New technology, trends, and problems are continually evolving, changing the face of global business. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the industry, disrupting supply chains, speeding up digital transformation, and posing new challenges for companies to overcome. Despite these challenges, numerous industries have evolved and adjusted, discovering fresh opportunities for innovation and growth. Companies have adopted new technology and tools to stay competitive and satisfy shifting client demands, which has been a key trend across industries. There is an increasing focus on sustainability, and environmental responsibility, with many companies adopting green practises and developing sustainable products and services.
With many consumers choosing to shop online and businesses investing in online sales channels, e-commerce has continued to gain popularity. Due to the pandemic, several businesses have experienced delays and disruptions in their supply chains, highlighting the vulnerability of global supply systems. Cybersecurity has been a major worry as organizations rely more and more on technology and data, and many businesses have invested in new security measures to safeguard their data and systems. The President and General Partner at Nanban ESG Solutions, Preetha Prabhakar, believes that “Overall, the current industry scenario is complex and rapidly evolving, with new trends and challenges emerging all the time. To succeed in this landscape, companies need to be agile, adaptable, and willing to embrace new technologies and approaches.”
Meet The Multi-Faceted Leader
Preetha is a social entrepreneur, innovator, sustainability & governance enthusiast, and women empowerment leader passionate about making a positive social impact. She is also the CEO and Founder of SELWII, a for-profit company dedicated to empowering underprivileged women worldwide. Along with this, the passionate leader is on the Board of Directors of Tamil Women International (TWI) (a 501c3) to support Tamil Women Entrepreneurs worldwide. A sustainability and corporate responsibility practitioner with a track record of adapting to new industries and integrating sustainability into business strategy. She is an executive serving both for-profit and non-profit organizations.
Preetha brings over 23 years of business acumen, management, technology, finance, ESG, and more. She has worked in the insurance, finance, retail, healthcare, environmental remediation, and private equity fund (s) industries. She and her team are in charge of developing innovative strategic plans and implementing effective sustainability programs.
Manivannan, one of Nanban’s co-founders, is a good friend of Preetha, and he introduced her to Nanban. She began working with Nanban as a volunteer to assist with the online sessions when they first began offering free training sessions during COVID. She loved the mission to help others unconditionally. The other co-founder, Sakthivel, hails from an Indian farming family and is also a farmer. He always wanted to give back to the farming community and initiated a project at Nanban. There was a great deal of turmoil in India, where farmers were killing themselves because they couldn’t repay the loans they took to buy fertilizer and pesticides.
Sakthivel believed that returning to a natural agricultural method without using pesticides or fertilizers was the only way for farmers to live honorably. The passionate leader felt that this was her calling and the best way to give back to the community when it was first brought up to her. Then, she left her corporate career of 22 years and joined a start-up that was less than one year old to lead a non-profit project on farming. Many criticized her for making such a risky decision because she was the company’s first employee. But Preetha thinks it has paid off greatly. Without risks come no rewards.
Her greatest passion as an executive is advocating Mother Earth’s conservation, revival, and replenishment. She leads Nanban’s non-profit flagship project, “Mothers for Mother Nature,” which is focused on helping farmers around the world lead dignified lives by leading the transition to natural ways of farming free of chemicals and pesticides and by helping people from all walks of life access healthier food and saves and protect our precious Mother Earth. This project is being carried out in the USA, Peru, and India.
Through its foundation arm, Nanban is actively sponsoring 36 philanthropic projects, ranging from helping farmers to women empowerment, education, and healthcare. Preetha believes Nanban must be one of the few companies in the world that started the non-profit arm first to provide free training and then went on to start its profit arm.
As Nanban’s ESG leader, Preetha focuses on enhancing the financial and environmental performance of large, complex portfolios with proven utility cost reduction investments, benchmarking, and effective internal and external communications. The inclusive leader strives to collaborate with all levels, from executives to those on the frontlines across multidisciplinary teams, to generate tangible results. She enjoys mentoring and empowering team members, strengthening their skill sets, and providing meaning to their work.
Empowering Friends, Family, And Customers With Financial Services
In the traditional Indian language Tamil, the word “NANBAN” literally translates to “friend.” True to its meaning, Nanban was established with the sole vision of helping the community at large attain financial freedom and supporting the underprivileged through socially relevant initiatives. When Gopala Krishnan, the company’s visionary founder, and CEO (also known as “GK”), returned to the United States in 2018 following a fruitful ex-pat assignment in India, Nanban was formed.
Preetha shares, “Having created a trading system granting him financial freedom, “GK” was determined to give back to society in the best way he knew – teaching others how to produce consistent cash flow through a repeatable and straightforward system (what we now refer to as “GK” Strategies). As word spread and the strategies’ popularity grew, he conducted free formal training sessions twice a year. During one of these sessions, he met Mani and Sakthi – Nanban’s two other founders. Mani and Sakthi quickly saw the power of GK’s strategies and started conducting back testing independently. Utilizing their programming knowledge, they built an automated back-testing environment to prove the program’s longevity. The results convinced Mani and Sakthi to recommend this training to all their friends.”
The COVID-19 pandemic imposed restrictions; therefore, “GK” chose to hold the subsequent training online. Utilizing an online platform for the training allowed for a larger crowd than the in-person meetings, which were previously held at GK’s house. Quickly realizing the power of the internet and the system, Mani and Sakthi approached GK to expand the training to a larger audience. The first round of online training sessions was a great success, and it didn’t take long before other people expressed interest in using GK’s money management techniques.
“Taking the training to the next level and having a platform for other charitable projects – the Trio launched Nanban Foundation in November 2019. Nanban Foundation’s sole vision is to help anyone attain financial freedom and support the underprivileged through socially relevant initiatives.” shares Preetha.
She further adds, “Nanban Investments was born in February 2020, with the objective that the company would donate portions of the profits to charitable projects. Since then, verticals like Real Estate and Venture Capital are now part of the parent company, Nanban Enterprise, which continues to grow and popularity.”
Nanban started with the sole mission of empowering friends, family, and customers with services so that they can achieve financial freedom. Nanban Group of Companies accomplishes this goal by offering four distinct services: Venture Capital, Chola Development, Nanban Entertainment, and Nanban ESG.
“To me, diversity refers to the range of differences amongst people, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, and religion,” says Preetha. Regardless of differences, equality means treating everyone fairly and providing them with equal opportunities. Creating an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and supported so they can be themselves at work is referred to as inclusion.
The seasoned leader seeks to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion by giving all employees the same opportunities. At Nanban, they believe that mindset is more significant than skillset. Skills can always be taught if they have the correct attitude and mindset to learn and grow in a thriving environment. “I believe It’s important to recognize that work is ongoing and requires a commitment to continuous improvement and learning,” Preetha proudly asserts.
Facing Challenges Head-on
Women confront numerous issues in the corporate world today, the most common of which are:
- Gender bias and discrimination.
- Unequal pay and opportunity.
- A lack of work-life balance.
- A lack of support and mentorship.
- Under-representation in leadership.
Although there is much more knowledge nowadays to help women deal with these issues in the office, women still face these obstacles in the corporate world. Preetha believes it is vital to educate and raise awareness, create a supportive work environment, and provide mentorship and sponsorship. She also states that companies must address the pay and opportunity gap by regularly performing pay audits to find and close any pay gaps and ensure that women have equal access to career progression opportunities.
Promote women for leadership positions to increase the number of women in positions of authority. The dedication of individuals and organizations to acknowledge and address the issues faced by women in the corporate world is ultimately necessary to create a more fair and inclusive workplace.
The inclusive leader, Preetha is a part of multiple initiatives supporting Farmers, Green Earth, ESG, and Women’s Empowerment, and starting her entrepreneurial journey. She leads Nanban Mothers for Mother nature project, which started two years ago to help farmers around the world lead a dignified life, help the common man access healthier and nutritious food, and help revive and replenish Mother Earth.
“We are funding projects that are ESG focused with solutions that positively impact humanity. Nanban ESG solutions are part of the World Economic Forum New Champions Community, and we are looking to interact and partner with organizations with similar objectives. I am the president of TWI (Tamil Women International), a nonprofit organization by The Rise Global. As part of the women empowerment project, We are building an impact-driven crowdfunding platform, where we are focusing on value *creation, capacity building, women’s economic empowerment, and financial inclusion*. This initiative will focus on *women entrepreneurs and women-led enterprises* as the primary focus for investment,” Preetha proudly asserts.
My purpose in life is to inspire mankind to love and live consciously and be humbly resilient.
She is also starting her entrepreneurial journey with “SELWII,” an online platform built to empower all underprivileged daughters of Mother Earth. Selwii is a Tamil name that means happy, prosperous daughters. “My Dream Venture “Selwii” was conceptualized and created to empower women artisans worldwide by creating a larger platform and essential resources to exercise economic autonomy. This shop will feature ethically sourced, artisan-made products to empower them by helping distribute and supporting sustainable income opportunities. The platform is currently under development, and a soft launch is planned for the second week of March 2023,” explains Preetha.
Source of Motivation
When asked to share her source of motivation, Preeetha was quick to mention, “My source of motivation is multifaceted and deeply personal. It’s a combination of my spiritual beliefs, personal values, and my desire to make a positive impact on the world.”
Admirable Female Leaders
According to Preetha, many inspiring philanthropic women leaders have made significant contributions to the betterment of society. Her top three leaders who are a source of inspiration are:
- Mother Teresa
- Indra Nooyi
- Oprah Winfrey
According to Preetha, the most inspirational soul of the 20th century is Mother Teresa. She devoted her entire life to helping the most vulnerable people and giving them care and support. She spent the majority of her life working in India, where she established hospices, orphanages, and shelters for those with leprosy. She also formed the Missionaries of Charity, a religious order dedicated to helping the sick and the poor. Her humility and compassion towards others are contagious. She treated everyone with respect and kindness, regardless of their background or circumstances. “She saw each person as a child of God and believed that everyone deserved to be loved and cared for. Mother Teresa lived a life of selflessness and sacrifice, putting the needs of others before her own,” says Preetha.
Another inspiring figure is Indra Nooyi. She is from India, a woman, a minority, and an immigrant, and she has broken down barriers in the business world by rising to the top of her profession. She taught us to dream big and is an inspiration to many Indian women. She broke down barriers and served as CEO of the Fortune 100 business PepsiCo. She is a visionary leader who transformed the business by putting a strong emphasis on health and diversifying the company’s product offerings beyond soda. She is so inspiring because she has succeeded much through perseverance and hard effort and is a leader who places a high emphasis on principles like integrity, diversity, inclusivity, and philanthropy. Preetha opines, “I read her book, “My life in Full” and was very inspired that she took the courage to share her personal life with the world and was very candid about the obstacles she faced in various stages of her career. This book is a must-read for anyone who aspires to make it big in their professional life. My dream is to meet her in person someday.”
Oprah Winfrey experienced numerous hardships during her life, including poverty, abuse, and discrimination. However, she overcame difficulties with hard effort, perseverance, and a positive attitude and has become one of the world’s most successful and prominent people. Millions of people have been inspired by her to improve themselves and positively impact the world. Oprah Winfrey has contributed to society by using her riches and success. She has given millions of dollars to education, healthcare, and other charitable causes and has established a foundation to support these causes. Preetha firmly believes that Oprah Winfrey’s superpower is being authentic and vulnerable. She is not afraid to speak openly about her hardships and difficulties, which makes her more relatable and endearing. The versatile leader is so inspired because of her resilience and her dedication to empowering others. She dreams of meeting Oprah Winfrey in person someday.
Describe In One Word Or One Sentence
When asked to describe herself in one word or one sentence, Preetha replied, “My purpose in life is to inspire mankind to love and live consciously and be humbly resilient.”
Words of Wisdom
Being an inclusive leader, woman entrepreneur, and philanthropic women leader, Preetha gives advice, “Believe in yourself, Develop your skills, Build a network, Be adaptable, and Stay positive.”