Interview with Vinay Pushpakaran | Communication Coach | Sales Strategist | Speaker | Co-Founder and CEO at Future Impact Learning

Vinay Pushpakaran

As part of our ongoing quest to get you meaningful and powerful stories from India and around the world, we invited yet another passionate entrepreneur Vinay Pushpakaran for an exclusive interview with BrilliantRead Media. He is a Communication Coach, Sales Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Mentor, and Leader. Vinay is the Co-founder and CEO of Future Impact Learning. Let’s learn more about his inspiring journey and his advice for our growing community!

Excerpts from our exclusive interview with Vinay:

We are aware of your contribution to the ecosystem, talk us through your background and your journey as an entrepreneur/coach, please;

First things first – I’m an accidental entrepreneur! I hail from Kerala, but grew up in Delhi and did all my schooling there. Right from my childhood, I was a very curious kid and loved gathering information and knowledge on as many topics as possible.

Be it Sports, Mythology, Politics, Current Affairs or Movies, I could hold a reasonable conversation on any of these. I devoured every book, magazine and comic book that I could lay my hand on. In fact, Dad used to make sure every new issue of Gokulam, Children’s World, Readers Digest and Champak reached home right away! 🙂 I would write voraciously too.”

But when it came to speaking up about something, I was tongue-tied. Part of the reason was the stammer which I had when I was in primary school. I did overcome that with therapy but it left a dent in my confidence to speak. Added to that was my lack of belief in my English. I would consciously avoid all opportunities of public speaking. I was short on confidence and that’s something that spills over into all spheres of your life.

But it all changed when I moved schools and went to the amazing Mount Carmel School where public speaking was an integral part of life.. After a series of failed and half-hearted attempts, I started enjoying it. I would grab every opportunity to speak and that led to leadership and more responsibilities. Interestingly enough, my confidence levels went up several notches and I excelled in my academics and my extra-curricular events too! I could also speak, persuade and communicate much better in different contexts.”

Post-school, engineering took me to Kerala where I did my B.Tech in EEE from the prestigious GEC Thrissur. But engineering was not something that held my interest for long. I wanted to pursue management and took the train from Thrissur to Goa, where I did my PGDM in Marketing from the Goa Institute of Management. From there started my corporate journey with United Spirits (The UB Group).

Everything was going well, until a cloudy evening in Kerala in 2012, during a holiday, when I helped a few college students to prepare for their placement interviews. They got the job! And I got a purpose! I knew the impact that communication and public speaking had on a student’s overall confidence and self-esteem as well as anyone else. That day in Kerala, I got the conviction that I could impart these skills in an engaging and effective manner to others. That was it! From there I started my entrepreneurial journey!

Left my corporate job, teamed up with a couple of my friends and Future Impact was born!

What attracted you towards entrepreneurship instead of a corporate career?

The freedom to explore. The freedom to make mistakes. And the freedom to write my own story. As I said earlier, I’m an accidental entrepreneur! Corporate life was not a bad experience at all, and I learnt the ropes of the business from some of the stalwarts of the industry.

But the moment I saw the impact that I could make by touching people’s lives and writing my own script for my career, the decision was not hard. Once I made up my mind, a lot of things fell into place. I got a passionate team that believed in public speaking as much as me.

In fact, one of my earliest students later went on to become a part of my team, as a trainer. Every year, when a new batch of students graduates from our Public Speaking Academy and later on, speaks confidently at different forums, it reaffirms our faith in our process and mission. Most importantly, when children who hesitate to even tell us their name at the beginning of the program, give a smashing speech in a debate towards the end, we feel blessed to have made a difference.

Vinay Pushpakaran

‘Future Impact Learning’ is such a unique name; talk us through more about it, please. Our audience would also love to know what kind of problem you are solving with the help of your startup?

Future Impact is the name that captures the soul of our business and encompasses our mission and the difference we want to make. Our vision is to create and nurture strong powerful voices that influence change positively. We believe that communication is one of the very few skills that will never go obsolete as long as people inhabit the planet. It’s a skill that helps people connect, convey and convince, be it in their personal life, career or business.

Powerful speakers to visionary leaders in the transition that we envision and we believe that public speaking and communication skills act as tools of empowerment in the process.

During this COVID-19 crisis, what are the measures you have undertaken to continue your business without disruption?

The Covid 19 crisis was an unprecedented event, but the lockdown was in some ways a blessing for us. We had been brainstorming for months about creating a digital version of our flagship speaking programs but it wasn’t given top priority. The Covid-19 crisis did that for us! Turned our calendar upside down and got us to sit down, fast track our research and come up with a brand new series of virtual camps, workshops and speaking programs.

Our speaking programs are all experiential and laced with activities, games and micro-events. So we went back to the drawing board and curated a whole new set of virtual activities that would be as effective as well as fun. We invested in learning the art of teaching through the cam and engaging a remote audience.”

These are some of the initiatives that we took to pivot during the crisis! But I can tell you that it was worth it. Through our virtual programs, we managed to reach children in more than 18 cities across 7 countries! We even got children from Brunei! So the disruption triggered a phase of learning and growth for us!

What are the business mantras you have embraced as you sought to establish your success story?

One single mantra – My product or service means nothing, until and unless I can make my customer’s life better in a way that others can’t. If my student doesn’t feel more confident about going up on stage and speaking with influence, it doesn’t matter what framework I use, what certifications I have or how amazing my classrooms are! It only matters how my trainee/mentee speaks after our coaching interventions.

How do you manage yourself and keep on going despite the challenges? What drives you?

Not just me, but I think the biggest driving forces for any entrepreneur are conviction in their purpose and the people around them. Every student of ours who grabs the mic and speaks without fear is testimony to that conviction. Challenges are a part and parcel of the journey.

They are inevitable. In fact, some days are hard and muddled with uncertainty. On those days, I have wondered – why don’t I quit and get back to a corporate job. But then the moment I set foot in front of an audience and know that I have made a difference, I feel my ikigai right then and there. When you believe in yourself and your mission, you also find the resilience in you to keep moving forward.

I spend as much of my free time with my family. We watch movies together, go for drives or visits to my hometown in Kerala. Driving is a huge stress buster for me and helps me declutter my thoughts. So frequent short breaks help me recharge my batteries and get back with renewed enthusiasm.

Vinay Pushpakaran

What are the three most important lessons you have learned building your startup?

As I said earlier, the first would be that the most important person in our business is our customer. The person who benefits from our existence. Focus on converting him to a raving fan, the sales will take care of itself.

Setbacks in business are like bouncers in a cricket match! There is one always round the corner. Sometimes you have to be flexible and evade them. Sometimes you have to take them on the body. But to win, you have to keep batting. The same goes for setbacks! You are always bigger than your setbacks.

People – People were, are and will always be the fulcrum of growth for any business. Technology, environment and methods may change and evolve, but the one constant is always the people – your employees, your customers and your stakeholders. The more we acknowledge and value people and relationships, the faster the business grows.

Please share with us – what has worked well for you so far?

We made a conscious decision to not be a jack of all trades. We are very specific about who we work with and what we deliver. I believe this focus is what has worked well for us. We are a holistic Public Speaking Academy. We work with both adults and children.

We have our own time-tested and proven process for coaching, training and mentoring. In fact, our 36-hour annual Public Speaking program is the first of its kind in the country. Our trainers work closely with each of our students and make sure that their individual fears and challenges are addressed.

At the end of every session, we share detailed feedback with the students about their strengths and way forward for the future. We also induct them to our public speaking community where they meet other young speakers like them from across the world. Our community for children ‘Speakers of Tomorrow’ has passionate children who participate in various challenges and tasks that help them to hone their public speaking skills.

In your opinion – what is more necessary: Idea or a good team for a successful startup?

I would say a good team! When you have a passionate like-minded team, a good idea starts looking great. My team is formed of a bunch of young enthusiastic individuals, most of them straight out of college or still balancing study and work.

Being a small team and working from home, cafes and makeshift offices, everyone often ends up doing everything. But they love speaking and they love working with children. In our team meetings, they come up with some truly disruptive ideas and some of these ideas go on to become our core training strategies. A good team makes a huge difference!

Vinay Pushpakaran

Given the rapid pace at which the world is changing, what are the leadership traits that are necessary for success?

I’m a huge believer in collaborative leadership. A bottom-up approach.

You are always positive and motivated, what keeps you going?

I’ve been a diehard cricket fan since I was 4! One thing it has taught me over the years is that the match is never over until the last run has been taken or the last wicket has fallen! The same applies in life and business too.

If your intent is pure and you want to serve people to the best of your ability, there is always a way out of every setback. We have failed several times, gotten rejected too. But whenever the chips were down, we found a new path clearing up. We thanked God Almighty and marched ahead.”

When the going gets tough, put your head down and work. There will always be a loose ball around the corner waiting to be hit for a six! That’s always been my mantra. And it keeps me going.

We would love to know your advice for all those starting out as an aspiring entrepreneur?

Before you start out with your business, know who your business will serve. Your target customer is the most important person in your business. Know him/ her really well. The success of your business will depend on how well you have added value to your customer’s life. Last but not the least, prepare yourself to handle setbacks. Even the best ideas start small and will meet roadblocks. But those are roadblocks. Not the end of the road. Keep going!


Follow Future Impact Learning At:
Instagram –
Facebook –
Follow Vinay At:
LinkedIn –
Instagram –
Facebook –
Please don’t forget to read – Interview With Vrushali Pradhan | Sales Professional | Promoter | Co-founder At Bizydale Nets, Bizydale Studios And AutoConnekt

BrilliantRead is committed to bringing stories from the startup ecosystem, stories that reshape our perspective, add value to our community and be a constant source of motivation not just for our community but also for the whole ecosystem of entrepreneurs and aspiring individuals.
Note: If you have a similar story to share with our audience and would like to be featured on our online magazine, then please write to us at [email protected], we will review your story and extend an invitation to feature if it is worth publishing.

Leave a Comment