Governing Council of Custodians (GCC) — comprising the Advisory Board — the President and The Founder and CEO of Striking Ideas
Raymond N Bickson is a global professional who has served the interests of many countries to further progress in travel and tourism with his expertise in the hospitality industry. Raymond has worked in multinational global corporations. In his outstanding 40-year distinguished career, he has contributed to the hospitality industry immensely. Raymond has influenced the travel and tourism industry to help enhance the inclusive and sustainable growth potential of the Hospitality and the Travel & Tourism sector. He has served on industry bodies — such as the WTTC, the International Advisory Board of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) in Switzerland, and a decade-long contribution to global luxury by serving The Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) Executive Committee; and many others. Raymond continues to shape the conversation at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) as The Board of Trustee.
Raymond has translated value in business roles with 27 years in management positions with the Rafael Group Hoteliers and Regent International Hotels. He has brought his rich experience in shaping the conversation with the Boards and stakeholders for over 12 years in heading the Tata conglomerate's hospitality business under The Indian Hotels Co Ltd (IHCL), comprising Taj Hotels, Resorts, and Palaces. He grew the IHCL footprint by 2X from 67 locations to 137. He created several IHCL brands under his leadership, inspiring over 30,000 employees and an expanse of operations and business development efforts that spanned over 25 countries, with a sustained revenue of billion-dollar and managed shareholder expectations with the board and Chairman for over a decade. Raymond executed the directive of the Chairman and Board of Directors for its strategies with an able team he built despite perils, impediments, and headwinds in many unfathomable hurdles beyond economic downturns and challenges. One captured in The Harvard Business School that grapples with the challenges faced during and after the 26/11 crisis faced by the Taj in its case study for its students and global executives attending the Harvard Advanced Management Program. Raymond has garnered numerous awards and accolades; that is a testament to his leadership for the organizations he has led, and many bestowed upon him personally for the immense value that he has unlocked.
Satyendra Kumar has enhanced the quality systems for world-class global organizations with his contributions for over 40 years. He has served on several industry bodies and has received numerous awards in shaping the conversation for progress with his deep understanding of the systems view of an organization that is a precondition for nurturing a culture of excellence. Kumar today continues his passion by helping organizations strengthen their systems maturity by providing his rich experience as an Independent Advisor and Consultant to several large and medium scale institutions and enterprises since 2013.
Kumar was the Global Head and Senior Vice President– Productivity & Quality, Technology Tools & Software Reuse at Infosys Limited ( 2000 – 2013). He has worked as Vice President at IMR Global, the USA, between 1998 and 2000. As Deputy Chief Executive for Tata Quality Management Services – Tata Group between 1996 and 1998, he provided an intellectual impetus in laying the foundation for instituting the Tata business excellence initiative. Kumar's rich experience spans his consulting expertise to over 50 national and multi-national clients in areas of Business Excellence, Operational Efficiencies, Customer Satisfaction Management, Business Continuity Management, Project and Program Management, and Quality Management. He has served in many Boards and Panels such as Board member ( QuEST USA), On the Panel of Judges - Wisconsin State Award ( USA), Administrative Reforms Committee of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and Chief Technical Advisor to the Confederation of Indian Industry – Institute of Quality. Has been a recipient of IEEE-Software Engineering Institute ( Carnegie Mellon University) International award (2011) and honored with the "Life Time Achievement Award for Quality and Business Excellence "by an IT industry association.
Sunil serves on the boards of several international companies including Tata International West Asia, Dubai. Until recently, he was the Resident Director of Tata Sons for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). He has developed a deep understanding of regional culture, geopolitics, and business opportunities. In his tenure, ten new Tata companies have established their presence in MENA. In addition, Sunil has led Tata Group's strategy for theGulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Turkey, Iran, and Egypt.
Prior to this role, Sunil served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Tata Business Excellence Group (TBExG) – the organization responsible for group-wide implementation of the business excellence, innovation, sustainability, safety, and corporate governance programmes. One of his most significant achievements was to spearhead globally, for over 100 Tata companies, the implementation of the Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM) – a transformational and holistic improvement programme fashioned on USA’s Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence Programme.
His global contribution and thought leadership in business excellence was recognized by the Malcolm Baldrige Foundation which led to his appointment to their board in 2015. In 2009, Business Week recognized him as one of the ‘25 Masters of Innovation’ in the world. He is elected as an academician in the prestigious International Academy for Quality (IAQ) and serves as the Vice Chair of IAQ’s Think Tank on Quality and Sustainability.
Sunil has also delivered keynote addresses on the subjects of business excellence and innovation at the Harvard Business School, the University of Chicago – Booth School of Business, ASQ’s Global Conference in USA and in several other international organizations in Singapore, Sweden, UAE, and Saudi Arabia.
Sunil has served on various Tata company boards and advisory bodies such as the International Council of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Advisory Board of CII Institute of Quality and ASQ’s Global Advisory Council in USA. He has also regularly interacted with think tanks and policy makers of various countries. His international exposure and balanced experience in business transformation and business development put him in a unique position to advise companies and their leadership in creating value through business transformation, sustainability, and international expansion. He is the Founder and CEO of Ignite Excellence Advisory – A Dubai based Advisory Company.
Raghu Kalé is an accomplished communications professional who has positively impacted business outcomes by supporting corporate and operational strategy and leading innovative initiatives. He has worked with corporate board members and business leaders, helping alter the conversations for leadership with his creative and divergent thinking. His systems thinking approach in leading communication has helped reconfigure efficiency and productivity by developing a trans-disciplinary understanding of the realities of running and changing a business, and making sustainable impacts to deliver performance — while being mindful of the scalability for developing future organizational capabilities.
In his experience, spanning over three decades, he has worked in technology companies, corporate services, consulting, hospitality, and advertising. His divergent thinking brings out stunning and striking ideas rooted in experiences that find an expression in myriad, result-oriented business initiatives — in thought-provoking articles, original concepts, creative films, and books. His book Loyalty and Sacrifice: Ushering New Horizons for Business Leaders was endorsed with a Preface by the Lateral Thinking Guru Dr Edward de Bono, and a Foreword written by Global leader Ratan N. Tata emphasizing that in the new age of AI and hyper-personalized experiences; the old definition of customer loyalty was inadequate. Raghu's book provokes a departure from the industry norm that was adhered to for the past 200 years and redefined the term 'Loyalty.' The book outlines that Loyalty and Sacrifice are inseparable. In the case of war, heroes, and employees, sacrifice is well recognized and celebrated. In the case of customers, the question is: are customers capable of sacrifice?
His ability to connect with people at the human level helps him draw out their deepest insights and opinions — a trait that is an asset in building compelling stories in the form of short documentary films and in helping authors share their narratives in bespoke publishing space that he leads as the FOUNDER and CEO of STRIKING IDEAS LLC that is engaged in introducing new vantage points by supporting corporate leaders with unique capabilities to achieve progress for business enterprises worldwide in consulting, publishing, and creative renditions to support the C-Suite.
Formerly, Raghu was Vice President of the Office of the Brand Custodian, Tata Sons, and supported brand and marketing thought leadership initiatives and worked across many positions within the Tata conglomerate that spans 100 countries with over 100 companies within its fold with over half a million employees. Insightful lessons and learning accrued in laying the foundations with members of the board and operating leaders and CEOs while participating in Tata Group transformation. Currently, he is the CEO of STRIKING IDEAS LLC and working on his next book, The Latency Factor.
Prashant heads the global role to engage with C-Suite and brings Striking Ideas’ unique capabilities to propel progress for business enterprises and clients worldwide. Prashant has a storied track record of engaging in advisory services in Business Excellence, Business Process Management, Innovation Management, along with Digital Transformation, Lean Six Sigma, Juran’s Problem Solving methodology supporting business leaders across Hospitality, Healthcare, Retail, and Real Estate. As Senior Director – Quality, Service Excellence, and Innovation for the Max Group, Prashant integrated Strategic Quality, Customer Experience, Excellence, and Innovation agenda for Max Group companies serving enterprises worldwide.
Prashant has over 30 years of expertise in the Quality and Customer Experience domain and has served as a Member – Of the National Board for Quality Promotion at the Quality Council of India, New Delhi, India. Vice-Chair – Quality Management Division - Global (Asia and Australia) at ASQ, USA. Chairperson - Organizational Excellence Technical Committee at ASQ’s Quality Management Division, USA. Member - National Executive Committee (NEC) of the CRM Academy of Asia. And was recognized – “50 Most Talented Quality Professionals” citation at the World Quality Congress June 2014 and Featured as one of the Frontrunners in the Executive Focus column of Business India.