“You have to get people talking the same language before you get them around the table” – Pakzan Dastoor

table blog post

“You have to get people talking the same language before you get them around the table” – Pakzan Dastoor

What a wonderful insight from the Dasra Foundation!

Dasra is an innovative foundation working on extreme social change in India.  I just heard them speak at an amazing conference at Stanford focusing on Indian philanthropy. Local Indians and Silicon Valley Indian entrepreneurs gathered together to discuss how to give intelligently.

Dasra’s strategic approach to social problems has dramatically increased the impact and scale of social change in India.  They helped take nearly 1000 nonprofits and socially conscious businesses to the next level. They have more than 28 research reports ranging from adolescent girls’ empowerment to child malnutrition and sports for development.

And Pakzan is right.   The Advisory Leader of Dasra knows that we need to collaborate, listen, and support one another in order to achieve true success.

So the “right language” is not really about a dialect.  It’s about our motivations.

Before we come to the table, we need to be on the same page.   That means our motives and aspirations are aligned.   Then we are really listening!  And the conversation builds to higher levels to serve the world, our communities and our partnerships.

Are you facing a challenge in philanthropy today? Or how about your own life?

We can take Pakzan’s advice.   Let’s slow down. We can make sure we are listening.   Are we speaking the same language? You might both be speaking Hindi.  But if you don’t have the same values, your words will blow right one another.

To truly scale we must have the same values.      

We can be great social innovators, communicators and doers by speaking the same language: Listen, love and support your partner.


As India’s leading strategic philanthropy foundation, Dasra actively shapes the process of social change by forming powerful partnerships with funders and social enterprises. In the past 15 years, Dasra has been working towards building a ‘thriving ecosystem’ that enables knowledge creation, capacity building, strategic funding, and collaboration in order to touch and transform the lives of 800 million Indians. 

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