July’s Alumnae Spotlight highlights what one of our Founders, Reema Anouska Biswas, has been up to!
I am the Director of Finance & Investor Relations for a Private Equity firm that invests in the hospitality space. We are currently working on the opening of L’Atelier NYC; a Joel Robuchon restaurant. He is a 31 Michelin-rated Chef; highest in the world. We also have a few other projects in the works in New York City & Miami. In addition, we manage/advise other restaurants around the country. I have been working since January 2000 & have worked in the Hospitality field for a majority of that time, but also in Finance & Private Wealth Management for the remainder of the time.
Founding Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. with the other 26 lovely ladies helped prepare me for the business world as we essentially set up a company & structured it for longevity/growth. Multi-tasking was needed from all of us to succeed & this has always been a quality that has allowed me to be successful in my field.
If I were to look back on the challenges & struggles during that time, it was mostly time-related! There was never enough time to do everything in a given day, but we all had to stay humbled, realistic, & focused to manage our many obligations.
My favorite part of my position/career/field is using the experience that I have built over the years from various positions, to enhance & add value to my current position. As I juggle many projects, staff, etc., from around the country in this new role, I use my experience to train & mentor people to become stronger in the Financial & Accounting field. This also helps in my secondary role as Investor Relations, as you build confidence in existing & new investors when you produce clean financials & good processes & operational procedures. The fun part of being in high-end hospitality management is working with very cultured people who are at the top of their respective fields. The beauty of my position in this industry is that although I am numbers focused, I get to see tangible results of my work & also the beauty of the hospitality/restaurant industry by working with talented Chefs, Directors of Operations, etc.
My work/life balance has become increasingly important, as I have moved up the corporate ladder. This has also become a focal point since we have a lovely little toddler. Motherhood has taught me to stay extremely focused & structured in my daily life, both at work & home, to achieve it all. Managing everything & maintaining high energy for me, personally, is achieved with the proper amount of sleep, exercise, healthy diet, & being conscious and grateful for the lives we are living. I work hard, but I also work smart. I make it a priority to travel the world with my family, as seeing the world opens you up to so much more than you can imagine. My husband & I have traveled to 50+ countries together & we are instilling this in our son. By year 2017, he will have traveled to 10 countries. I also make it a point to read about things outside of my field (politics, etc.) to stay current. I enjoy podcasts on my commute to/from work. It is about maximizing the time that you have each day to push yourself to that next level of knowledge & growth.
If I were to speak to a young woman who was looking to join KPhiG, I would say it can be a really memorable time in your college life. This platform allows you to exert your leadership abilities, as well as make lasting friendships. It is also important in college to focus your energy on productive goals in a safe & trusting environment. With the power of social media these days, I am able to keep up with so many of my Founding sisters, but more importantly, it means that when we see each other in person, we truly enjoy each other’s company & build on the memories we have been able to maintain over the decades!
My best advice for women who are attempting to follow in my career path is that if you have the brains, the drive, the energy, and the heart for your industry, the sky is the limit. In my line of work, I may be dealing with anyone from a seasoned CEO, tough investors, Chefs & Sommeliers with a huge personality, a General Contractor for new restaurant openings, my Director peers, employees who report to me, or people in the field. For every meeting, you have to be on top of your game. Come prepared with confidence in your abilities & what you can bring to the table. You are your own brand & will succeed if you are conscious about how you carry yourself, present yourself, & impart your knowledge. You can affect change if people trust you. Don’t be afraid to vocalize your accomplishments in order to continue an upward trajectory in your career path and stay organized.
I measure my success each day at work by attaining my goals that I set out for myself (both small & large), by how my colleagues come to me if they need assistance or guidance (as this is a good indication of the levels of trust that I have put out there), & in general if I have accomplished or learned new things in my field each day. I measure my success each day in my personal life by the quality of time & memories I create with my husband, my son, & my family.