After completing the elementary education in Kuthambakkam village he had to walk for 7 Km for his high school education. The social conditions around him made him to grow with social consciousness. After his schooling he did a polytechnic course to get a Chemical Engineering Diploma. After working for two years in petroleum refining he got his Chemical Engineering graduation from Institution of Chemical Engineers, Calcutta. From the age of 18, he started working for finding solutions for the social menaces he faced in his village. He started his social career by running a tuition centre in his village to coach the village children for better education. He promoted one Youth Educational Society to give coaching for the students from Kuthambakkam and surrounding villages. Apart from supporting the students he started working for saving the women in his village from men beating. He was able to see the developments and was seeing the progress. In the 1996 Panchayat elections he contested and became the President of the Kuthambakkam village panchayat. He tried to make Kuthambakkam as a role model for the village panchayats. He motivated the members of the village panchayat to work for the total development of Kuthambakkam panchayat. With the participation of the Grama Shaba, Kuthambakkam panchayat prepared the five year plan for the term 1996 to 2001.

In 2001 October R.Elango was reelected as President of Kuthambakkam Panchayat. This term he planned to provide safe housing to all the poor families who were living in huts by generations. He had established a registered charitable trust called Trust for Village Self Governance (TVSG) to support the village panchayat in mobilizing resources other than Government grants. The other primary objective of the trust was to network the outstanding panchayat leaders and to create a common platform to share the good practices among them. In 2001, he was given Ashoka Fellowship for innovative leadership. He was invited to UK to study the local governments. He also visited Germany to study the solid waste management. He was invited to USA to study the developmental programs in 2002. After returning from USA, the hut less program was started to construct houses for the poor. Through TVSG he had mobilized recourses and completed the housing program. Now every couple in Kuthambakkam is living in a safe house. The production of building materials through innovative methods created employment opportunities for many families.

  Ekta Kothari
Dr. Chithra Madhavan    

Author and Research Scholar in ancient history and Archeology

Dr.Chithra Madhavan completed her M.A. and M.Phil. from the Department of Indian History, University of Madras and her Ph.D from the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore. She was awarded the Junior Fellowship in Archaeology by the Department of Culture, Government of India from 2001-2003 for her post-doctoral research. She has authored four books `History and Culture of Tamil Nadu’ in two volumes and `Vishnu Temples of South India’- Volumes I and II. Chithra has co-edited a book `South India Heritage-An Introduction’ containing approximately 500 articles on various aspects of the heritage and culture of South India. `Vishnu Temples of South India’- Volumes III’ is to be published shortly.

Chithra has contributed more than a hundred articles on temple architecture and allied subjects to the Encyclopedia of Hinduism, a few volumes of which have been recently published. She is a guest lecturer in reputed institutions like Kalakshetra and DakshinaChitra. She writes to various magazines and other publications and frequently delivers lectures on temple studies at various places in Chennai and other cities in India. Her special area of interest is conducting heritage walks for students and also power-point presentations on temple architecture for school children. Chithra is currently working on another post-doctoral dissertation with a Fellowship from the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi.

  Ekta Kothari
Dr.Vasanthi Vasudev    

Dean and Director of APL Global School

Dr Vasanthi Vasudev is the Founder Director Osmosys Learning Products and Services and Dean and Director of APL Global School, Chennai. She provides training consultancy and is an executive consultant at Everonn Education Ltd and has authored more than 35 books with Pearson Longman. An educationist of long standing repute, she is well known in the field for her innovative approach and organization building skills & experience. Her 25 years of experience covers areas including new generation pedagogies, academic quality systems and technology-based learning.

She founded Osmosys Learning Products and Services in 2004 and the company has goen on to work with over 75 schools, training more than 5000 teachers. As chief mentor of Winfinity World Schools, she has taken on the responsibility for the design and development of the company's international schools all over the country. She is also the head of Everonn's teacher training initiative. Her ELT series, IMAGES is a Market Leader and front runner and is very popular in prestigious schools across the country. Dr Vasanthi's column on whole brain development 'Left and Right' is a regular column for Education Times, Chennai. Apart from her established reputation in the field of education, she also has an excellent academic record, has been conferred the best Principal award for her stint in Sivaswami Kalalaya and has also won Chennai level bridge tournaments.

  Ekta Kothari
Raghavendra Satish Peri    

Service Coordinator at IBM

Raghav Satish is currently an employee of IBM, working as a Service Coordinator in the department of Information Technology Delivery and Global Delivery (ITDGD). Dare to dream and Care to achieve is his motto. Satish was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder in his childhood which eventually caused visual impairment. Raghava is a SEO and Social Media Marketing consultant. He has profound knowledge on online marketing, interactive marketing and how to drive traffic, sales and business through both online and offline channels. He is a Blogger, Marketing Strategist for Small and Medium Businesses, Life coaching and Mindset Coaching Trainer.

Satish has been a speaker at the ‘India Search Summit 2010’ organized by Knowledge Foundation where he shared his insights on effective Content creation techniques. He will be addressing Click Asia Summit 2011 at Mumbai. He is Co-founder and key member of the community ‘Online Marketing Enthusiasts’.

  Ekta Kothari
Dr. J.S.Rajkumar    

Chairman of Lifeline Group of Hospitals

Dr. J.S. Rajkumar is the Chairman of Lifeline Group of Hospitals founded by him in 1997 and is one of the outstanding laparoscopic surgeons in India. He graduated from Madras Medical College, India with 32 gold medals and has four F.R.C.S. to his credit. He is one of the International examiners for the Royal College of Surgeons , Edinburgh.

Has been trained in the United Kingdom under senior surgeons on advanced general surgery and hepato-biliary and pancreatic surgeries, has conducted one of the largest series for Laparoscopic fundoplication and Laparoscopic Hernia surgeries in the country and has performed highest number of bariatric surgeries in South India. He was responsible for the hospital being the pioneer in stem cell therapy in India. Founded Dr. Rajarathnam Medical and Educational Foundation Trust in 1997 and continues to provide free service to hundreds of HIV and cancer patients. Dr. Rajkumar is a visiting professor in many colleges and has authored several books and also recipient of several awards for his vocational excellence from various organizations. He is a Guitarist, vocalist, orator, poet and voracious reader with a passion for art.

  Ekta Kothari
Mohammed Sadique    

Founder of Rich India Forum

MOHAMMED Sadique is the founder of rich India forum. He is an engineer, who found his calling in the field of business. He enjoys a well established business status in India and abroad mainly the Middle East, and has travelled extensively. He resides in Bangalore and is the chairman for pelecan group.

Mr. Sadique in his seminars advocates a brilliant technology to break old thinking patterns that leaves one resigned when they want to do ‘something new’. He coaches a new way of ‘being’ where one is inspired to go beyond their limits and creating a transformed world, where wealth creation is a joyful experience.

The seminar is 100 percent result oriented. We are proud to announce the Rich India movement has been attended by more than 5,000 people and many have turned entrepreneurs including people who enjoyed blue chip jobs. For testimonials please refer to www.richindiaforum.com

Madhan Karky    

Madhan Karky Vairamuthu is a poet, teacher, lyricist, tamil software engineer and film dialogue writer. Madhan Karky was appointed as an academic tutor in the School of Information and Technology. In 2006 & 2007 he was selected as the Best Tutor in the University by students & the department. His passion towards languages made him join a Mandarin Chinese program in the University. He completed three levels with high proficiency. He worked as a software engineer for a Ministry of Information Technology funded Tamil computing project. He stepped into the Tamil film industry with the 2009 release Kanden Kadhalai in which he penned the lyrics for a song titled Ododi Poren. His work in the 2010 blockbuster and Tamil superstar Rajinikanth starrer Enthiran that shot him to fame. He completed an UG in computer engineering at Anna University in 2001. He further completed post-graduate studies in Information Technology at the University of Queensland in 2004, where he also worked as an assistant professor. He is currently working as an assistant professor in Anna University. Karky's vision is to do a lot in Tamil computing. Karky is passionate in his mission.

In the 2010 release, Enthiran he penned the lyrics for the song Irumbile oru Irudhaiyam and received rave reviews for his work. Being a person from a technical background, he also worked as one of the dialogue-writers for the movie which was basically set agaiinst a scientific backdrop. His latest works include the songs in the soon to be released movies Engeyum Kaadhal and Ko.

He has published numerous papers on Sensor Networks & Language Computing. He is a dynamic teacher and aims at inculcating originality in research among his students. Along with his wife Nandini, Madhan co-founded Mellinam Education, a company that offers Education related products and services to Tamils around the world. He authored Mellinam’s first project iPaatti 1.0, a collection of songs for the information era Tamil children.

Amrendra Kumar    

Founder CleanCredit, Research Scholar in Public Policy, IIMB

Amrendra is the founder and missionary in chief at CleanCredit, a startup with the mission “to make India as Clean as Switzerland in one year”. He is a great believer in the power of markets in solving the challenges facing the society. He believes if something is not working it is most likely due to the failure or non-existence of markets. Most of the critical problems facing humanity like poverty, education, sustainability etc. can be solved in a very short time if one could design an appropriate market. It is in this spirit that he has started CleanCredit; an incentive based waste management system. The piloting of this system inside the IIMB campus has worked well. His mission now is to demonstrate it at larger scales and ultimately create a policy change.

Amrendra is currently a Research Scholar in Public Policy at IIM Bangalore. The focus of his research is on Policy Design, particularly in the areas of Education, Poverty, Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. He believes that his responsibility as a researcher does not end with thinking up theories, but also to get it implemented. Prior to IIMB, he has obtained Masters Degree in Physics and Biology from IIT Kanpur.

He considers himself to be an idealist-adventurer, albeit like the character of Don Quixote; charging at giant monsters which others say are windmills. On one such (mis)adventure he has cycled solo from Kanpur to Kanyakumari for a (un)worthy cause.

Divya Prabhakar    

Divya Prabhakar is completing her 12th grade in the American International School here in Chennai and will be completing her IB high school program here before considering college education in the US. She is a US Citizen and has done 10 years of schooling in United States before moving to India in 2006. She is the Secretary General, CheMUN, Chennai Model United Nations Conference (400 attendees from over 50 schools from several countries). Divya is playing on the school tennis team (recently she won the singles at the South Asian International School championships). She is also key representative from her school in the Model United Nations (MUN) and she won an award for best delegate at the recent international MUN summit in St. Petersburgh, Russia. Divya is also a key organizer of social events as part of the student council and Volunteer for a local low income children’s educational program. Divya has done field research on loan recipients with Equitas, a leading microfinance company and is completing an International Baccalaureate research paper on “Variance of Economic Mobility Effects on Microfinance Loan Recipients”. Divya has managed as the Secretary General (CEO equivalent) the 3-day 2010 CheMUN International Conference (Chennai Model United Nations Conference), attended by over 400 students from over 50 schools from several countries.

Balaji Sampath    

Founder, AID India

Balaji Sampath is an Electronics and Communications Engineer from IIT Madras and went on to do his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, USA. He is the Founder Director of AID INDIA, a non-profit organization working on Education and Rural Development. As a pedagogy and content leader in the field of school education, he has been instrumental in building up a team of 800 working in 2000 villages in 8000 schools across 12 districts of Tamilnadu. Many schools, NGOs, Govt. agencies and UNICEF use his structured model to improve teaching methods. As Founder Trustee of Eureka Books, he is actively involved in publishing high quality, low cost books and kits for rural children.

He is the Program Director and Managing Committee Member of Pratham, a well-known education network, in Tamilnadu. Balaji is also a Science Communicator and Educator who creates science experiment demonstrations for a popular TV network and has also authored several books that explain difficult science concepts in simple and fun ways. He has been a consultant for various organizations including TN State Education Department for their Reading Improvement Program, UNICEF to name a few. Mr. Sampath is also a recipient of several awards including Ashoka Fellowship for innovative work on Science Education, MIT Indus Technovator’s Award for Village Libraries and Science Education and Rotary International’s Distinguished Service Award.


TEDxYouth@Chennai 2012 Speakers


TEDxYouth@Chennai 2011 Speakers