Presidents Speech



Krishna Yerraguntla, PhD; CCC-A
Professor, Department of Speech and Hearing
School of Allied Health Sciences
Manipal Academy of Higher Education
Manipal-576 104
President of ISHA (2020 – 2021)


A pleasant evening to dignitaries on the dais, members of the association, awardees and invited guests,

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year 2020!!

At the outset, it is my duty to offer my pranams and acknowledge all those who have played a major role in my journey of life till date. What I am today is only because of the blessings, support and well wishes. First of all, the god Almighty, who gave me an opportunity to come to this beautiful world; then my spiritual gurus, The Mother and Sri Aurobindo for being with me always and guiding me in discharging my duties and focusing on the purpose of my life. My parents and brother who nurtured me in my earlier days of life; My school teachers, college Gurus who showed me the path of knowledge and wisdom; My friends, well-wishers who shared the ups and downs of my career and appreciated and reprimanded me as appropriate; My in-laws for their moral support. Finally, my close family, wife, daughter for their love, affection and support as I take up challenges in my professional life. I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of those individuals who challenged me in various stages of life, for its’ because of them that I have progressed in life.

Today is a memorable day in my life. Taking responsibility as the President of an organization of more than 50 years, is undoubtedly an anxious moment. The past presidents, EC members and senior members of this organization, have mentored and nurtured this organization during difficult times like their own child. They have gone an extra mile for its survival during its infancy and childhood, stood as a strong pillar during its stormy teenage period, and demonstrated progress during its adulthood. Now it is time for us to retrospect on what we have achieved so for and we have not. Given the generation gap, tsunami of technological advancements and members with varied emotions, it will be a real challenge to take up this coveted position.  The Mother, on 11 September, 1934 said, I quote “One has always something to learn and a progress to make, and in each circumstance we can find the occasion of learning the lesson and making the progress.” Unquote. Taking these words in its real sense, I take this as an opportunity to learn and progress. It was true, when I was elected as the general secretary of this association in 2014, and had to learn many things. I took up the opportunity and ensured that my initial ignorance did not hinder the progress of this great organization.  I owe it to all the EC members, seniors for their guidance and supporting me in discharging the duties. A big thanks to all of them.

I always felt as to how true is the statement “Think Big, Dream Big, Believe Big, and your results will be BIG”. However, in the current generation, I am a bit skeptical on the interpretation of the statement. We come across many unethical practices to achieve these BIG dreams. We utilize the technology advances as shortcuts to achieve BIG. We constitute groups and plan, not for growing BIG but for pulling down others. There is no doubt that, the key to our progress is to think BIG, but it should be in the right direction. Unless we all start thinking that ISHA should be on top and as the most preferred professional association in the world, we will never be able to achieve it. It is time for us to think, put our efforts together and find ways to make this thought a reality.  My first appeal to you all, especially to young professionals, is, “let us together Think BIG, Dream BIG, Believe BIG” about ISHA and I am sure that we will see it happen. Be it, in our face to face conversation, WhatsApp chat, face book, twitter, whatever the media be, let us create positive vibes about ISHA, take pride sharing our member’s success, bringing visibility to what we have achieved and not what we have failed to accomplish. Let us shun unproductive gossip in the social media, which can create a negative impact on our growth.

Dream BIG. Most of us, if not all are very good day/night dreamers. Our late people’s president, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam said “Dream is not that you see in sleep, dream is something that does not let you sleep”. Let us dream BIG, that is in the next 5 years, ISHA should be an organization with a membership of more than 10,000from the current less than 5000; Our corpus fund, currently short of one crore to more than 5 crores; ISHA’s voice, now barely heard to make a difference in advocacy of the profession in India to an organization with its positive key role in the policy making in India.  The key to achieve this is your active cooperation and support. Membership drive needs to be done at all the training institutes for the current students before they graduate and those graduates who have completed in the past.  Our corpus would grow by enhancing our income, attracting donations, installing new corpus fund opportunities and many more. We now have 12AA and are in the process of getting 80G. With the benefits and policies of Government of India, we should be able to attract more funds.

Believe BIG. Based on my experience and interaction with many seniors, juniors and students of our specialty, all are practicing this to its core. Everyone believes that as Audiologists and or Speech Language Pathologists, we are great. We assess and dispense hearing aids, evaluate and provide appropriate management of individuals with hearing and communication disorders across the life span. It is time that we take a call on our role as an important team member in the health care system. We need to believe BIG on our professional role, as specialists in our areas and not replacing others.

ISHA is our home. Over the past 50 years, we have seen many of our members and fellow professionals go to the nook and corners of the world in search of knowledge and better prospects. Many have been successful in getting what they desired. We fight as well as appreciate each other, we give constructive criticism, we share our sorrows and failures. Let us groom these and not otherwise. Now is the time to care and share. You can contribute your expertise by participating in research activities, webinars, as EC members and even as volunteers to the various committees of ISHA. My appeal to all the members who have succeeded in their dreams and well settled in professional life, please share your knowledge, skills with ISHA and its members. With your support, we can start mentoring programs for the young graduates to realize aspirations in their academic, clinical, research pursuits.

There is no dearth of dreaming big. In your efforts of dreaming BIG, don’t ever step on to unethical ways; fight when warranted, be submissive when needed, be aggressive as the situation demands but find alternate ways to ethically achieve the BIG goal. As you are all aware, ISHA and its members are facing many challenges. Let us all together fulfill our dreams in the best possible way. Let us cross the barrier together when needed. TEAM effort works.

I would like to draw the attention of millennium members, that knowledge is ocean. Degrees you earn are just drops in the ocean of knowledge. With your BASLP or Master degree, your professional journey has just started. You have a long way to go. Do not stop your journey of acquiring knowledge and expertise. Let people recognize your contribution to the society, let your achievements speak for yourselves, let fellow health care professionals consider you as an important team member.  Your degrees or few letters such as Dr. before your name are not significant. It is your contribution; the differences you make in their lives will matter. Let’s believe in change, Let’s believe in change for better tomorrow, Let’s believe in better tomorrow for better society. Let’s contribute our bit. You will get your due recognition as Doctor, Best professional, Best Teacher, Best clinician, Best researcher, whatever it may be.

One of the visionary leaders said “Aspirations without preparations will simply give you, life full of frustrations. Develop yourself today!” We all have aspirations; organizations too have aspirations. Organization’s aspirations are driven by its members. Identity or branding as is known in marketing terminology is vital. Branding can be created by Quality of services, Trust you build, Loyalty you show, Identity you keep and people’s perception. Professional identity is created through one's beliefs and attitudes, values, motives and experiences through which individuals define themselves, in their current or anticipated professional life. John Wooden stated “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

Be yourself– bring authenticity to your role.
Take pride in what you do – find the value in what your job delivers and be proud of it.
Be of service – how you can help others in the course of your working day?
Do it better – challenge yourself to improve and take inspiration from the people around you.
Discover the Purpose – finding meaning beyond rupees and dollars.

Dear All, in this journey of my presidential tenure, I seek your cooperation, support, constructive criticism, guidance, achievable thoughts to take ISHA and its members to a stage where, society, industry and government realize the differences we make to the needy.

Thank you.
Jai Hind.