One of the best things about pursuing an MBA is the constant & numerous sources of inspiration you get to experience during the program. One such event happened on Aug 10th, when Indian School of Business (ISB) had the privilege of hosting ‘Cynthia Hellen’ in Mohali Campus.
Cynthia Hellen is a Peruvian-American, entrepreneur, writer-producer-director, technologist, speaker and martial artist. She is the Founder and CEO of SMPLCT Lab (pronounced “simplicity lab”) a socially conscious lab based in New York, that creates sustainable products, services and experiences for people and the planet. (cited from her Linkedin Profile).
Cynthia began her session by sharing her journey from being born into a poor family in Peru to become the instrument of change & impact that she is now. At the age of 21, she decided to give up her comfortable life in the USA to go and work in Peru. Despite all the resistance that she faced from her family in the USA, she still went ahead and spent time in various regions of the country to understand the problems in that region. She made an impact by connecting the recycling centre that manufactured plastic wood at Pisco Peru with an engineering college, to help them with design, marketing & funding for 2 years.
Over the years, Cynthia has initiated many projects to improve lives, build communities and protect the environment, such as Girls Who Rock, Young Women Social Entrepreneurs, SMPLCT LAB, Innovating Women & Winning Women Series. (For more details on these projects, refer to http://www.cynthiahellen.com/projects). She spoke about Design thinking, social impact investing and the ever-increasing need for social entrepreneurs.
Cynthia spoke about gender sensitization & various stereotypes that are still present in our society. She stressed the importance of removing all biases that force us to put tags for gender. She raised questions such as “Why do you associate ‘pretty’ with a woman and ‘mechanic’ with a man”, “why can’t men be ‘pretty’, & why can’t a woman wear makeup and work as a mechanic at the same time”.
I walked into the room uninspired, lost in the noise of assignments, exams, grades and other non-relevant things, but I walked out a changed person and I thank Cynthia for bringing the enormous power of inspiration to our campus.