This post was written by Yavnika Khanna. She’s a SABF Delegate at University of Delhi in India.

Yavnika KhannaI have always held fascination for South America. A diverse and colorful continent which was unimaginably distant for me until South American Business Forum 2005 happened. I was one of the selected 70 participants from around the world for the forum. At that time, I was also the only student to have attended the conference from any Indian University. I was one of the youngest participants at the forum, and that helped me to interact with a lot of experienced and enlightened minds. I was the only woman candidate short-listed from an Indian University. Obviously my experience was unique.

At the forum, the eminent speakers addressed a group of future global leaders. The highlight of the forum was indeed the vivacity and openness of debate yielding in an inspiring originality of thought.

In times of vanishing borders, attending the seminar gave me a chance to peep through the window of the enigma called Latin America. Representing India at the conference was an experience in itself- there were participants from all around the world- USA, Germany, France Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Columbia etc. Interacting with them formally and informally gave me a worldview and a snapshot of challenges faced by each region.

The sessions on the topic were very relevant and interactive. I clearly recall the lecture by Diego Luzuriaga, System Dynamics Professor at ITBA who delivered a lecture on the importance of systemic thought. Then there was a very frank Leadership session with Amilcar Perez, VP- at AC Nielsen, Latin America. And of course, little that I did know then that the workshop on Strategic Planning with Federico Querio, VP- Obras San Mza, would be so useful in my career today as a strategic planner!

I thoroughly enjoyed the “Beer game” which reinforced concepts of system dynamics. In a special session with Martín Perez de Solay – VP of Citibank – I learnt about the real world application of systemic thought. In another session with Oris de Roa, Director- San Miguel I learnt about the phrase “Darse Cuenta”- I drive home vital learning outcomes from his talk –including ‘Values as anchors’, ‘Leadership as a step forward to make a difference’ and ‘Separation of role and self’.

Besides learning, I made friends for lifetime- found them in the organizers, Yvonne Meninato and Agustin De Luciano, Juan and Julietta and in participants from allover the world- Shashank Nigam and Prajakta from Singapore, Lucas Garavano, Angie Aguirre and Daniel Otieza from Argentina, Lee from Malaysia…just so many of them whom I still share my life with!

I can easily say Argentina is one of the most beautiful places in the world and I wish I could return to it someday. I am delighted to be part of SABF in every regard, in fact very proud to be India delegate for all these years. I wish it all the best!