Ashok Kumar E R learned early to ‘pay it forward’
IT’S not everyday that a nonprofit gains a successful, high-profile financial wizard at its helm. So at GiveIndia, we are chuffed about our new President Ashok Kumar E R.
Ashok comes with a strong track record of building high growth businesses, having held various leadership positions in companies such as Wipro, Intel, Airtel and Cisco. His most recent stint was as Co-founder and CEO of fintech start-up Scripbox, an online investment platform that has helped millions make smart financial decisions.
Besides running successful start-ups, Ashok also runs marathons and is passionate about keeping fit – physically and mentally.
If you would like to know more about Ashok’s career, please read here. Today we have asked him five oddball questions to get an insight into GiveIndia’s newest team member – beyond the scope of his professional life.
Tell us about one instance of generosity and compassion that really moved you or one you would like to emulate.
It was 1989. My 9th grade school teacher Mr Albert Sir saw me eagerly looking at many books at our school book fair in 1989. I had no money to buy even one – so he bought one for me though I knew he was making just enough to make his living. It must have been a stretch for him to spend. Not just that, he used to visit my home in Madurai regularly and pray for me before almost every major exam without expecting anything in return.
I am still in touch with him. His unconditional generosity, love and genuine care of his students is something I would like to emulate. Whenever I have asked him what I could do for him, his answer has always been “Pay it forward, son”.
Name one book you would take with you to read on a solo desert island holiday. Why this particular book?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This is the story of a young shepherd named Santiago who is able to find a treasure beyond his wildest dreams. Along the way, he learns to listen to his heart and, more importantly, realises that his dreams, or his Personal Legend, are not just his but part of the Soul of the Universe. This book reinforces in me Coelho’s wisdom: “No matter what you do, make sure that you do it because it is what your heart and soul desire.”
What you are really good at and really bad at?
Whatever I choose to pursue, I am really good at being patient, calm and persistent. I am a lover of harmony in both personal and work relationships – that means, on the downside, I am really bad at being in the conflict zone.
If you could invite three people not normally within your reach to dinner who would they be and why? And what would be on the menu?
Bill Gates: He is a role model for me in many ways. After building and scaling Microsoft to a multi-billion company, in the year 2000 aged 45 he decided to focus on charity and making the world a better place.
Warren Buffett: I learnt the concept of “get rich slow” from his books and philosophies. The fact that he decided to give away his wealth for philanthropy purposes really impressed me.
Jeff Bezos: Scaling globally through “Customer Obsession”, will learn a lesson or two on how to scale ” giving” globally.
On the menu I’d have vada pav and thandai to introduce them to India’s street burger and drink!
What is one standout moment in your career that you are really proud of?
As an entrepreneur, scaling Scripbox to help many many indian families to start their journey towards financial freedom is my standout moment. 70% of them are first time investors and about 30% of them are women. While Scripbox won many industry awards and recognitions, to me, the best award has been customer love and their blessing for us to get them started on their investment journey.
Established in 2000, GiveIndia is India’s most trusted giving platform for donors. Our community of 1.5M+ donors and 150+ corporate partners have supported 1,400+ nonprofits, impacting 8M+ lives across India.