CEOs sing a song in support…

13 Dec,2016


Genesis Foundation held the second edition of its one-of-a-kind fundraiser – 40 CEOs Sing for GF Kids, in Mumbai last Saturday. Business leaders from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru came together once again to compete as teams, singing old, new, Hindi and English songs, to support the treatment of critically ill under-privileged children in the areas of heart, cancer and thalassaemia.


The Delhi team, comprising CEOs from Jubilant Foodworks, SAP, iBus Network, Global Access Learning Solutions, Cargill India, Napino Auto and Electronics, Modern Foods and McKinsey were announced winners. The performances were evaluated by Zila Khan, Indian Sufi and classical singer, Lesle Lewis, Indian and Western fusion singer, and Ashish Manchanda, accomplisthed mixing and recording engineer, remixer and music producer.


Speaking at the event, Prema Sagar, Founder Trustee, Genesis Foundation expressed her gratitude and delight, “A delightful event with every person giving their time, effort and best wishes to support critically ill children. What more can one ask for! Just like last year, I am amazed at the commitment that our CEO supporters have for the cause to come all the way from different parts of India to participate in this event. It has been an incredible year for us and I want to express our heartfelt gratitude to each person associated with not just tonight’s event but with the Foundation in any big or small way. The task at hand is huge, but our supporters give us the reassurance that it’s not impossible.”


In keeping with the Genesis Foundation’s core to build a participatory culture of giving, musically inclined CEOs come together each year to raise funds for the critically ill and underprivileged children. “Over the years, the CEOs Sing events have created a community of supporters who don’t just give their time to participate in the singing events, like tonight’s 40 CEOs Sing For GF Kids, but with their influence, they also inspire their colleagues and other people to give their support to the cause of Genesis Foundation,” said Jyoti Sagar, Founder Trustee, Genesis Foundation.


We spoke with the Sagars and three industry captains.


Prema Sagar, Founder Trustee, Genesis Foundation

How has the journey of Genesis Foundation been so far?

The journey has been quite long actually. Started working with children in orphanages and then it became about thalassaemia, cancer and heart and so we started expanding and it has expanded right across the country mostly, so it has gone particularly to the South, the West and the North.


Having 40 CEOs singing for a cause

The reason why we got into music is because we wanted the children to survive and be happy and not be serious about fund raising. A lot of CEOs are bathroom singers or dinner singers so we thought why not get them on the stage. This has been going on for a few years and its been exciting not only for them but for us as well. We all become like one family because we all know each other and we get together even when we are not doing an event.


Dia Mirza’s association with the Foundation

Dia is a wonderful wonderful wonderful person whether it is about environment or about children she really believes in it and so you know that what she is giving to the foundation is also fantastic for everybody else and so I don’t want somebody who is just a brand but somebody who is really part of it and that is what Dia is all about.


Jyoti Sagar, Founder Trustee, Genesis Foundation

The Genesis Foundation journey so far?

First of all, a bit of what Genesis Foundation does is we provide or facilitate critical medical assistance to orphans and to children from underprivileged sections of the society which we define as families whose monthly income is Rs.10000 or less and there are three areas in which we work – heart, cancer and thalassaemia major. In the last six to seven years we have been much more active. So, the journey has been amazing. This September we crossed a milestone of 1000 children lives being saved and it’s been fantastic.


CEOs participation in the fundraising event.

We have used music as medium to reach out to our supporters at large and even for fund raising and the corporate engagement in that has been quite interesting because we discovered that there were many CEOs who are very talented in music. So it turned out to be a very wonderful combination because we ended up providing this platform for CEOs to come out of the closet, so to say and to come out and perform for a very good cause. We have been doing in cities individually in Gurgaon, Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. The CEOs sing event for last six years now and last year we started with this idea of getting teams from banalise, Mumbai and Delhi to perform together. This one is our second edition of the 40 CEOs sing for genesis foundation.


How was the response about CEOs for singing for this cause ?

All the CEOs that you see here perform today are very kind-hearted and generous people and they are very happy to give their time. In the beginning of course when we started the process there was reluctance not that they didn’t want to do it but the typical reluctance that you have for doing something different but these people are very very willing participants and very generous supporters. We are here in Mumbai and we have CEOs who have come all the way from Bangalore, who have come all the way from Delhi and Gurgaon and these people have not only given their time but have flown here, they are going to stay here overnight and go back tomorrow on a weekend. For us, its just their commitment and their generosity which really matters and its very gratifying to see all these people give so much time for the cause of the foundation.


Geetu Verma, Executive Director Foods & Refreshments, Hindustan Unilever

Association with Genesis Foundation:

I have actually lost count of the number of years I have been associated with Genesis. I think ever since Genesis started this particular event I have been associated with Genesis and I feel fiercely proud about the association. I think it’s a symbiotic association and I think it’s an incredible way how Prema and the Genesis team have brought passion at one level along with purpose together in such a sweet spot and in a wonderful way.


How much time do you give to social causes?

There are two causes very close to my heart, one cause is to do with women and having more women in the workplace and thats something that I advocate and promote a lot in the course of my work and wherever I get opportunities outside my workplace as well. The second cause is children, there are two causes that I support, one is Genesis Foundation for kids and the other one is St. Jude child centres. Both of these are really for giving life to children and I think it works quite seamlessly. I give whatever time I can give, sometimes have spells which are extremely busy and sometimes it’s a bit leaner but irrespective I think whatever I am able to do it gives me a lot of satisfaction.


How was the experience of singing and your view on the need to unwind?

I think everybody needs to have some creative outlet. You could be a painter, you could be a singer, you could play an instrument and I think it’s the best way to destress. I have had days which have been extremely tuff but when you come back in the evening and you switch on your own, whether its Kishor Kumar music or Sinatra and you can just sit back and chill you get transported to a different world. I love music. Music is god, music is life for me. So having opportunities like these are not something that I would ever pass out.


Shireesh Joshi, COO, Strategic Marketing, Godrej Group

Association with Genesis Foundation:

I have been associated with Genesis Foundation and their CEO event right from the time they started back in Gurgaon in 2010. I have had the honour and pleasure of being with them in Delhi events, in Mumbai events, in Bangalore events and its been awesome trying to give back to the cause and the support through music which is my first love as well. So it’s the best of everything. A chance to give and a chance to have great fun in music with friends you love being with.


How much time do you give to social causes?

Well I have not kept count and most of the ones that I have done have of course been with Genesis and there have been quite a few over the years. So six years and counting. So yeah, I have done quite a few with them and I have managed to do a few others as well.


How was the experience of singing and your view on the need to unwind?

Many CEOs that I know have some hobby or the other. A lot of them have singing as a hobby but others have other things to do. Some paint, some write, I know people who publish books quite a bit. So people manage to do everything they love with passion no matter what or how responsible position they are in and I think if you do that it makes you do best for both. You get to be a better writer, musician or a sportsperson and you get to be a better geo because you are able to express yourself much better.


Sanjiv Sarin, Managing Director & CEO, Tata Coffee

Association with Genesis Foundation:

I first got introduced with them because of what they have put together which I think is an awesome platform. Everybody has a brilliant time and yet is going for a good cause and over a period of time  I have seen the kind of work they are doing. I think its moved from entertainment to really appreciate and understand the depth of work that genesis has been doing.


How much time do you give to social causes?

I am actually pretty deeply involved with the Art of Living foundation. I am a corporate teacher with them and I am also involved with social projects. So it’s not that it’s only genesis foundation. Genesis is contributing of my time to somebody who is doing all this but I do tend to spend as much time as I can juggling work life and putting back to society.


How was the experience of singing and your view on the need to unwind?

I think it’s exceedingly important. One is besides the work that genesis is doing, each of the CEOs here for one day believes they can become a rockstar which I think is awesome and having been through a little bit of training and getting ready for this entire thing just shuts you off and puts you in a creative space which I think is absolutely critical for anybody right now.


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