We are excited to continue the Humans of Human Resources series as part of Benefits FYI. Our next ‘human’ is the elegant and inspiring Pooja Khandelwal, Career Navigation & Transition Consultant.
Tell us a bit about yourself
A few not-so-commonly-known-facts about me: I was born in Mumbai, India, and lived there for four decades. After my Master’s in Business Administration (Marketing), I worked for 15 years in the area of business development across a variety of industries in the private sector, namely, agriculture, IT and corporate interior designing. On a personal note, I was struck by a mid-life crisis and decided to begin my journey as a single parent after a 10-year marriage. It was a dark and frightening time. To be a better mom, I enrolled in a coaching program and embraced active meditation. I asked myself, ‘what would I want my second inning at life to look like?’ and the obvious answer was ‘the best!’ I googled “best city in the world”, and Vancouver came up. I thought it would be the best place to begin, so my daughter and I immigrated to this city six years ago. I consciously moved away from my previous career and volunteered with a few non-profit organizations which translated into roles as facilitator, trainer and coach. In 2012, I began my journey at UBC as a Career Navigation & Transition Consultant.
What do you do in HR?
I set a transformational platform from which UBC staff can take charge of their careers with confidence.
On the Career Navigation side, I work with staff who are interested in enhancing their professional experience. Together, we explore their strengths, interests, aspirations and challenges; I help them set goals and provide information on appropriate resources and tools at the University that will support them in their career path.
I also provide career transition support services to Management & Professional and Non-Union Technician staff who find their careers in transition when their employment at UBC has ended.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy having variety and being playful both in my work and free time. I like to exercise 4-5 days a week either in the gym, do the stairs on Wreck Beach or run down to Spanish Banks. During the summer, more variety is possible by going on hikes. I enjoy my daily meditative practice and cherish the time spent with my parents and daughter (in person or virtually) daily. Connecting with colleagues across campus over lunch/coffee gives me great satisfaction. I don’t have one ‘best-friend-forever’ but a few close friends whom I enjoy connecting with, regularly. We go dancing, biking on the seawall or visiting different restaurants across the city.