Mythologist, practising storyteller and Doctor of narrative practices
Seema is a London based mythologist and a practising storyteller. Seema lectures on the Kamasutra and is an acknowledged authority on Eastern Erotology. She also delivers courses on the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita, Tantric philosophy and the Mahavidyas.
The Currency of Stories
The emerging discipline of storytelling is a leadership tool - it provides the 'means' that lead to the desired 'ends'.
Today's leaders face a multitude of new challenges - the workplace has become more and more diverse bringing with it an entirely new range of perspectives; ethical boundaries have been redefined according to legal guidelines so it is often no longer a question of right or wrong, rather legal or not; cultural practices motivate work cultures. But through all these changes the leader's task is still one essentially of persuasion - of convincing his people to agree on a specific path and a set of goals and work productively towards them.
And to face, these challenges effectively successful leaders are turning to storytelling - as the most ancient and yet also the newest methodology on the corporate block. The story is not just a tool, it is an entire array of tools - helping to achieve multiple purposes such as motivation, communication, transmission of facts, passing knowledge, sharing values, dispelling rumours and leading your team to a successful future. Storytelling is the most powerful tool of influence, it is the soft power behind our actions as well as our identities.
Seema uses the narratives of the Mahabharata to break down the obstacles to leadership, to help us understand not only our own leadership styles but also how to tackle the multitude of perspectives that exist within our teams. As she says 'we use these stories all the time without even realising it. The question is whether we choose to use them unknowingly and clumsily or become aware of them and use them intelligently and skilfully'
Seema looks at the Leadership phenomenon of Storytelling and the Power of your Narrative.
The story is as close as you will get to walking in someone else's shoes - or taking someone for a walk in yours. They are like a computer programme you can load into a person's mind so they can play it using their own input.
Seema consults internationally for several museums, corporates, universities and other similar organisations. She believes that the stories that we tell define our roles and establish our identities within the community and if we are to create change - real, sustainable change - it is these stories that we have to change. Stories are extraordinarily powerful. They entertain and enlighten but equally, they can divide and destroy. Telling effective, relevant stories has always been the power that determines and influences social practices, political and cultural practices. Seema's pioneering efforts in narrative activism has been at the base of several heritage and women's rights initiatives.
Seema's extraordinary work on the revival and reproduction of the oral literature of India is associated with the UNESCO project for Endangered Oral Traditions. She is an acknowledged authority on the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and lectures on Tantric philosophies, the Mahavidyas, the Kama Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita.
As a doctor of narrative practices, Seema conducts strategic leadership and management sessions within the corporate sector using story and the Power of Narrative to understand and build effective soft power. She is a narrative consultant to several cultural institutions.
Seema is a Partner at Tharoor Associates, Co-founder of Story Weave, Director Medusa Nights and holds the Guinness Book record for the largest rangoli in the world. She lives with her husband, her three children and is known to hoard books.