By Umesh Vallipuram

About Centre For Leadership and Innovation

Leaders aren't born, they are nurtured and developed. This is the driving force behind Centre for Leadership and Innovation, which was launched in January, 2012. CFLI was founded with the mission to build and promote leadership and innovation amongst Tamil Canadians and other multicultural communities. It is registered as a Non-Profit organization

Times of great change require leaders who recognize and seize opportunities for innovation, a catalyst for a successful and rewarding future. CFLI's goal is to provide an inspiring and supportive environment that will help individuals become leaders and leverage their full potential to bring about innovative change.

To achieve this goal, our focus is to provide a continous learning environment through a holistic training approach to nurture and develop the following skills amongs our future leaders.

          *  Public Speaking
          *  Leadership qualities
          *  Self-confidence
          *  Communication and writing skills
          *  Presonal responsbilities
          *  interpersonal and teamwork skills
          *  Political and social awareness

Youth Leadership Program(YLP)

In April 2012 we launched our first YLP initiative, a public speaking forum for kids aged 10-16. The goal of this program is to help kids become strong leaders of tomorrow, with primary focus on public speaking skills, something the school curriculum don't focus enough on. The response was tremendous and since then we've held 6 more sessions that ran duration of 4 months each. Each session consists of 8 classes, , for 2 hour duration, and held every other week. The final classes for each term are held in a large venue, where the participants are given the opportunity to speak and Short Documentary Film Challenge

About the Founders of CFLI

Kumar Ratnam, Sivan Ilanko and I are the co-founders of CFLI. Sivan Ilangko and I qualified as Chartered Accountants in Canada, and Kumar Ratnam is an IT consultant. For volunteers like us, it is so rewarding to see the difference the YLP program is making in these kids; kids who were shy and introverted blossoming into confident public speakers. All three of us grew up in Srilanka, where we weren't taught public speaking or leadership skills. When we entered the work force in Canada, it was a significant hurdle for us to overcome, as we were innately reserved and afraid to speak up. Well, we don't want our youth to face the same challenges. Our goal is to make a positive difference in their lives to empower them to create their own success.

Currently we have 3 sessions at varying levels, and we plan to add a beginner program in January 2014. Parents can sign up their children for this program through our website. For more information on the Youth Leadership Program, please visit our website at