Within the scenic, spiritually surcharged Govardhana Ecovillage outside of Mumbai, India, some two dozen participants from various parts of the world attended the Zonal Supervisor Course’s second and last residential session.
We enjoyed the company of leaders from India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Italy, Hungary, Latvia/Lithuania and Kenya, including four sannyasis – desirous to improve their skill-set to better serve Srila Prabhupada’s mission. The course was also graced by the teaching of two GBC members.
The presenters and their lessons included:
Rupanuga Prabhu, the President of the GBC College for Leadership Development, supervised the presentations by the students on their Action Learning Project (ALP), an integral part of the course that involves them creating a local team and setting a strategic plan with clear objectives and SMART goals. Hearing from all of them about their plans took one half day. Later Rupanuga Prabhu, who also serves as Co-Temple President of ISKCON Laguna Beach in California, also taught them about strategy execution.
Bal Govinda Prabhu taught two important lessons that generally are presented by Bhakti Charu Maharaja: Four Maxims for ISKCON, delineating key fundamental ideas on which ISKCON stands, and The Importance of the Institution, delving into the history and ecclesiology of the Society. Bal Govinda Prabhu, who among other things serves as Vice-President for ISKCON Pune, also presented Conflict Resolution, Avoiding Burnouts (Keeping Life in Perspective), Priority Management, Discipline of Execution and Cultivating Vaisnava Qualities.
Bal Govinda Prabhu was joined by Sri Radha Govinda Devi Dasi, professional astrologer and author, in presenting Svabhava Vicara (Contemplation of Our Acquired Nature), an introduction on various personality types and why it’s important for leaders to understand one’s own nature and the nature of others.
Kavicandra Maharaja, GBC Zonal Secretary for various countries in Africa, South East Asia and for Japan, taught on Leadership Principles and then also on Trust.
Anuttama Prabhu, GBC Zonal Secretary from North America and Global ISKCON Communications Minister, presented Communications and Public Speaking Techniques. He invited Parijata Devi Dasi to present on Social Media and particularly her experience in setting up the outstanding Facebook page of ISKCON Juhu, Mumbai.
Bhakti Rasamrita Maharaja stepped out of his participant role and taught two lessons under the heading of The Culture of Speech.
Similarly, also Devakinandana Prabhu (Juhu), from being a participant became a teacher for the lesson on Fundraising – How to Cultivate Donors?
Kaunteya Prabhu, Co-Minister of the ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry and Co-Chair of the GBC Organizational Development Committee, presented lessons on Unity in Diversity – especially the practical implementation of the idea as multiple local initiatives – The First 20 Years of Bhakti-vriksha, which included sharing about the successes of this community-building approach and the challenges various devotees experienced in trying to apply it. He also introduced Srila Prabhupada’s vision and desire for establishing Gurukula (The Root of Varnasrama), and techniques to improve our meetings and making them more productive (Eating, Sleeping, Meeting and Depending – on Krishna); Six Thinking Hats and The Art of Decision Making.
Srila Prabhupada’s disciple Gopal Bhatta Prabhu, among other things serving as the Chair of the GBC Strategic Planning Team and Co-Chair of the GBC Organizational Development Committee (Org Dev), presented the work of Org Dev as the Bridge to the Future of ISKCON. Then he presented The Eight Steps in the Process of Change, Getting Things Done; Eight Elements of Spiritual Marketing and ISKCON Online.
A touching moment came when Bhakti Dhira Damodara Maharaja shared that he is going to apply ALL that he learned at the College.