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Executive Interviews: Interview with Vivekanadan on Bottom of the Pyramid
November 2008 - By Prema Ramachandran

Former CEO of South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies

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  • I understand that after such a long tenure with SIFFS you have recently quit your post as CEO. What are your plans for the future?
    My plans are to set up a new national organization that will promote the development of fishing communities and make fisheries sustainable in India. This will necessarily be an NGO rather than a federation or people's organization. It will work closely with federations and people's organizations. However, it has to get the attention of all key stakeholders in the

    fisheries(Govt, industry, scientific institutions, NGOs and people's organizations) if it has to be effective. It will therefore develop a good interface with all concerned and also muscle into a vacant space— coordination of the actors. This will not be through an official mandate, but through the quality of the work and the articulation of common interest

  • Does your leaving SIFFS mean that there is little more to be done on that front under the SIFFS banner?
    SIFFS has a long way to go in fulfilling its mandate in South India. It is just that I did not feel that my continuation would have been good and also I wished to use my learning in SIFFS for the benefit of the entire fishing community of India. This is also the reason that I (and hopefully the new organization) will keep close contact with SIFFS and support each other.

  • From a student of IRMA, you have now become one of the Board of Governors. What advice would you give to the aspiring rural managers?
    The most important advice for any aspiring ruralmanager is to be clear in your mind what you want to do in life. You must have coherent goals in life. If you want to make a lot of money, then be clear about it. If you really want to contribute to rural development, you must be ready for struggle and have the willingness to face the long haul. You can always say to yourself, I am willing to take only so much risk, after that I prefer the safety of an established organization and good pay. Better to be honest to yourself and your peers. One can always contribute to society in any capacity.

    Often students have conflicting goals and are unable to prioritize them. This leads to poor job choices and a lot of heartburn.

    Wherever you are and whatever job you do, keep adding to your understanding and knowledge. Every additional year should see your value (not necessarily in salary terms, but intrinsically) go up more than the mere addition of one year's experience.

    My advice to rural managers is not very specific or relevant only to them. However, there are a lot more dilemmas facing a ruralmanager than other professionals.

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The Interview was conducted by Prema Ramachandran, Faculty, IBS, Mumbai.

This Interview was originally published in Effective Executive, IUP, January 2008.

Copyright © January 2008, IBSCDC No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced or distributed, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or medium electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the permission of IBSCDC.

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