Where are you from?
How long have you been in India?
5 years as a resident. 15 years as a frequent visitor.
What brought you to India?
Work – the opportunity to work in the Indian business environment, at a time of economic growth and change. To learn about the indian business context you really need to be in it to really understand and learn it.
I currently work at Standard Chartered Bank where I am the Global Head of Human Resources for Legal and Compliance. I am also the Program Director for the Bank’s Financial Crime Remediation Program for People and Organisation.
What do you love most about being here?
Everything – the people, learning the culture, the food, the places to travel to, learning the language – well perhaps rickshaw language. It is a place that gets under your skin.
Are there any great moments that particularly stand out for you?
There are so many funny stories and you do have to laugh about your experiences rather than become frustrated. I love to go to Sassoon Dock fish market early on a Saturday morning for my fish. I am typically the only expat and I love negotiating with the women who sell the fish.
What have been your greatest integration challenges?
The first six months were the biggest challenge for me. Normally I am quite adaptable but Mumbai challenges everything about you – your independence and patience and the need to recognise that I had to adapt to more of a community-based environment, being part of the local network and relying so much on being able to get things done through other people
Have there been any individuals or organisations who particularly helped with your move and integration?
My relocation agent was superb. My colleagues at work were very helpful and also my landlady. They all helped to integrate. Also my dog Hamish made friends with a lot of people!
Have you joined any networking groups?
When I came there were a couple of expat groups such as Mumbai Connexions. They were very focused on “ladies who lunch” rather than professional working women. Which is why it is so fantastic that WeAreTheCity India is here now!
Do you have any practical tips for ex-pats moving to India about how to integrate or deal with cultural differences?
Come with an open mind, expect the unexpected, embrace the country and its people, travel and get involved with the local community. When relocating do think about what is practical to bring with you. It can be challenging to bring your household items from other countries. Moving my dog here was easier than moving my household goods. Get to know the local markets and the wholesale markets as they are so much fun. It may take you a little bit longer to shop – go with your maid/helper so they know the quality of what you want to buy.
What does the future hold for you?
I would like to stay in Mumbai for a few more years in a global role while working and giving back to the current generation. I have co-founded my own registered charity ‘Audience of One Foundation’ to support underprivileged young people with vocational experience and life skills. There is so much need and so much to do. We are always looking for donations and volunteers. We are having a “Gift in the Box’ drive currently as the young people need underwear, essential toiletries, soap to wash their clothes and a towel for bathing. We refresh this every three months. We have some big and exciting projects coming up and would love to hear from anyone who is interested in helping in some way.
Mumbai it such a vibrant and exciting city. As well as being cosmopolitan there is always something new and exciting to do. It gets under your skin and I absolutely love living here.