Nick Klotz has been part of SLI for over a year now. A British - Australian by origin and an Aurovillian of recent times, he has been closely associated with several initiatives in Auroville that are centered around social enterprises, be it the Bamboo Centre, Wellpaper, EcoFemme or Komali MediClown Academy. He had been part of the SEDAB project and continued a mentoring relationship with the project manager of SEDAB, Mr. Parthasharathy. Nick was invited to be part of the Executive Committee of SLI in June this year by the Executives and Executive Committee.
His passion was in social enterprises and he provided his skills, knowledge, networks and vast experience to the young entrepreneurs in Auroville to promote new ideas and persons. So, when SLI came into the new campus and he started to come for some of the programmes, he quickly realized the advantage of the Institute as an idea and started to spend more time at the Institute, interacting, working with and guiding the participants. Slowly he developed an independent relationship with each one of the members in the SLI team and was a mentor for many of them individually. He cared for each one of them in an unique manner and would always talk about their potential and the capacity that needs to be manifested. Even during his hospitalization, he would talk about the hidden talents within the team that needs to be encouraged and manifested.
Though he called himself a "Socialist" often, he believed in markets having to become level playing fields and the capacity of the villagers to be able to compete and provide products and services of high quality in the global market space. So, almost all his programmes were in helping the small village community products in the market. He was a faculty for the programmes on Marketing, Branding, Packaging and Labeling apart from being a resource person for the monthly Clinic for Community Enterprises.
He was extremely generous in his praise for people and initiatives he promoted. "This is the best!", "That is brilliant!", "Fantastic idea!", "Great, that is the way to go!", he would exclaim often surprising the recipient with the enthusiasm of his response as much as his positiveness towards the responses. He recognized that there was much encouragement required between having a good idea and putting effort behind it and executing it. He would celebrate the simplest of ideas from the ordinary people that gave them confidence to move forward.
He often clearly differentiated between Marketing and Sales and maintained though he did plan and strategies, he was essentially a sales person. He would often talk about sales techniques and was quite proud of any efforts that boosted the sales of the village community products. "those girls, they know how to sell!, they are good!!", he would compliment the sales girls at the Kamalam SEDAB outlet whom he had trained at one time into sales techniques. When he was asked to pen his note on SLI for the first year anniversary issue, he decided he would write about Chandra Amma, the elderly lady who made tea for everyone in the office. He had high regard for almost everyone who articulated less and who performed their work with commitment.
A stickler to punctuality, he often would be the early to SLI, being at the office sharp at 9 and thereby inspiring younger colleagues to come at that hour when the office started. He always researched people before hand meeting them thereby ensuring that he knew more about them and prepare accordingly. When he learnt that the new Auroville Secretary was a good scrabble player, for almost 4 months, Nick started to practice scrabble on his phone just in case the Secretary were to start a scrabble club. Irony, this habit came in handy while he was hospitalized as he had to spend many hours in the hospital bed, he continued playing scrabble in his phone.
A warm and doting host, he would fuss about and ensure that individual tastes and needs are catered to when he hosted anything, be it just a dinner or a week long trip - which he hosted for the SLI team at his farm in Wayanad. He loved to cook at dinners and came up with exotic dishes sometimes and would always prepare well in advance and buy all the materials for cooking the same and ensure that he served it with warmth and flair.
He would always ensure that the small honorarium that was given to him went to support some other cause that he felt was worthwhile. He often said that he was fortunate to not need the money and if other worthy ideas can be supported, then, all the much better. Just a month before his accident he sponsored an upcoming artiste to draw portraits of all the SLI staff as a possible exhibition material for the 50th year celebration of Auroville.
It is a sad day for SLI that Nick developed several complications and died yesterday. He was 63 and not at the age to go. He had met with an accident on the 31st of July and was in the hospital most of August and September. He was recovering from the surgery on his knee when other complications were identified in his body that eventually proved to be fatal. We are SLI are at a shock and it will take awhile for us to recover from this loss. We are happy that we could be of some little assistance to him during his health struggle over the last couple of months.
We will miss you Nick and there will be always a place for you in all our hearts and a space in the SLI institution for you.
- Team SLI | 26th Sept 2016