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The Inspiring and Successful Leadership Awards (ISLA), first given out in 2022, are another milestone in Pragati Leadership’s journey of over 30 years towards inculcating the wholesome values of Purpose, People, Planet, and Profit into corporate leadership thinking in India. These awards represent an authentic and distinguished effort to recognize hallmark leadership and involve a highly credible jury of industry stalwarts. The award winners comprise trailblazers and innovators with a tremendous capacity for propelling teams and firms to realize new paradigms of success in business and beyond. 

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To select the recipients of the 2023 ISLA Awards, we invited Dr. Niloufer Aga (Facilitator, Consultant, and Coach, Pragati Leadership); Ninad Karpe (Founder and Partner at 100X.VC); Pradeep Mallick (Chairman, The Listening Post, and Former MD, Wartsila India); and Dr. Apoorva Palkar (Vice Chancellor, Maharashtra State Skills University). 

Thanking the jury for choosing him for the Startup Mentor award, Mr. Jitendra Tanna emphasized the two words (in the award title) – inspiring and successful through two small stories. He first mused how one gets inspiration and whether it comes from outside or within, beginning with an anecdote about many engineers concluding through research that the bumblebee’s body size and wing size were not conducive to flying, but it flew. He said none of those engineers could go and tell the bumblebee that it couldn’t fly – that perhaps it would fall the day it found out. From this, he realized one of the key leadership characteristics: when leaders talk to their teams, they should never say no.

He added that starting from childhood, we all grow up hearing no – “don’t do this…don’t touch this. This is expensive. This will fall down.” Constantly hearing this tires us out. He concluded this first story by requesting his fellow leaders to stop saying no. Coming to the second word, successful, he preferred to define success as a journey but noted that some may talk about “a success” as a milestone. In his view, the day that journey stops, one had better die. He exhorted continuing to be successful at every instance instead of seeing success as a goal or considering it as an exit. The endgame, Mr. Tanna suggested, should be how we can become multiply successful and by inspiring others, how to help others become as successful. 

Mr. Jitendra Tanna co-founded Eternus Solutions and oversaw its growth to a 250-professional firm catering to clients in the United States and the Middle East. Later, as CEO of Infobeans Cloudtech, he turned the division into a key contributor to Infobeans’s revenues. Beyond these professional roles, he provides critical guidance to up-and-coming leadership candidates through his mentorship, angel investment, and advisory efforts at TiE Pune and Moneta-Ventures USA. Through his empathetic presence and unwaveringly respectful attitude, Mr. Tanna continues to offer everyone around him a stellar example of a leader, with budding entrepreneurs gaining the most from his committed support and stewardship.