Andhra woman makes it big in Canada
HYDERABAD: She set sail overseas with her husband seeking a change. The couple had given up their executive jobs in Visakhapatnam Steel Plant to pursue their dreams in the land of opportunities, North America.
About 15 years later అణురాధ మరిశెట్టి (Anuradha Marisetti) becomes the first Asian woman and a Telugu to head the Inland Revenue Services, Ontario province, part of Canadian Revenue Agency. If she has done well for herself heading a Federal Department with 3,000 staff, she is more excited about the pulsating growth curve of India, fuelled by the IT boom.
On her visit to the city coinciding with Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas she says, "If we had looked towards America for career opportunities, I feel India and China are the countries to look out for, for the next generation. I agree with the analysis of Thomas Friedman's `World is Flat'."
The couple opted for Canada, for its better quality of life, low crime rate, social safety net, and community focussed approach to raise their kids. Like all immigrants they learnt soon enough that Canada is a great leveller. Not withstanding degrees from reputed institutions, including the IITs, years of professional experience, it was the all important Canadian degrees and Canadian experience that mattered the most. "One has to invariably start from scratch," she says
Laying the foundation
With a Masters in Public Administration from Queen's University, Kingston, she says the programme laid the foundation for her career growth as public sector professional but it was not easy to get a break immediately as the early 90s was recession time in US and it impacted Canada. Her first good break was as Executive Director of an NGO `South Asian Family Support' that helped immigrants and refugees integrate into Canadian society.
Given the few women who get into senior management level posts in Canada, Anuradha attributed it to luck, making use of right opportunities at the right time, and support from her husband Sridhar Naidu. Despite Government efforts, four minority groups -- women, visible minorities, aboriginals and disabled -- do not occupy enough jobs to justify their numbers.
Subtle discrimination, prejudice, racism do exist at the individual level, though Canadian Government does a lot to reduce its impact and ensure employment equity, she reveals. Women certainly are making headway compared to the rest of the groups, she adds.
Living in Toronto and working in Sudbury, life is hectic but tougher to cope with is the cold weather, she says. Unlike Punjabis and Sri Lankan Tamils, who turn entrepreneurs and tradesmen, people from Andhra and Tamil Nadu still have a fixation for white-collar jobs and value the social standing such positions accord, she says.Courtesy: The Hindu