HOW I GOT HERE – Luis Miranda

He is a dot connector, he can
make his point with the correct examples balanced with humour.
If put him in a spot, he will make it a comfortable one. He
leaves his mark on your mind, certainly has left it on mine.
Sharing his thoughts on the various dotsLuis Miranda
By: Meher Gandevia-Billimoria

I call myself
a dot connector because…
like connecting people. My biggest value add is opening new
opportunities for NGOs and donors. 
My involvement
with the social sector

to my wife, Fiona. Our whole family is involved in many of the causes
we work with.
along the way

balancing the heart
with the head – how can we bring in business practices to make the
NGO efficient, while at the same time retaining the soul of the NGO.
The role I
enjoy most

amazing people and experiencing the great work they do. It charges me
and makes me optimistic about the opportunities in India. We have
failed the poor by running stupid programmes that actually create
more harm by keeping them in poverty.
learning with social organisations/roles has be
that people do not want to be beggars.
They want respect and the opportunity to have a decent life. They are
perfectly capable of taking proper decisions on their own and
paternalism should be stopped.
Funding for
any social sector organisati
art. Some organisations have very good at fund raising by spinning a
great story. Others do fascinating work, but are useless at
converting their story into funds.
Social Impact
according to me i
over-hyped. It is necessary, but
is a much-abused word. Building a great road connecting two villages
to a market definitely creates social impact. Handing our free
clothes is not necessarily social impact.
My thoughts on
scaling u
is not mainstream. I am not convinced
that everyone needs to scale up; this decision should depend on the
DNA of the founder and team. What is more important is the quality
and the sustainability of the impact. 
The social
sector has evolved

poverty is a big business and tough questions should be asked about
who benefits more – the donor, the NGO or the beneficiary. 
Evolution of
any organisatio
is not easy. People need to be carried
If I could
change one thing about the social sector…
it would be
to pay people more. Why should those who help the poor be paid
My advice to
non-profit founders…
is to
stay the course. You are icons for us.
starting out in the social sector should…

not forget that transforming the
lives of their beneficiaries is the main reason for their existence
and that real success is when you become redundant in the community
that you serve.
The one person
who has inspired me…
my dad, who passed away recently. He taught me to genuinely care for
people and to stand up for what is right. He also passed onto me his
bald head and high cholesterol.
My greatest
that I trust people and
my greatest weakness

I trust people.
In my free
I like to be away from
crowds. I like to be on my own, even when I am in a crowd.
The best way I
deal with a difficult situation is…

to tackle it at the earliest in a fair manner. 
An incident
that changed my thinking…
was when
one of my mentors, Shekar, gave me the best advice I have received,
“Focus on the important things in life.” It brought in so
much clarity to my decision making. 
A book I would
recommend everyone should read

Economics”, which makes you relook at poverty and how the poor
see themselves. And a movie I would recommend is “Poverty Inc”
whic describes how doing good can actually do more harm. 
My greatest
support / inspiration comes from…
Fiona. She is my soul mate and biggest cheerleader and critic. One
day I hope to make her happy by cleaning up my study.
A day in the
life of Luis Miranda is…
different. It could involve discussions on
a variety of topics – education, rural transformation, TB treatment,
markets and incentives, infrastructure, hospitality and fund raising.
And there will be a lot of laughter and optimism. 

 Christmas to
me signifies…
joy and
simplicity. To be God, you don’t need to be born in a palace Nor do
you need to have a lot of money.
A gift I wish
Santa would bring…
someone who can clean up my desk and file my papers for the whole
year. It would make my wife so happy!
My favourite
Christmas carol that relates best to the social sector

Holy Night’ because it has a lovely tune and lyrics and is a song of
hope. My wife Fiona sings it beautifully. 
My three wise
men from the story of the nativity would b
Anu Aga, Amit Chandra and Azim Premji;
people who have inspired me with their unique gifts to the sector.
There are so many more inspiring people, but you let me list 3 only. 
A Christmas
tradition I try not to miss…
is being
with Fiona and the kids on that day. Being with family is so

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