TNM’s first event is here: Meraki, transforming your creative passions to life pursuits

The Glassbox and TNM present a speaker series to bring you stories of inspiration and conversations on passion – and we don’t have to look too far.
TNM’s first event is here: Meraki, transforming your creative passions to life pursuits
TNM’s first event is here: Meraki, transforming your creative passions to life pursuits
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In 2015, Sanjay Rao Chaganti was just two years shy of being 50 years old. Having worked with an international public health organization for 23 years and traveled across the world, he had done well for himself professionally. But with every passing day, he realized that he wasn’t entirely passionate about what he does. He loved helping others realize their potential. His passion was to help others go after theirs.

So, he quit. He left his high-paying, globetrotting job to become a ‘Happiness Catalyst’. Today Sanjay’s mission is to help people lead more passionate and fulfilled lives through customized one-on-one coaching and team workshops. Hailing originally from Chennai, he has led large cross-cultural teams and also provides guidance as a Board Member and Executive Coach. “If I have learned anything, it is that there is always an opportunity to change and live our passions,” he says.

At The News Minute, we don’t have to look too far for a story of passion-driven careers. Back in 2004, TNM’s Editor-in-Chief Dhanya Rajendran was a young newspaper reporter with dorky eye-glasses and a passion for news. Having spent a few years on the field as a print reporter, she wanted to move to the TV screen. Early that year, she appeared in front of a camera for an audition with a popular Hindi news channel. With gushing confidence, she looked into the camera and mouthed Hindi the best she could. She failed the audition.

Through the next decade, she found a job with another news channel – Times Now, reported on some of the biggest news stories of the decade and interviewed the most influential politicians and popular public figures of our times, and climbed the ladder to become the South India Bureau Chief of India’s most-watched English news channel. By 2014, she had quit her job and embarked on another venture, this time her own – The News Minute.

So how did a young girl from Palakkad race through a decade to head one of the most influential digital platforms in the country? “I had a passion for news, and I made it my life pursuit,” says Dhanya.

Be it youngsters at the dawn of their career or careerists facing a mid-life crisis, it’s not easy to figure out how to turn creative passions and talents into meaningful enterprises. It’s not just about having a sustainable business or a perfect career shaped out of our inner talents – there is productivity even in chasing our passions as a sport, for they could help one accrue social standing and satisfaction with life.

But how does one do it?

First step: participate in Meraki, a series of events hosted by The News Minute and The Glassbox starting September 23, 2017.

At Meraki – a Greek word which means something with soul, creativity and love - we wish to bring together successful minds from different fields for conversations on how to transform our passions to something more meaningful. Through casual and yet engaging conversations, we are creating a platform for ideas to be exchanged, for thought leaders to emerge and for participants to learn how to navigate their dreams to fruition.

“We are looking to bring together a set of intelligent and thought-provoking individuals to create a culture of encouraging others to pursue their talents. The idea is to spark off a discourse, nothing complicated. We just want people to engage with each other, network with each other and help each other. Meraki is about having a few hours of inspiration every now and then,” says Supriya of The Glassbox.

The first edition of Meraki - sponsored by Audi Chennai, Reflection, CitiBank and Page3Salon - will feature Dhanya Rajendran, Chinmayi, Sanjay Rao Chaganti, Sujith Kumar, Jayendra Panchapakesan, Sharmila Khumbat, Kiran Reddy and Shrikar Madiraju.

Singer Chinmayi really needs no introduction, but it’s not just her singing and show-hosting which has brought her success. She has also built sustainable businesses with her passions and talents.

Jayendra Panchapakesan, a Chemistry student who took up a job in advertising to pursue his passion as a creative writer, set up JS films with PC Sreeram to bring main stream ad film making to south India when most national clients and some international clients turned to Chennai for the first time to make films for their brands. He also set up Qube Cinema Technology (formerly Real Image) to revolutionise the working of Indian cinema industry. After handing over the company to be run by a professional CEO, he decided to pursue making feature films and long format classical music films. Jayendra's real passion is in making a difference to society at large. 

Sujith Kumar is the Founder & Managing Trustee of Maatram Foundation which provides free higher education to meritorious students from the economically weaker sections of the society. Started in the year 2013, Maatram Foundation today has over 480 Students pursuing different courses across different universities in Tamil Nadu. Maatram Foundation has also embarked on an ambitious journey of setting up school libraries in select Govt Corporation Schools across TN.

Shrikar is the ‘Denim Man’. An avid traveler who had a passion for the omnipresent fabric, Shrikar has churned a thriving consultancy business out of his passion for denim and also inspired his wife to start their own brand of denim called ‘Shrik Jeans’.

You might know Kiran Reddy as the CEO of SPI Cinemas, which owns Chennai’s iconic Sathyam Cinemas. But not many know that he also has a passion for startups and ideas that solve problems, which is why he has launched a startup incubator called SPI Incubator, to create impact through enterprise.

Sharmila Kumbhat is the Director for Market Development of K-Lite Industries, Chennai and is very passionate about design. She is an interior designer by profession but a proven and dynamic entrepreneur by choice and commitment. Having started her career at a very young age at Metal Craft, Chennai, she learned about various dynamics of manufacturing processes at the national and international level.

All these individuals will come together on September 23 at the Audi Showroom - No.535, Anna Salai, Nandanam, Chennai.

Attendance by INVITE ONLY. Request invite by email to

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