Culturally Diverse Leader with Sanchita Shanbhag

Interview with an "MONEY LADY"!

Sanchita Shanbhag, mother of a beautiful two year old daughter settled in Melbourne .  She moved to Australia over a deccade and now calls Melbourne her home.

Story of many migrant women who lift and shift their life when family duty calls! With one of the highly regarded degrees of Charted Accountant(CA) - India and then Certified Practicing Accountant(CPA) from Australia , Sanchita has worked in esteem companies before coming to Australia .Like many of us she had her own share of struggles to get her first break in Australia. In her interview she tells us about her initial challenges and how she overcame them to now having a thriving career at Australia Post as a Finance Partner.

Thank you for accepting my invite to share your story Sanchita , so tell me how did you come to Australia?

Marriage , I have been born and brought up in Mumbai which is called commercial capital of India , it is a very busy city , the city that never sleeps, personally I loved the vibes and couldn’t imagine settling elsewhere, however destiny had different plans . .. I got married and work provided my husband with the opportunity to travel , it was too hard to resist for him and I decided to join him after 6 months (wasn’t an easy decision for me) .. we both had made up our minds to return in 2 years time as I couldn’t imagine a life away from my family and loved ones.

 And what did you do in Mumbai ?

I did my graduation in Commerce , and also had a tertiary qualification (Chartered Accountant) , I had worked with some of the top consulting firms like Deloitte and some of the major manufacturing companies like Godrej and PepsiCo

How was your initial experience in the Australia ? How did you get your first JOB ?

When I first arrived in Melbourne back in 2009 I found it hard to adjust to this new and laid back lifestyle . All retailers would shut their doors at 5 pm , I wondered how they could  survive . Everything was very expensive and very inconvenient ( especially transport ) . On top of it there was global financial crisis and I was on a work permit spouse visa, although I was a qualified CA, not having a residency and the financial crisis made my search all the more an extent I had given up finding a job locally and returning back where I was valued, my skills were valued . 

Recruiters constantly had the same story to tell me “ no local experience “  or “ visa status “ , this was quite frustrating for a person who had worked in multinational companies and also worked in US briefly. 

It was easy to quit and go back however it was challenging to stay in this country and find a local job.. 

 After constant rejections it was clear to me my approach  wasn’t working, my resume didn’t gain traction and it was lost amidst million others who were  struggling .. how did I overcome this ..

 I started attending finance seminars , I found people who were from the same field and started networking .

  • I did volunteering for a brief period 
  • I had friends who were working in Australia who guided me through this process and encouraged me to apply for the roles which otherwise I wouldn’t 
  • I started calling recruiters and insisted they catch up for a coffee 
  • I worked with professionals to build my resume .

 After less than a month I got a call from one of the recruiters to interview with a govt organisation for 1 month and boom I land my FIRST job in Australia .( I can never forget the day )

Fast forward 10 years I am with the same company as I absolutely love my job and the people .. I love what I do and I am surrounded by people who are absolutely amazing, needless to say  “ I love Australia” .. I call it “ HOME” now and I can’t think of going anywhere else..

So what is that you do now ?

 I was blessed to try different things and different roles in last 10 years , currently I am a Finance Partner in Retail and work in a specialised area.

How did you find the culture in Australia and what was the biggest challenge for you?HOw did you overcome your challenge?

When I first started it was hard , being from a different background and adjusting to a new culture wasn’t easy .. I found it hard comprehending their language , slangs and jokes of course.

Overcoming these challenges were not hard, I watched lot of Australian tv series to get a hang of the accent , people in my organisation were from different cultural backgrounds . I made great friends with Aussies, Italians and other Asians,they would teach me what the slangs meant and when to use them. Things changed eventually .

and the what advice would like to give to CALD Leaders?

  • If you want to progress personally or professionally don’t give up , believe in yourself , prioritise what is important and be persistent . 
  • Network with people, find the right mentor /sponsor to guide you in your career journey . It’s not whom you know , it’s who knows you .
  • Step out of your comfort zone from time to time and lean into your discomfort.
  • Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth. 
  • Be authentic and know what your strengths are, play on your strengths.

If anyone in your network would like to reach out and know more about my career journey more than happy to connect!

Thank you Sanchita for offereing to connect and help, much needed support in current enviornment.

Australian market thrives over networking , more then 80% roles are taken even before they hit the market. It is important to know your stregth and be authentic. 

Changewindow prides itself in offering programs which help you not only identify your stregth but also market them to get the role of your dream. If you not sure where to start ? START HERE !

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