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april 2018 Campaign Update
Realize the Full Potential of IEEE
IEEE Foundation is leading a special campaign across IEEE’s expansive network to raise awareness, forge partnerships, and fund Priority Initiatives.
"There is no force greater than the human mind"
Greg Adamson and N.R. Narayana Murthy spoke to IEEE members, volunteers, donors & friends.

On the evening of 27 March, more than 60 IEEE members, volunteers, donors and friends gathered to hear from a legend. That word is at times diminished by overuse. It was totally apt in this case.

The first international component of the IEEE Foundation’s Global Leaders Series was held at the opulent Leela Palace, which was fitting given the featured guest, set the perfect tone for the evening– Sri H.N. Narayana Murthy. The famed founder of InfoSys, and a man recognized as one of the 12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time, sat down to engage in a ‘conversation’ with the evening’s moderator and a group of his closest friends.

Mr. Murthy’s choice not to give a ‘speech’, but rather have a ‘conversation’ set the perfect tone for the evening and spoke volumes about the honored guest’s sense of humility. Murthy began by describing his childhood and early life. “Father taught us discipline; Mother taught us the importance of caring and sharing,” said Murthy. “Each night at dinner Father would tell us stories of great leaders. One night it might be Jawaharal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, often it was stories of famous scientists and engineers. Those early conversations kindled my interest in electrical engineering.”

Fresh out of school, he was offered a position in Paris designing a new system for the handling of air cargo at Charles DeGaulle Airport. As he describes it, “I was a young man in Paris. I had a good job paying a good salary. So, what drew me back to India? I knew I would be of much greater value to India than to France.”

The trip back was harrowing. His journey found him hitchhiking from Paris to Kabul. His plan to then train it back to India from there went awry in the early moments of his train ride. A misunderstanding or mistranslation had him physically removed by the police. He was taken into custody and provided with no food for nearly 96 hours. He clearly recalls the words of the communist soldiers who released him, “You are from a friendly country, India. That is why we are letting you go.” He remembers thinking ‘this is how they treat their friends?’ At that moment Murthy says he was almost immediately cured of his Leftism and adopted an outlook more accurately described as ‘compassionate capitalism’.

It was these experiences that helped form the foundation of his entrepreneurial spirit. He found great wisdom in FDR’s 4 Freedoms, those being: the Freedom of Expression, the Freedom of Religion, the Freedom from Fear, and the Freedom from Want. He believes that just as there are few great artists and surgeons, so too are there few great entrepreneurs. The only way to solve poverty is to provide incentive to those who are able to create jobs. Governments must create environments that allow such activity to thrive.

Thoughts from Narayana Murthy on:

Young Entrepreneurs
  • "Competition is the main guru, the main teacher."
  • "To be successful you need the following:
    • an idea whose value proposition can be communicated in one sentence
    • the ability to create an inexpensive test model
      a team with mutually exclusive talents
    • a commitment to an enduring value system
  • if you have all of these, you enhance your probability of success. Now you need luck!"
  • "I was always a great admirer of IEEE. The world is a better place because IEEE is there. I probably took IEEE for granted to an extent, but now am lucky to have a very positive relationship with IEEE."
  • "450 million people in India live on less than $1 a day, not enough to keep body and soul together. 28% of Indians are illiterate through no fault of theirs. The only way this country can move forward is if we, as citizens, offer whatever little we can to make their lives ever so slightly better."
The Future
  • "What worries me most is the growing inequality in the world. We must equip our people with ‘learnability."
  • Can we do this? "Yes, for there is no greater force than the power of the human mind."

All who were in attendance realized that this was an extraordinary evening. This was not simply a technical talk, nor an event in support of a worthy nonprofit. This was a life lesson from someone who has obviously mastered living.

As Murthy closed his remarks, he said, “When people meet me, they often smile. They sometimes want to take a selfie. They do not smile because I have great wealth or great power. These things have little impact on their lives. They smile because they feel that I care.” With these words, Narayana Murthy imparted his final lesson, beseeching us all to care and to do what we can to make the lives of others better. “Even the poorest man brings a smile to the faces of his children. They know he cares.”

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Victor Lawrence: Staying Involved, Making an Impact

Most nonprofit organizations have very specific expectations of those who agree to serve as members of their Board. It is the special relationship between Board members and organizational staff that can help meet those expectations and catalyze action.

Once a member’s tenure has come to an end, the relationship is usually diminished. The Board member tends to move on to other interests; the organization shifts its focus to their replacement.

This does not describe the unique service and level of activity that the IEEE Foundation enjoys with one of its past Board members, Dr. Victor Lawrence. Rather, Victor’s activity and impact has only escalated since his official departure from the Foundation Board.

“Victor is the unique individual who doesn’t need a title or official capacity in order to be effective,” said Dr. John Treichler, IEEE Foundation President. “Victor sees a task, knows that he can make a positive impact, and gets about the business of getting things done. He’s a remarkable guy, and a real asset to the Foundation.”

The IEEE Foundation staff only echoes Dr. Treichler’s assessment. Staff readily credits Dr. Lawrence with playing a major role in establishing the Global Leaders Series, attracting top caliber participants, and being ever willing to make key connections that benefit the staff and the Foundation.

There is no doubt that Dr. Lawrence’s efforts have had a positive impact on the Campaign’s early success – more than 51% of the US$30M goal raised to date!

Thank you, Dr. Victor Lawrence, for your understated leadership and example!

Finn Partners Helps IEEE Foundation Tell Its Story

The story of IEEE is a complex tale. With more than 420,000 members in 160 countries, the width and breadth of the IEEE story can sometimes seem overwhelming. One of IEEE’s long-time business associates, Finn Partners, recently committed to help IEEE and the IEEE Foundation achieve greater effectiveness in telling its story.

First, the firm answered the call to support the IEEE’s newly launched Campaign, Realize the Full Potential of IEEE, with a generous leadership gift. The principals of Finn Partners didn’t stop there, however. In addition to leading the way among business partners, the firm also committed significant pro bono services to support the Campaign.

The initial collaboration in this relationship took place on 2 February at the IEEE offices in Manhattan. In collaboration with the IEEE Foundation and IEEE Spectrum, Finn Partners facilitated a one-day workshop for program partners of the IEEE Foundation. The event was designed to help those who manage important programs funded by IEEE Foundation be more effective in telling their stories in a compelling fashion.

The day began with attendees hearing from professional journalist and author, Ellis Henican, speak on the important components he uses in telling a story making it intriguing and compelling. Henican, a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, has authored several NY Times best-selling books. He shared his experience and challenged attendees to be more creative in how they position their programs.

Next, Glenn Zorpette and his associates from IEEE Spectrum took the podium. They built upon the first presentation, only this time from a perspective closer to the IEEE experience. It was then Finn Partners task to pull together all of the information that had been presented, and help attendees understand how they could best incorporate this knowledge into their daily work.

The IEEE Foundation is appreciative of its relationship with Finn Partners, and looks forward to a mutually beneficial collaboration.

IEEE Supporters, like you, help to make a difference every day.
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Coming Soon
IEEE-HKN Student Leadership Conference
The 2018 IEEE-HKN Student Leadership Conference will be hosted by University of Florida in Gainsville, FL, USA. IEEE-HKN members are invited to attend from 13-15 April to meet other IEEE-HKN members from around the world and grow their professional and leadership skills.
National Volunteer Week
All IEEE programs are accomplished through the work and dedication of volunteers around the world. This week is an opportunity to thank them for sharing their time on our important mission.
IEEE PES T&D Donor Reception
If you are attending the PES T&D 2018 Expo, join the IEEE Foundation for a luncheon to honor donors to the PES philanthropic programs.

Featured Campaign Programs
IEEE Awards

This Campaign Update provides news on the Realize the Full Potential of IEEE Campaign and the individuals and organizations whose charitable gifts make the Campaign a success.
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