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Wisdom Stories Ep.14: Dr Girdhar Gyani

Cultural expectations surrounding the elderly are being challenged today, and with good reason!

While it was the norm to slow down and retreat into a quieter life post-retirement, more men and women are finding purpose and joy in doing the opposite.

WisdomCircle honours such men and women by shining light on their journey through an inspiring series called “Wisdom Stories”. These people have successfully smashed stereotypes, and their stories remind us that life should be lived to the fullest, no matter what age or stage.

“I started my professional journey as a lecturer in an Engineering College and wanted to pursue research. As luck would have it, I got selected as a Scientist in Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) where I spent 10 years on complex military aviation technology at HAL Nasik. 

Life works in mysterious ways. At DRDO, I was expecting an out-of-turn promotion, which did not materialize. I took this to heart and quit, to join the Ministry of IT in 1990. My first task was to establish a laboratory at Guwahati, which was a big challenge as Assam was a volatile region in those days. I often wondered if I made a wrong career choice. I kept motivating myself and in 3 years, the laboratory was fully functional. I was rewarded by way of appointment as Founding Director of the Indian Institute of Quality Management at Jaipur, where we trained more than 15000 professionals across industries.

“Ideally one should never think of retiring; only change the pace and mode of work”

Success at IIQM got me the prestigious assignment of Secretary General, Quality Council of India. Based on a question raised in the Parliament in 2005, I was tasked to establish a national accreditation system (NABH) for hospitals, to attract medical tourism. NABH dramatically changed the healthcare landscape in India. The first five hospitals received accreditation certificates from Dr APJ Kalam, President of India. One conversation with Dr Kalam broadened my horizon, based on which I truly began to apply quality in multidisciplinary sectors aimed at national well-being. It was through this assignment that I am often referred to as ‘Quality Man of India’.

I superannuated in 2012 and was subsequently offered the role of CEO of a new association of hospitals (AHPI). One can call this my second inning. I am privileged to have served in three domains – engineering, quality, and healthcare. I try to remain relevant by learning & contributing. Ideally one should never think of retiring; only change the pace and mode of work.

Dr Girdhar Gyani, Director General at Association Of Healthcare Providers (India)

Photo and Interview Credits: Saonli Sen Choudhury of WisdomCircle

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