Inspirom Series (Inspirom = Inspiring Role Models)

LEAD Prayana 2015 Role Models and Speakers

Dr. Sree Sree Sree Shivakumara Swamiji (Founder of the Sree Siddaganga Education Society, Tumkur)

He is the head of Sree Siddaganga Math in Tumkur District and founder of the Sree Siddaganga Education Society. He has established educational institutions which offer several courses in traditional learning of Sanskrit as well as modern science and technology. He has immensely served humanity and in recognition has been conferred with an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by Karnataka University in 1965. He continues his humanitarian work even at the age of 107 and is known as "Nadedaduva Devaru" (Walking God) in Karnataka.

Dr.  Narayan Reddy (Organic Farmer)

Dr. Narayan Reddy has been a role model for many organic farmers for more than two decades. He is enthusiastic to innovate, experiment, learn and share.  As a farmer, he surpassed national record crop yields but soon realized the ill effects of chemical farming and switched over to organic farming.  His farm is a model for several alternatives, including SRI paddy cultivation, and his methods have been studied by international dignitaries as well as reputed scientists.  Dr. Reddy travels widely across the country, interacting with thousands of farmers and NGOs and has also been a special invitee for national and international seminars and policy discussions. 

Mr. Ramji Raghavan (Founder and Chairman, Agastya Foundation)     
Ramji Raghavanis the Founder and Chairman of Agastya International Foundation.It was founded in 1999, Agastya’s stated vision is to build a creative India of “thinkers, solution-seekers, and creators” that are “humane, anchored and connected” by making practical, hands-on science education accessible to rural government schools. Agastya has so far lived up to its vision as it currently runs the largest hands-on science program in the world.  Ramji is also a member of the Karnataka State Innovation Council.  He is a recognized public speaker and has spoken at the Education World Forum, the annual INK Conference, the Clinton Global Initiative, Harvard India Conference, and the MIT Media Lab.  

Mr. Rajinish Menon (Director, Microsoft Ventures)  
Rajinish is the Director of Mictosoft Ventures. He is a business leader with demonstrated ability to tackle tough business and management challenges. He previously worked at SAP Consultancy and Reliance Energy Limited. In his earlier stints donning various hats, he has always emphasized to put process and systems that promotes institutionalization of the division/enterprise. He has crafted visible growth strategies, based on strong fundamentals and people management skills. He attributes his successes to the wonderful team he had the privilege of leading and which he has nurtured well with a good sense of managing by proper direction setting and giving them appropriate freedom to leverage their core strengths. His core belief is best summarized by the adage – “Walk together and one will walk a long way”.

Dr.  D. Veerendra Heggade (Dharmadhikari, Dharmasthala)

As the Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala, Dr. D Veerendra Heggade is a leader, philanthropist, educator, social reformer, and an emissary of art and culture.  Dr. Heggade is the Director of the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI).  He is also a member of the National Foundation for Communal Harmony, Delhi; Shree Amarnathji Shrine Board, Jammu and Kashmir Advisory Board of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development; and Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams Development Advisory Council.  He has undertaken project programs for the economic, social, and moral uplifting of poor agricultural laborers, artisans, and others.   

Dr. Vinod Bhat (Pro-Vice Chancellor,  Manipal University) 
Dr. Hattangadi Vinod Bhat spearheads the diversification of the Manipal University course offering- international collaborations and research. He has been responsible for the spectacular growth in external research funding for the Manipal University; increasing the funds from less than 1 crore per year to more than 20 crores a year in seven years. Earlier, he was the recipient of the Fogarty International Center Fellowship at the Summer Institute, University of Alabama USA, and was conferred the FRCP from Glasgow University in 2008. In 2004, Dr Bhat was appointed Director Planning, Manipal University. In 2005, he was appointed as Registrar and in 2010, he was appointed as the Pro Vice Chancellor of Manipal University. Today, he is the face of the university.

Dr.  Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande (Chairman,  Sparta Group LLC)  
Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande is the Chairman of Sparta Group LLC, A123 Systems (AONE), Sycamore Networks (SCMR), Tejas Networks, Sandstone Capital and HiveFire. He was also a founding investor in Airvana, Cimaron, Webdialogs and Relicore. Dr. Deshpande is a member of the MIT Corporation and his generous donations have made possible MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. Dr. Deshpande is the Co-founder and  Trustee of the Deshpande Foundation. He and his wife are involved in several non-profit initiatives that include support for MIT, IIT, TiE, Akshaya Patra Foundation, Public Health Foundation of India and the Social Entrepreneurship Sandbox in India.

Mr.  Raju Reddy (Founder and CEO, Sierra Atlantic)  
Raju Reddy is the Founder and CEO of Sierra Atlantic, an IT services company headquartered in California, US.  Under Raju’s leadership, Sierra Atlantic grew to be a best-in-class global services company over a period of 17 years and was consistently ranked amongst the best-managed companies.  Raju is actively engaged in the community and serves in leadership roles in various non-profits.  He is currently on the Board of the India Community Center in Milpitas, California, and is the Chairman of BITSAA Intl, the alumni body of India’s #1 private university, BITS Pilani. Prior to this, he served as a member of the Board of Trustees for Puente, a Wharton School non-profit program which helps underprivileged communities worldwide gain access to technology.  He also co-founded SIPA (Silicon Valley Indian Professional Association) in 1987 and was instrumental in starting the TiE Chapter in Hyderabad. 

Mr. Phanindra Sama (Co-founder and CEO,

Phanindra Sama is Co-Founder & CEO of, India’s first and largest bus ticketing company.  Founded in Aug. 2006, redbus today has operations across 22 states and offers services for 19,000+ routes and has built relationship with about 700+ bus operators and 40,000+ travel agents. redbus was nominated by Forbes as one of the top five startups in 2010. redbus is ranked #1 amongst the fastest growing companies in India in a survey conducted by the All World Network. Phanindra is ranked third among India’s “Most Promising Entrepreneurs” by Business World. He was also chosen as a Global Shaper in the 2011 World Economic Forum. 

 Mr. Suhas Gopinath (Founder, CEO, and Chairman, Globals, Inc)     
At a young age of 25, Suhas is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of Globals Inc., a multi-million dollar software company that maintains a presence in the US and several European countries.  He was 16 when he incorporated his company and launched his website. One thing that sets his company apart from other Indian software companies, and probably one of the key reasons for the company’s success, is that the company focuses on both English and non-English speaking countries. Suhas plans to get his company listed by 2015 and has goals to start expanding into African countries. 

Mr.  Vivek Pawar (Founder and CEO, Sankalp Semiconductor)  
Vivek Pawar is the CEO and Founder of Sankalp Semiconductor Pvt. Ltd. Vivek started Sankalp Semiconductor with his leadership team in October of 2005.  He brings in 20 years of industry experience in varied functions of general management, operations, program management, customer relations and rich experience in mixed-signal and analog product design, system on chip (SoC) development, including firmware development. Prior to Sankalp Semiconductor, Vivek worked as Program Manager at Texas Instruments Inc. (Houston, USA) from 2003-2005 and as General Manager for Broadband Silicon Technology Center in Texas Instruments India, Bangalore from 2000-2003.  He was also part of the TI India Management Team.  

Mr.  Kailash Satyarthi (Founder of Bachanpan Bacahao Andolan)  
He is an Indian children's rights advocate and an activist against child labor. He has founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (lit. Save the Childhood Movement) and has acted to protect the rights of more than 83,000 children from 144 countries. In 1980, he gave up his career as a teacher and became secretary general for the Bonded Labor Liberation Front. He has also been involved with the Global March Against Child Labor and its international advocacy body, the International Center on Child Labor and Education (ICCLE). He has also served as the President of the Global Campaign for Education, from its inception in 1999 to 2011.He has been awarded with 2014 Noble Peace Prize.

Mr.  Anshu Gupta (Founder, Director GOONJ) 
He is popularly known as the Clothing Man, he has done his Mass communications and masters in Economics. He left his corporate job in 1998 and started as a freelance journalist and founded GOONJ with a mission to make clothing a matter of concern and to bring it among the list of subjects for the development sector. An Ashoka Fellow and the Global Ambassador of Ashoka, Anshu is creating a mass movement for recycling and reusing of tones of waste material by channelizing it from the cities to the villages, as a resource for rural development.      

Mr. Gautam Ostwal ‎ (Founder, CEO at Elegant Drugs Pvt Ltd)

He is a pharmaceutical manufacturer and exporter. He also works in other business domains, including pharmaceutical equipment, medicines distribution, ground nut export, and the cotton and cotton seeds business. Gautaum is Chairman of Area AGM, Area X, for which 191 people were taken to Sri Lanka (this is probably the first time in global Round Table International history that AGM happened abroad). Gautam is an active community member: he has worked as a District Rotaract reprepresentative, as the Vice President of the North Karnataka Drugs & Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association, as Rotary President of the prestigious Rotary Club of Hubli Midtown, and a life member of Prabhu Welfare Service. Gautam has built 132 classrooms, 30 toilet blocks, and 30 kitchenettes, at a total cost of approximately 3 crores.

Mrs.  Jayashree Desphande (Co-founder, Deshpande Foundation)

Jayashree Deshpande is the Treasurer of Sparta Group LLC, and a founder of the Deshpande Foundation. The Deshpande Foundation fosters social entrepreneurship by supporting a variety of non-profit organizations in India working in the areas of health, education, microcredit and agriculture. Jaishree and her husband supported the founding of The Deshpande Center at the MIT School of Engineering in 2002 to increase the impact of MIT technologies in the marketplace. She currently serves as a Trustee for the Museum of Science and is involved with HESTIA Fund – a fund established to support quality after school programming for low-income children. Jaishree Deshpande worked for the Indian Space Research Organization in Bangalore, India until 1980 before moving to Canada. She worked for several Massachusetts companies and taught courses in computer science. She received a Master of Science in Physics in 1975 from the Indian Institute of Technologies (IIT), Madras, India. She also received a Master in Computer Science in 1989 from Boston University.

Mr. Sasisekar Krish(Founder,  nanoPix)

Sasisekar Krish is the founder of nanoPix. He is an innovator and entrepreneur working in the areas of image processing based system automation.
He has a Masters degree in Controls and Instrumentation from IITM with specialization in Microelectronics. He is also PhD Alumnus of IISc, Bangalore working on VLSI algorithms. He has many national level publications in image processing and related field. He was executive director of TiE for 6 months. He is also the President (Elect) of RCS Online – a VLSI education society which has contributed to Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA)’s education initiatives.
Sasisekar has been working for several years and is developing 5 product lines every year. His long term goal is to create “Aashapuri – The City of Hope”, which is the universal city for education, innovation and enlightenment.

Mr. V. Krishna Reddy (Co-Founder, Care Hospitals)       
Dr. N. Krishna Reddy has graduated from Osmania Medical College in 1984 with honors. He completed his MD in Internal Medicine from the prestigious Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh in 1987. He did his fellowship in Cardiology leading to DM from GB Pant Hospital, Delhi University, and New Delhi. He co-founded the Care Hospitals in 1997, which has grown rapidly from 100-bed strength, single hospital, single specialty entity to more than 1500-bed strength, 12-hospitals, 6-states, and multispecialty within a short span of 10 years. He is currently Managing Director, Andhra Cardiology Associates (ACA); Director & CEO at Care Hospitals; Member, Board of Directors, Care Foundation, and Chairman, Relisys Medical Devices, which has created a cost-effective end-to-end technology platform for Stents and Polymer-based Catheters. He is on the Board in the capacity of Director in many prestigious companies. His key areas of interest are strategic planning, corporate and clinical governance systems, and delivery models aimed at providing high quality medical care at affordable costs and make them accessible.

Mr.  Mayur Patnala (Co-founder,  Nirmaan Org.)   

Mayur Patnala is a Social Worker and is passionate about Social Innovation. He is Co-founder & Governing Board Member of Nirmaan Organization. It started in Pilani in 2005 which works in government schools, career counseling, livelihoods etc., with 700+ volunteers from BITS, Pilani, Goa and Hyderbad campuses along with 3 corporate chapters, It has impacted over 1 lakh lives. 

Mr. Sikandar Meeranayak (Founder of Sankalp Rural Devel­opment Society) 

Mr. Sikandar Meeranayak, an entrepreneur in the field of modern-day rainwater harvesting. He works throughout India with the main office located in the city of Hubli Kar­nataka. He works to bring awareness about rainwater con­servation practices and protection and recycling of wa­ter is essential. He has grown up in Kotamuchagi, Gadag. While growing up he noticed the devastating impacts of water scarcity on farmer’s lives. Hence, later a fellowship at Deshpande Foundation made him a water activist.

Dr. H. R. Nagendra (Chancellor of SVYASA Yoga University)

He has been the guiding force behind the VYASA movement. Dr. H R Nagendra holds PhD in Mechanical Engineering from IISc, Bangalore. After receiving his doctorate in 1968, he served as faculty of IISc in Department of Mechanical En­gineering. He then went to Canada as Post Doctoral Re­search Fellow in the University of British Columbia, Canada in 1970. From 2000 to the present, he has been serving as President, Swami Vivekananda Yoga AnusandhanaSamstha­na, Bangalore and from 2002 to present, he serves as the Vice Chancellor of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana ­Samsthana, the Yoga University in Bangalore. He has au­thored and coauthored 35 books on Yoga.

Mrs.  Shravani (Co-founder of Safe Hands)

Mrs. Shravani along with Shakuntala during fellowship studies at the Deshpande Center for Entrepreneurship have founded Safe Hands 24x7. It is a innovative business which has grown from a theory of helping impoverished community members and economically dependent women help them­selves, to a growing company making it easy for residents and companies alike to access quality housekeeping and se­curity services. She has been one of the TEDx speakers in Pune on “Social and Economic empowerment of Indian wom­an” .She has also been one of the TEDx speakers in Pune on “Social and Economic empowerment of Indian woman”. She has been awarded as “Amazing Indian” in Times now TV show.

Dr. H. Maheshappa (Vice Chancellor, VTU)   

He holds the degree of BE (Mechanical), ME (Machine Design), PhD, FIE, FIV, FISME, FWAPS, MISTE is the Vice Chancellor, Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Belgaum. An academician with 27+ years of experience in Teaching & Research, Dr. Maheshappa has earlier worked as Principal, Cambridge Institute of Technology, Bengal­uru. He has also served in various responsible positions (academic / administrative) at University. Dr. Maheshappa is responsible for introducing many reformations in the University including Digital Evaluation, employment for rural Engineering College students, starting of Incubation Center in the University to encourage students to become entrepreneurs and so on. He has also published number of Research papers and won various Awards / Honors.   
Mr.  Dil Raju (Film Producer and Distributor):

He is one of the most successful Telugu film producers. He produces his films along with his two partners, cousin Sireesh and friend Lakshman, under Sri Venkateswara Cre­ations. He has produced successful films such as Dil, Arya, Bhadra, Bommarillu, Parugu,Kotha Bangaru Lokam,Maro Charitra,Brindavanam, Mr. Perfect, and Oh My Friend. His latest releases are Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu, Ramayya Vasthavayya, and Yevadu.

Mr. V. Narsimha Reddy (Founder of Ma Palle Charita­ble Trust)

Under his leadership, Narsingapally has become a model village. To achieve this he established “Ma Palle Charita­ble Trust” in 2007. He started a water scheme with the contribution of villagers to supply pure drinking water to each household. Later, he also started a project of ‘Oxy­gen Donation’ where each household of the village plants 4 to 5 saplings every year and takes care of them. He is man behind ‘Save Democracy’ and other development projects of Narsingapally.