It will be one year come August 28th 2015 since the name of the company, I First International was first conceptualised.
The name I First was actually coined as a phrase by my youngest brother who is mentally disadvantaged during our school days.
The phrase I First came about because my brother wanted to demonstrate when he was in his early teens that he was ahead of us. He knew he was disadvantaged and yet still told himself he had to be first. He made it his mantra to put any task assigned to him directly or indirectly that he would be the first and all of us other siblings and parent would be last (anything lesser than first was last to him). After accomplishing his feat, he would savour the moment by looking at us as if we were just not good enough. Something like the Mr. Bean movie, where Mr. Bean would look at those who make a mess-up and go tut! tut! tut! moving his head from left to right in utter dismay.
Over time, the phrase I First grew into something much more than just being ahead of the pack but also a demonstration that one was able to achieve many things against the odds. Eventually, I First to me as a person became more than just a phrase. It had an intense meaning. It became a phrase which meant putting others who are lesser or disadvantage ahead of us. For example, the marginalised, the abused, the homeless, the disadvantaged, the minority etc.
Then in 2014 came the turning point where I was at a crossroads where my passion for change to the nonprofit sector had to be harnessed and focussed towards a cause...it was at that time I was looking for a name for my company. One day, while talking to my youngest brother, he used the phrase on me because of something that to me at that moment seemed really trivial but to him was an issue. It took a while but suddenly, I realised like a jolt of electricity what I should name my company.
In a very strange way, the phrase which meant so much to my brother for so long was now equally important to me as it gave me a sense of motivation and a meaning.
Memories of being with my brother in his element of competition between siblings, looking at his achievement and watching him relish the moment of being ahead, "I First he used to say", was beckoning me in my mind.
It dawned upon me to turn what was a simple phrase to a mission of change. A mission to put the I First stamp to those who are behind and will probably never be heard.
Later, I also realised I could put I First to my learnings when dealing with management. I First was going to make the difference where others sought to provide guidance and support, by bringing the organisations that focus on their mission to stay ahead and be the I First!
Today I First is pushing the agenda to the social enterprise. The mission is to make sure the nonprofit and social enterprise sector management are on equal par as the corporate and are able to reach their goal first.
I First will not focus the mission just to one nation, one race or one religion, it will focus beyond one and be International in its outlook. It will be the multiracial organisation, multinational and multi religious organisation with an outlook and competency to focus internationally.
I First International would not stop and watch, it will continue to "do something about it". This is our first year, we are charting our second year and we want to see the world change for the better.
We need to "do something about it!"
Dr. Sudeep Mohandas is the Managing Director of I First International (IFI).
At IFI our mission is ensure the nonprofit and social enterprise sector is able to enjoy and afford the benefits of top quality professional consultative services, thereby being able to scale up their impact on the ground. We focus on the Management and the Board. We help you help others.