Sambad CEO Conclave-2022: Panelists deliberate on strategies post pandemic and beyond

Bhubaneswar:  With insightful deliberations and panel discussions among seasoned entrepreneurs from several corners of the country, Sambad Group on Friday hosted Sambad CEO Conclave-2022 at Hotel Swosti Premium in the Odisha Capital.

IAS Hemant Sharma, Principal Secretary to Government of Odisha, Industries Department, Principal Secretary to Government of Odisha, SDTE Department, Chairman of IPICOL and IDCO, graced the conclave as chief guest.

Monica Nayyar Patnaik, Managing Director of Sambad Group welcomed the entrepreneurs, penalists, moderators and guests with an address in which she narrated how the conclave was conceptualized.

“Sambad Group has come up with a CEO Conclave for the first time. The idea behind this was to initiate conversations that would deliberate some insights and come up with some interesting deliberations that we may act upon.”

Talking about global economic despondency and the ‘new normal’ amidst COVID-19 pandemic, she said, “COVID-19 has been an epic test for the strength and determination for millions of people across the world, including all of us.”

Extending gratitude to the CEOs of several entrepreneurial establishments for their presence at the conclave, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Editor of Sambad and Chairman of Sambad Group, said, “Sambad Group believes in doing new things time and again. In the process, it explores several other new things which it later shares with the society.”

IAS Hemant Sharma began by narrating the adversities people had to face on social, personal and professional fronts due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Trade, commerce and business run countries and the pandemic suddenly trembled them all,” he said.

“Today, we are witnessing ‘pockets of pandemic’ at several corners of the world. A pocket of pandemic in one part of the country, affects the economic stability of another in some way or the other,” Sharma narrated.

“The world had always been interconnected but now we know, beyond pandemic, the world is more integrated and interconnected. There are always opportunities coming from adversities and real entrepreneurs and businessmen are those who can smell, sense and see an opportunity where none appears to be apparent,” he added.

Giving an insight to the positive aspect on the pandemic, Sharma said, “Today’s new normal is that opportunities which are there in our comfort zone are not necessarily opportunities for us and they could be elsewhere.”

The evening carried on with three sessions of panel discussions. The first session was on the topic- ‘No longer Tomorrow. It’s today.’  Pramod Kumar Satapathy, Executive Director of Rourkela Steel Plant, Rakesh Patnaik, CEO (India Projects) – Infracorp, Bahrain, Suresha G, Arcelor Mittal/Nippon Steel Executive Director (Odisha Assets), Keshav Rao, Director (Personnel) – Mahanadi Coalfields Limited and Swarup Mohanty, CEO – Mirae Asset were the panelists for the discussion which was moderated by Jajati Karan, Editor-in-Chief – Ommcom News. P.L. Haranadh (IRTS) Chairman, Paradip Port Authority made address on the theme.

“During the pandemic period, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited was not affected by the pandemic. It’s production and dispatch continued unhindered. This is the reason why we could meet the coal shortage last year for which power crisis could be avoided,” said Keshav Rao.

Pramod Kumar Satapathy said, “We had to scale down productions during the pandemic as demand was low. The pandemic gave an opportunity to upskill our workforce and overhaul machinery and we produced liquid oxygen to be used for medical purpose during this lean phase.”

“Despite the third wave of COVID-19, RSP registered a record sales of over Rs.1 lakh crore during FY-21-22. This was the highest among all PSUs in the country,” he added.


                                     Panel Discussion on ‘No longer Tomorrow. It’s today’


Suresha G said, ” We saw a large number of labourers/workforce migrating to their respective hometowns for which we had to deal with such crisis in a way of training the local people for their skill development. We also produced liquid oxygen and supplied to various hospitals. In addition to those we also set up 200-bedded hospital near our plant site.”

“No one would have ever imagined that car sales would be affected due to shortage of chips. This pandemic has made us realise that it is the chief technical officer. The pandemic has changed the way people were investing earlier. They invested a lot in SIPs, in stock market and digital or cryptocurrency is also being looked upto by many,”said Swarup Mohanty.

“Pandemic has dealt a blow to the economy. Inflation is rising and we are going to face stagflation in coming years. The effect is going to be there for long. Pandemic has boosted e-commerce. Now, people are used to online shopping. We can see less people visiting malls now-a-days.  Retail outlets will have to re-purpose their strategies. But, my personal view is that you don’t get that shopping experience in online shopping,” said Rakesh Patnaik.


The second session of discussion was on ‘Smart Strategy for Smart Consumers’. M. Shenbagam, CEO – TPCODL, P. Chandrasekhara Reddy, Senior Vice President – Freedom Oil (GEF India), Sakti Swarup Mishra, Founder, CEO – Capdeal and  Sudhakar Rao, Director – ICFAI Group came together as the panel members for the discussion. Kamalakanta Dash, Senior Project Consultant – Ernst and Young was the moderator.

Sudhakar Rao said, “Consumer behaviour is changing because consumer’s profile is changing and the environment is quite different now. The changes are faster and thus our responses towards them are changing. The attention spans of students have come down. Now they have to understand the challenges they are facing amidst this new normal. Thinking differently helps us in that case so we could help them better. Our Learning Management System (LMS) helped us to cope with the online education better.”


                             Panel Discussion on ‘Smart Strategy for Smart Consumers’


M. Shenbagam also emphasised on the importance of monitoring how the modern consumers behave.

“The ecosystem is entirely created for the customers. So. it’s easy for them to access and connect with us,” he said.

Shakti Swarup Mishra said, “Purchasing a property would be extremely difficult if you think from a customer’s point of view. Today’s customers are more informed and tech savvy. So, it is essential to be professionally transparent so the customers believe in us and map the customer’s requirement.”

P. Chandrasekhara Reddy said,” The way the digital consumers think is completely different. So, we made digital focused campaigns.”


The third session was on ‘Evolving a balance: Personally and Professionally.’ Abinash Samal, Managing Director – Empreo Group, Lipsa Hans, Director – Chandi Bhandar, Sofia Firdous, Director – Metro Group and Swoyan Satyendu, COO – ODM Educational Group were panelists on the discussion. It was moderated by Swastika Panda, News Producer of Kanak News.

                      Panel Discussion on ‘Evolving a balance: Personally and Professionally’


Abhinash Samal said, “We CEOs have two families. One is professional and another personal. While we have to juggle between the two families, we tend to spend more time with the former.”

Lipsa Hans said, “I don’t think that there is a work-life balance.  If you identify with your work it seems to get integrated.”

Sofia Firdous talked about the importance of ‘me-time’. “Your personal space is important for your growth as well. It certainly depends on how you prioritize things but it is also very important to be happy because it’s extremely necessary to be in a good state of mind so one can manage work and the employees along with fulfilling personal life.”

Swoyan Satyendu said his personal life is a subset of professional life. “Balancing is easier when we understand everyone around us,” he mentioned.

Talking about how they coped with the professional adversities amidst the pandemic, the panelist agreed that the adversity opened a window of opportunities where they got to take a moment, re-evaluate things and add new technologies in their workforce.


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