Gayathri Mohan, Head CSR at Sopra Steria India

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Gayathri Mohan is the Head of CSR at Sopra Steria India, the Indian subsidiary of the French multinational IT company, Sopra Steria, headquartered in Paris, with 22 global subsidiaries and a turnover in excess of 4 billion euros. In India, Sopra Steria has its offices located in Chennai, Noida, Bengaluru and Pune. Gayathri is based in Chennai.

Sopra Steria in India, conducts its CSR work through its CSR arm, the Sopra Steria India Foundation (SSIF), a registered charitable trust, with FCRA accredition and  set up in 2010. Gayathri Mohan is also the Managing Trustee of SSIF. In her fourteen years as Head of CSR at Sopra Steria India, she has almost singlehandedly built from scratch the CSR function, set up the trust that runs the Foundation and over the years built an outstanding team of CSR Champions located at the different centers in India.

SSIF was always focussed on ‘education’ of children from the most underprivileged sections of society, with a special focus on computer education and digital literacy, English language skills, and higher college education leading to jobs. Over the years a well designed award winning model has been put in place, easily replicated for size, scale and reach. Today SSIF is engaged with over 75 schools across India, touching the lives of over 75000 children from some of the most challenged sections of society. There are also over 425 children studying in colleges whose entire education is funded by Sopra Steria under the Sopra Steria India Foundation Graduate Scholarship Scheme.

While operational secrecy is a given as far as businesses are concerned, Gayathri believes that CSR is one area that needs to be a more collaborative effort, and one needs to take it to more and more corporates and industry bodies, if one needs to scale up and  reach out to more and more target beneficiaries who need this help. The Sopra Steria, award winning community model is now being used by many like minded corporates, specially in the IT sector. Gayathri never misses out on presenting her model at various industry and trade forums like FICCI, NASSCOM etc.

Infact Sopra Steria has pioneered a CSR strategy, whereby the company takes on CSR work that may be outsourced to them by other Corporates who may not have the requisite infrastructure in place but would like to have their own CSR program and be seen as a socially responsible corporate citizen.

Gayathri manages SSIF as an independent organisation within the parent body, governed by a board of trustees, and with its own administrative staff including its teachers who are primarily responsible for the delivery of computer education through the numerous school computer centers ( many run on solar power ) and smart interactive classrooms. Sopra Steria’s avowed vision is to ensure a superior school experience for the 75000 school children, comparable to that provided by the upmarket schools in the big cities.

Gayathri, ensures that apart from school infrastructure, there is also enough importance given to softer issues like, mentorship, counselling, tutorials, sports and dramatics, soft skills, health and hygiene, robotics, and so on. Regular workshops and camps are conducted in the schools to address these issues, for a well rounded overall learning experience.

Gayathri, an MBA in marketing, and herself from a lower middle class family, the youngest among eight siblings, knows only too well what it is to be deprived, to miss out on many childhood experiences which is normal and considered a part of daily life today. It is this empathy along with her deep passion to play her role in bringing however small a change that is possible, is her primary source of motivation and the main driving force that has enabled her to give a form and structure to Sopra Steria CSR and be a role model and source of inspiration to countless others.

CSR Awards received so far under the leadership of Gayathri Mohan

  • Bombay Stock Exchange Social & Corporate Governance Award for Best CSR Practice received for  5 consecutive years (2009,  2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013) presented by Bombay Stock Exchange & World CSR Congress
  • INDY’S Best CSR Practice Award received for 3 consecutive years (2010, 2011 & 2012) presented by Stars of the Industry
  • Nasscom Social Innovation Honours Award 2010 presented by Nasscom Foundation
  • Golden Peacock Special Commendation for CSR – 2010 presented by Institute of Directors
  • Asia’s Best CSR Practice Award received for 4 consecutive years (2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014) conferred by CMO Asia, Asian Confederation of Businesses & World CSR Day
  • Subir Raha Best CSR Practice Award 2011
  • Global CSR Award for Best CSR Practice Award – 2012 conferred by World CSR Day received in Feb’2012
  • Golden Peacock Award for CSR – 2012 presented by Institute of Directors
  • Asian CSR Leadership Award – 2012
  • IPE Corporate Governance Award for Best CSR Practice in IT Sector received in 2012
  • Corporate Excellence Award for Best Overall CSR Performance received in June 2013, conferred by CMO Asia, World CSR Day & Stars of the Industry Group
  • ABP News Global CSR Excellence & Leadership Awards for Best CSR Practice received in 2014 & 2015, conferred by World CSR Congress & World Federation of CSR Professionals

Individual awards

  • Responsible Business Leader Award in June 2012, presented by World CSR Day
  • CSR Women Leader of the year 2012, presented by IPE in Nov’2012
  • 50 Most Talented CSR Leaders award in February 2015, presented by World CSR Day

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