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What we saw at Ovation 2016 Day One

Ovation 2016 is one of the biggest events in the District 82 calendar. Rightfully so as it is the annual conference of District 82. This year, Ovation is happening at Infosys Limited, Mahindra City in Chennai. Over the course of the coming days, the Ovation team has a packed and exciting agenda. Here’s what we saw yesterday on Day one as the team kicked off Ovation 2016.

First Ever Candidate Showcase

Day 1 commenced with the first ever candidate showcase in District 82. Nominated candidates for the roles of District Club Growth Director and Division Director for Divisions B and K took the stage to answer questions from the Candidate Showcase Committee Chair. Suganthi Periasamy, Navneeth V. Ganesh, Samueal Whitefield, Satheesha Kumar S, Satheesh V. and Maithalee responded to questions from the Candidate Showcase Committee Chair TM Reena. The Candidate Corner opened with morning refreshments allowing members present to interact with the candidates further.

District Council Meeting

The District Council Meeting commenced with required quorum in place. District’s teams presented their reports as per the parliamentary procedure of the District: Realignment Committee report was accepted for the 2016/17 toastmaster year with 12 Divisions in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu including the newly proposed Division K. Reaffirmation & Research Committee Report was presented to the Council with the conclusion that a split between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu at this point is not recommended.

The two nations will continue to work together as one District for the foreseeable future. Procedures Committee Chair also presented his report referring to the first ever procedure booklet which will assemble details of formal procedures as well as answers to frequently asked questions on standard procedures for the ease of all members. This is a version still being revised and will be issued to members once finalised.

The Division Directors took the stage next to speak on the performance of their areas, points for improvement in each area and overall achievements secured so far.

Next up in the agenda was the election for the incoming District Council. There were nominations from the floor for several positions and the elected District Council are;

  • District Director – DTM Sudash Janith Liyanage
  • Programme Quality Director – U. A. P Ajantha Jayawardena
  • Club Growth Director – Suganthi Periasamy
  • Division A Director – Sliema Lakmali Gunatunge
  • Division B Director – Samuel Whitefield
  • Division C Director – Varuna L. K. Ratnaweera
  • Division D Director – Saravana Kumar Palaniappan Selvan
  • Division E Director – Ranishka Yasanga Wimalasena
  • Division F Director – Chandrasiri Wanasinghe
  • Division G Director – Sunil G. Baffna
  • Division H Director – Chethiya Prasanna Subasinghe
  • Division I Director – K. Ramalingam
  • Division J Director – Gayajith Sanjeewa Fonseka
  • Division K Director (proposed division) – Satish Kumar
  • Division L Director (proposed division) – Maithalee Ramanan

Launch of Ovation 2016

After a quick lunch break (the food was amazing! Anyone who isn’t here is missing a fabulous spread), it was time for the official launch of Ovation 2016. The theme of the District 82 Year End conference was “The mountains are calling, let’s go”. After the flag march, TM Alexander Babu, an ace humorous speaker and stand-up comedian, was the ‘tour guide’ to all toastmasters taking the climb for the conference and took the stage in style to compere the event. He had the audience singing “Who is World Number 2? Namba (our) District 82!” among many other antics to keep the audience entertained.

DTM Jayan Narayan took the stage to explain the theme of the conference and clarified that theme actually had nothing to do with actual mountains… the theme referred to each toastmaster that makes choice to climb an uphill journey to be better communicator and leaders; to learn from the experience; and to lend a helping hand to others who also make that choice to climb those mountains and conquer their fears and challenges.

The conference started off by giving a token of appreciation to honour Infosys Mahindra World City for hosting the toastmasters of District 82. Mr. Thothathri, Head of Development Centre, Infosys Mahendra City accepted the gesture from District 82 and graciously offered to host us again next year if required.

The opening ceremony of Ovation 2016 was graced with the presence of many inspirational personalities;

  • Celebrated musician Ricky Kej shared his own story of following his passion; his parents wanted him to be a dentist; he completed his academic qualification to make his parents happy and followed his passion to become a musician. “For my parents, fear was a motivating actor. For me it was passion”
  • RJ Balaji also took the stage and shared the story of a coconut vendor, Adi who had taught him the value of leading by example.
  • Musician Shakthishree Gopalan was up next and she has something in common with Ricky Kej; she is an architect by profession and also followed her passion of music. She also had words of encouragement for the toastmasters to follow their passion.

The evening was packed with many performances. The ‘Kallari’ performance stood out which was a demonstration of one of India’s most ancient martial art forms from Kerala.

Tokens of appreciation were presented to many toastmasters who had been part of the climb for District 82 in the 2015/16 including mentors who guided us and friends who supported us. TM Ramakrishnan and TM Milton were also honoured with lifetime achievement awards

The keynote address was delivered by Sujith Kumar, founder of the Maataram Foundation, Nasscom Awardee and part of team Infosys. He spoke on “Can 2 minutes make a difference” and inspired the entire audience with his unique approach to lend a helping hand for someone else. His closing words resonated his message “When you see something that bothers you don’t just walk away. Spending those 2 minutes with them will make a difference.”

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