If some people are destined to take up a particular course of action in life, then the case of Goa born Jeroninio Francisco Torquato Almeida, also called Jerry Almeida, certainly falls in that category.
The 42-year-old says he had detected this purpose while working with commercial sex workers and their children, “with whom I used to play cricket and marbles”. So, at 17 years of age when Jerry wrote his first mission statement while working as a volunteer at a college social service group, his journey of becoming a motivational speaker and leadership coach began.
“I always believed that everyone can be a leader, a hero, a volunteer and a champion of change for someone or the other. Also, if each of us does something to make a difference, then together as one, we can right every wrong and create an egalitarian and responsible society,” shares Gurgaon-based Jerry, who has specialised over the years in management, building businesses, sales, marketing and brand strategy.
After a successful stint at launching brands and earning profits, Jerry gave up a brilliant corporate career in Mumbai when he was 30, and made a transition from the profit to the not-for-profit sector as the CEO of iCONGO. The turning point that led to the creation of iCONGO, says Jerry, was when he came across a scam-riddled NGO sector in the country.
What is iCONGO
iCONGO is an international confederation of NGOs, explains Jerry, which is now like an umbrella under which various social ventures work.
One of them is iDishoom.com, one of India’s first people reporting and whistle-blowing social media portal, that had been hacked and re-launched this September 28. HallaBolo.com is another of Jerry’s works, a web-based media platform to help people combat corruption in their daily lives by uploading an act of corruption that is then followed up by concerned authorised government bodies.
“Besides these initiatives, I have started large public movements such as the Karmaveer Global Awards for social justice and citizen action, and the Right Every Wrong movement that encourages people to make a difference by their simple actions.
The awards ceremony is accompanied by the Right Every Wrong conclave in which socio-political issues are discussed and ideas translated into action with support from UN, ministries, Planning Commission and other bodies to combat corruption, encourage volunteering, generate skill-based jobs for poor youth and address communal issues,” says Jerry.
The conclave has been rechristened as REX and stands on the pillars of Right Every Wrong action, empowering ideas and social innovations and entrepreneurs.
Who is Jerry’s champion of change?
Jerry comes up with a heart-warming tale, “One of the champions of change in my life was a dog named Linda Almeida. In my days as a bachelor, I had a habit of picking up puppies from the street, feeding them and then getting friends and neighbours to adopt them by convincing them they were good breeds. Linda was one such puppy that I picked when I found her dying of starvation, mange, conjunctivitis and human abuse.”