Meet Subhadra Tiwari: CDC One’s New Centre Manager! With her youthfully blithe smile and effervescent demeanor, one might easily mistake Subhadra for a trainee or visitor to CDC 1 at Madanpur Khadar. However, after observing her interaction with her colleagues and students for just a few minutes, it’s easy to see why she has become such a successful center manager since joining ETASHA.
When I asked her how long she had been associated with the organization, she didn’t respond with the expected “just over a month” or “almost two months now.” Instead, she paused, thought for a moment, and excitedly replied, “Since June 2nd, 2014.” These first ten seconds of the interview revealed an important facet of her personality: the little things (which are inconsequential features to others) matter to her. In fact, it is this scrupulous attention to detail that makes her such an effective administrator: she focuses on every issue that arises, no matter how small, but never allows a challenge to overwhelm her.
From 2007 to 2011, Subhadra worked another NGO from which she discovered the job opening at ETASHA; soon after, she applied for a position. As center manager, Subhadra has the responsibility of ensuring every little aspect of the centre is functioning properly—and dealing with it when it’s not.
On a typical day, her myriad duties might include (but are certainly not limited to): ensuring class materials are in order and ready to use before classes start, organizing class worksheets, making sure that all facilitators are present for their classes, holding students accountable for multiple absences, find new ways to broadcast ETASHA’s mission in the community, overlook placements, make sure the facilities are operative, and pretty much anything and everything else.
When she recited this list, however, Subhadra didn’t seem the least bit daunted. Instead, I got the distinct impression that having this much responsibility excited her, because she knew she could handle it, and still have energy to spare. What does she do with this energy? She facilitates, of course! On top of addressing a mountain of daily administrative responsibilities, Subhadra also steps in as a substitute facilitator whenever a regular staff member is unavailable.
To do this, she observes the first few sessions of every class so she can teach it if need be. Why? To make sure that a day is never wasted for the trainees, even if their regular facilitator is out. In a service-based organization like ETASHA, it’s important to remember that all the machinations—fundraisers, new centers, employee expansion—should have the end goal of benefitting the trainees themselves. Subhadra realizes this, and has learned to put the long term well-being of our trainees over anything else, including short-term gratification.
She recalls, “I remember on my first day, we were doing a community visit, and one of the trainees asked me how to get from one location to another. Just as I was about to tell him, another facilitator pulled me aside and told me that our goal as facilitators was not to hold their hands, but to be behind them, pushing them and motivating them. Because in the real world, they have to be able to problem solve on their own. That is why we have to self-motivate them, not necessarily hand the solution to them every time.” Indeed, this type of self-induced personal growth is what Subhadra loves to see in her trainees.
Her favorite memory in her 40 days thus far with us is her first metro visit with the trainees from CDC 1. With facilitators and center managers like her, the trainees are in good hands! Stay tuned to hear more about the people that make our organization so special! –Abhishek Bhargava