DEARBORN - Late last month, H. H. Radhanath Swami made a historic visit to Ford Motor Company – sponsored by the Ford Asian Indian Association and coordinated by Guru Palaniappan, supervisor, Product Development Design.
Radhanath Swami (Richard Slavin), who was born and raised in suburban Chicago during the 1960s and marched with civil rights leaders for the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr., lived in India for many years as a monk and later returned to America to share the sacred knowledge and wisdom he learned from the holy men he met during his journey. He has been a guest speaker in universities such as Harvard, MIT, Columbia and Stanford and in corporations such as HSBC, Microsoft, Intel and Oracle and now at Ford Motor Company.
Swami was cordially welcomed to the Ford event by James VanSlambrouck, director, Product Development Quality. The well attended event provided just standing room only for attendees at the Research and Innovation Center auditorium where the event was held.
The Ford Connection
Speaking on the topic ‘Finding Unity in Diversity,’ Swami began his talk by recalling his strong ties to Ford Motor Company and Henry Ford II. His father owned the largest Ford dealership in Chicago during the late 1950s, when times were tough and Edsel sales were soft. He recalled how this challenging experience taught him valuable lessons for life.
During the discussion, Swami introduced the notion of equality while maintaining respect for diversity by recalling several instances from his own experiences. He explained the necessity of all social occupations and diversities to operate simultaneously without claim to superiority for each is responsible as the other for social harmony and prosperity.
Building an Inclusive Culture
Having captivated an audience filled with a variety of cultures and nationalities, Swami shared additional personal experiences further illustrating the culture of unity and how to recognize equality despite being presented in differing circumstances across the world.
At the end of the talk, he was complemented by a thunderous applause and was presented a beautiful silver memento with the Ford logo insert by VanSlambrouck. The piece was designed and fabricated by Don Wood from Ford's Fabrication and Mill Shop.
The event concluded with a lunch of pizzas and samosas where attendees had an opportunity to meet Swami in person as well as get an autographed copy of his book, 'The Journey Home – Autobiography of an American Swami.' Later in the day, he also visited the Ford Dearborn Proving Grounds and Ford's Virtual Reality Technical Center.
Several guests shared their heartfelt thanks for the inspiring and enlightening talk. Below is a sampling of those sentiments:
"I actually waited around at the end of his presentation and was one of if not the last person in line to personally thank him for his inspiring and encouraging discourse. It moved me on a personal level and I am so grateful that I took the time to attend this event. I am looking forward to reading his book."
- Maryann Scofield, Corporate Economics and Strategic Issues Office
"I was very honored to meet the Swami. He is a very inspirational speaker and I am amazed at how he lives his life. It really takes perseverance and dedication, not to mention the courage it takes to go against society's "normal" lifestyle. I was so glad that I met him."
- Donald Wood, manager, Ford Fabrication and Mill Shop
"It was a pleasure meeting the Swami. I am reading his book now and finding out we have much in common when we were younger. Very inspirational."
- Kevin Markham, tech specialist, Dearborn Proving Ground
"I found much of what the Swami said about love being very similar to what I have read in numerous books recently. However, the fresh perspective and reminder were very powerful. (I need constant reminders to counteract the weapons of mass distraction that he mentioned.)"
- Ellen Barnes, technical expert, Safety Statistical Methods
Click here for a full video of the event
Click here for the pictures from this event