In Conversation With Aarati Joshi!
Aarati Joshi is Nepal Communitere’s Finance and Operations Manager, and brings a lot of experience and wisdom to the Nepal Communitere Family. Read more about the wonder woman who keeps Nepal Communitere running smoothly, while bringing joy to all the people around her with her warmth!
Can you tell me a little bit about your educational background and what you did before joining Nepal Communitere as our Finance and Operations Manager?
I did my undergrad in Delhi, and as soon as I graduated I came back to Nepal to work at Standard Chartered bank in Kathmandu. Back then, and perhaps even still, undergrads never got good positions so to get a good career I decided to get an MBA from the Indian campus of Western International University, which is based in Phoenix, Arizona. After the MBA I got a job at a large multinational company in India, where I worked for 2 years as their financial manager. The idea was to come back to Nepal, so I came back and worked at Sunrise Bank as their marketing officer.
I then started management consulting, which I really enjoyed. I consulted for a major hospital in Kathmandu, where I handled their HR and operations, and then a few small and medium organisations here. While working as a management consultant, I had my son, and I took a break for 3 years after which I joined Nepal Communitere.
I’ve heard a lot about difficulties working mothers face, especially in the world of finance, banking and consulting. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience being a working mother in Kathmandu?
After I had my baby, I wasn’t working for three years, so I thought I would have difficulty joining the workforce again because of the big time gap and was slightly worried. But then when I joined, I felt like I just started picking things up where I had left them off initially.
It is very challenging being a mommy and being in the work force, you need to play two roles, basically that of an employee and that of a mom. The initial years were very tough, and it can be especially if your children need special care. But I’m very glad I took the time to spend time with my son during his formative years.
But the flexiblity at Nepal Communitere has really been good for me. When you are in finance job, doing a 9-5 is really important. You do get casual time off and leaves, but it can prevent a lot of women from continuing in that field. I find that in a lot of larger organizations, the timing matters a lot more than the quality of work. But at communitere, the work is more important. Sometime I take my work back home, so that I can give my child the time he needs during the afternoon, and then work in the evenings when he is asleep. But now that he’s older, I’ve been able to have a more regular work schedule. Even so, the flexibility that Communitere offered was very supportive.
You’ve been great at handling our finances, and you play such a vital role at Communitere with such enthusiasm. Can you tell me a bit about where it comes from?
I’ve always been very good with numbers. Since I was a kid, math was my favourite subject. I also remember numbers more than anything. My father was a business man, and he was a Chartered Accountant before that; While growing up I saw him doing audits and working with numbers, and I guess seeing that made me a numbers person too.
But my major was management, and I actually enjoy doing that and more Human Resources stuff. I just feel I’m more of a people’s person. I really enjoy connecting with people, talking to them and finding out more about them, giving them advice and suggestions to help them — even in finance. And HR management is really important, even for small organisations. There has to be some guideline that every one has to follow, and someone to talk to and communicate with for things to flow smoothly in any organization.
You’ve played played a major role at Nepal Communitere for two whole years now. What changes have you seen in the last two years, and is there anything new you’re planning on doing here?
Yes, I first in into Nepal Communitere 2 years ago, and I’ve really seen a lot of growth here. There were only a few tenants when I first joined and there wasn’t a lot of book keeping, but then the projects came and more people as well, and we oversaw a lot of renovations here as well. There’s been a lot of improvements here, and we have a thriving Communitere and I hope there are improvements continue.
One thing that we’re trying to do in the accounts department is run accounts for small businesses. I’ve seen through I-Cube, and just generally, that young companies face a lot of difficulties while trying to do bookkeeping and accounts. It can be really expensive for them, and also very confusing. So in addition to keeping our own books and handling accounts, I’m trying to get the accounts department to also help other smaller businesses. Keeping a book of account for all companies is really important to see what the position of their companies is, and check their own company’s health. And when they’ve invested so much in their companies, you don’t want these entrepreneurs to fail because of a lack of bookkeeping. And it’s helping me get back into management and finance consulting too. We’re only helping two small companies so far, but I’m excited to do more with this!