From struggling school student, to state university merit scholar, no one understands better than Neha Arora CPA how critical self-belief can be.
A driving force for a finance career
Born in India and living with Vitiligo (a condition that affects skin pigmentation) Neha faced constant ignorance, prejudice, and even ostracism throughout her school years.
It was a situation which crushed her self-confidence and was reflected in her poor academic results.
“I felt very let down, I didn’t have any confidence, I couldn’t express myself, so it was put in my brain that only education would help,’’ says Neha Arora CPA.
Commerce was the turning point
Neha credits her family pushing her towards studying commerce as the turning point of her life – her marks improving dramatically along with her confidence as she took on a Bachelor of Business, Human Resources and Marketing at the Khalsa College for Women.
“I completed my degree with a state-level merit award, and it just gave me the confidence that I could take it to the next level.
“I took my failure as a challenge – put 100 per cent into it … starting with a vision that I was going to make it happen – just for myself. Not for anyone else.’’
Now a Chief Financial Officer and part of the senior management Team at I Want That Course – a career development hub, based in Cairns, Queensland – her role includes financial management, analysing business efficiencies and strategic growth.
The mother of two credits a Masters in Professional Accounting and Finance from the University of Wollongong in Australia, and becoming a CPA, for setting the groundwork for her career success.
CPA Program delivers
Neha claims “the way the CPA programs is designed, it teaches you self-discipline, time management and organisational skills. It sets a path to executive positions as you learn all aspects of business as you progress through each unit.”
Neha says her career climb has included financial roles at Entice Engage Retain, NQ Solar, Cleanaway Waste Management, and Down Under Cruise and Dive, before finding her perfect fit at I Want That Course. She is currently pursuing her Executive MBA through Queensland University of Technology.
An inspirational talk
She said she finally felt she had come of age when she was invited to be a motivational speaker at the prestigious Sri Aurobindo College Of Management in her home town of Ludhiana.
Her success was such that she was bombarded with emails of appreciation, with the school later sending her a commemorative trophy.
As for her vitiligo: "I don't believe in the past 10 years anyone in an interview, or even in my job environment, has ever asked me about my pigmentation. It’s all about what I do, how well I perform, what value I add to the company, and how much I want to grow.’’
“It really doesn’t matter how you look, it’s the person you are, and what you can achieve, that really counts.’’
Neha Arora CPA’s top tips for accounting graduates who are starting their commerce careers:
- Accept every failure as a challenge, learn from it, and dedicate 100 per cent of your focus to changing the result.
- Always have a mentor, whether it be a professional leader, family member, or friend. Having a mentor helps you to model your behaviour, and to promote your talents to achieve your goals.
- Have a defined goal, and stay focused on achieving that goal with a can-do attitude.