Saturday, May 21, 2016

“The Only Constant in Life is Change” - One Chapter Ends, the Next One Begins

Some major professional life changes have taken place over the past month.  Thankfully everything has been positive, however I’ve learned that any major change in one’s life (no matter how welcome) can take some time to get used to.  Thankfully these changes took place a few weeks ago so I’m settling into my new life and role however it’s never too late to share them with the few, but loyal readers of this blog.

Change #1 – I Resigned from Libero Sports
My last day with Libero Sports was 30 April, 2016.  After 5+ years serving as a Director of India’s leading football consultancy, I decided to move on as I was offered an opportunity that I just couldn’t turn down (explained in the next section).  Although I didn’t show it publicly, I was quite emotional during my last few weeks with Libero as this organisation has not only served as the professional platform to fully immerse myself into the Indian football industry, it has also served as my family, my home and my support structure during the majority of my time in India.  I have deep respect and appreciation for the company’s founders, partners and everyone who has been associated with the India office and am 100% confident that this firm will see exponential growth in the years to come.  Here is the email I sent to our entire global team which sums up how I felt about my time with this company. I’m proud to share it as others should be aware of what it means to work for an organisation you really care about and that really cares about you:

Although I’d much rather do this with everyone in person, I wanted to say Thank You for all of your friendship and support over the past few years as this has truly been an incredible journey.  When I chose to join Libero Sports back in 2011, none of us were clear about what was in store for this agency’s future.  In spite of that, I was more than confident that it was the right choice as I believed in the passion, progressiveness and commitment of the company’s Partners & Managing Director and had full faith that I would grow both personally and professionally as a member of their organisation. I’m happy to say that the past 5 years have more than exceeded my then optimistic expectations. 

Libero Sports has not only provided the perfect platform for me to better understand and impact the Indian football industry, it has served as my home while I’ve tried to navigate the often times difficult moments of living thousands of miles away from much that is familiar to me. While with Libero, it rarely occurred to me that I had a job, it mostly seemed as if I was working on a fun football project with a group of my friends – an extraordinary feeling that I know will be challenging to re-create with future organisations. 

I'm leaving Libero Sports with my head held up high and my heart full of gratitude as words can't properly describe how much I cherish these past 5 years and the appreciation I have for each of you for helping ensure that I was happy, comfortable and never regretted the choice I made to move to India to be a part of the Indian football growth story. 

We are the ones who have stayed true to our core commitment of bringing in long-term professionalism into the Indian football industry year after year when many of our competitors were taking short cuts.  We are the ones who have established successful partnerships like FCBEscola India and LIFA-DSK which have impacted the lives of thousands of youth footballers.  We are the ones who have helped players like Katsumi Yusa and Uttam Rai live lives they could only dream of through compassionate and consistent management of their careers.  We are the ones who have pushed industry bodes like FICCI and CII to make football their priority sport. We are the ones who have created opportunities for so many aspiring football management professionals to experience this industry.  We are the ones who have survived for 5+ years while so many other organisations in the same space have shut shop – even with much deeper pockets.  And, most importantly, we are the ones who have managed to build an inclusive football family made up of industry influencers who are presently or previously employed with Libero Sports.   

Given the solid foundation that we have all built over the past few years and under Tathagata’s astute leadership, I have full confidence that Libero Sports’ brand and business will thrive not just in the US, Japan & India but in many territories all over the world.

Special mention to Alex, Eddie, Arvind & Sukkhi for your extraordinary courage to take the “road less travelled” and establish an India based football consultancy, during a time when no one believed in the future of the sport in the country. Also, thank you for not only hiring me, but allowing me the freedom to have a say in many of the key decisions concerning the organisation.  Finally, thank you for ensuring that I could travel to the United States as those annual trips home kept me connected, motivated and sane. 

I’m looking forward to working with you all in my new role with DSK Shivajians FC, an exciting opportunity which I’m aware came directly as a result of my association with Libero Sports and the great work that many of you did for this organisation over the years on both the Player Representation and Consulting verticals.    

Anyway, it goes without saying that you all always have a home in Pune. Especially Abhishek who actually has a home in Pune:)

Finally, this is clearly not a farewell email as no one ever really leaves the Libero Sports family which is exactly what makes this family so special. 

Change #2 – I Accepted an Offer to Join DSK Shivajians FC
I accepted an offer to join DSK Group as CEO DSK Shivajians FC and the Liverpool International Football Academy – DSK.  Within this role I’ll be overseeing Pune based conglomerate, DSK Group's, football investment which includes DSK Shivajians FC - a professional team currently playing in India's top division, the Liverpool International Football Academy - India's premier residential academy, and the development / utilisation of a 15,000 seat football specific stadium.

Anyone who knows me or has been following this blog would know how much this project means to me.  I’ve been consulting for DSK Shivajians FC President, Shirish Kulkarni since 2013 and have deep respect for his vision, passion, patience and commitment to positively impacting football in the country. Also, I played a critical role in facilitating the relationship between DSK Group and Liverpool FC and helped to establish the initial phase of the Academy so I'm already quite comfortable with the different facets of this project.   

This is truly a “dream job” for anyone looking to contribute to the Indian football industry and I feel honoured to have been offered the opportunity to oversee and lead all of DSK’s football operations moving forward. It is actually the perfect place for me to begin to integrate and implement much what I’ve learned while working in football in the US and India over the past 13 years. 

Change #3 – I Have Moved to Pune, Maharashtra
After 7 long years as a resident of Delhi NCR, I have packed my bags and moved to Pune. Pune is a young, vibrant city which should be perfect place for Avantika and I as we begin our married life together.

I must say that I’m thrilled about these changes as I’ve already seen my motivation, confidence levels and external perception in this industry increase over the past few weeks. 

I’m sure I’ll be sharing plenty more about my new life and role with DSK so stay tuned...

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