|18 Jun 2021|
|Written by Alana Macallister|
Years Attended Arden
2001-2006 (Kindergarten-Year 5)
Arden Anglican School (2001-2006)
The Sri Ram School & Tagore International School in New Delhi, India (2006-2007)
Bachelors and Masters in Electrical Engineering (Mathematics Minor) at University of New South Wales (2014-2018)
Digital Growth Manager at HelloFresh for Australia & New Zealand
Junior School alumna, Isha Deodhar (Class of 2013) is a dynamic and driven young woman with a strong academic background and a passion for community service. As well as working full-time as a Digital Growth Manager, Isha is a committed Rotarian – using her spare time and skillset to serve her local community. Read on to learn about Isha’s inspiring journey so far and her plans for the future.
Isha, thank you for taking the time to speak with us about your journey. We would love to know more about what Rotary is and what they do, can you explain?
Quoting directly from their website, Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbours, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves. Perhaps what Rotary is most famous for is the “End Polio Now” campaign where Rotary members have contributed funds, volunteer hours and vaccinations to protect nearly 3 billion children across 122 countries from polio since the program began. In addition to our global presence, Rotary also contributes significantly to local communities such as our local area in Beecroft.
Can you tell us about your role at Rotary? What does it involve?
Since joining Rotary last year, I have helped organise two key projects. The first was 'Virtual Neighbours' which provides connectedness and assurance to the elderly through regular phone calls. The second was ‘Young at Heart Festival’ which celebrates International Day of Older Persons and is designed to foster more connections between the young and young at heart. As part of this festival we had 200 children (including some children from Arden) participate in our kids art and colouring in competition around the theme of celebrating and caring for the elderly. It was inspirational to see the children’s artwork as they expressed how much they love their grandparents and other elders in their lives. This festival also included the “Living Treasures Award” where we acknowledged and celebrated 14 exceptional members of our community who, through their lifetime, have contributed significantly to their field or their community.
Do you believe serving the community is important? Why?
Definitely. When we uplift, help and support others, not only does the world around us become a happier place, the world within us also becomes calmer, more content and more peaceful.
Tell us about your time at Arden. Is there anything you especially remember?
I attended Arden from Kindergarten to Year 5 and my fondest memories are those of all my teachers. Looking back I think it is remarkable that despite teaching so many students, teachers take the time to form strong connections with each student individually.
Did you have a favourite staff member or teacher? What made them special?
Lots! Mrs Caroline Smith in Kindergarten, Mrs Peta McLean in Year 1, Miss Hatton (who got married and became Mrs Jacobs during the year) for Year 2, Mrs Jenny Rodgers in Year 3 and Ms Tinworth in Year 4. Mrs Owen the art teacher and Ms Philippa Wood the music teacher. They were always fun, kind and patient.
What activities did you enjoy doing while you were at Arden? What were your favourite subjects?
Many – We camped on the school grounds in Year 2, DEAR time (Drop Everything and Read), parachute games during PE, choir practice and making balloon rockets as a science experiment in Year 1. My favourite subjects were Mathematics, Science, Art & Music.
What do you believe Arden has shown you/given you as a person?
I got to try many different activities and was always surrounded by teachers who had faith in my ability – this helped me grow into a confident young adult.
What have you taken away from your time at Arden?
Lots of fond memories as well as the foundations of what would later become my strengths in secondary schooling (Mathematics and Science).
Describe your Arden experience in three words
Nurturing, Warm, Variety.
Can you tell us about your Education/Career journey since leaving Arden?
After Arden, we moved to India for a year, where I attended and International School in New Delhi. I then attended Abbotsleigh Girls School, where I graduated as Dux for the Class of 2013.
When I graduated I studied Electrical Engineering & Mathematics at UNSW. I was awarded the Scientia Scholarship as well as Girls Do the Maths Scholarship. For my Honours thesis, I developed Artificial Intelligent algorithms to identify the most affordable, reliable and sustainable way to structure our energy system. While at UNSW, I was a product engineer for tech start-up ‘Open Orbit’. Here we developed ‘algorithmically guided problem solving’ which helps business users diagnose and solve for inefficiencies within their operations.
I am also a passionate advocate for STEM subjects amongst youth. I led a group of 30 school students to ‘Space Camp’ at Johnson’s Space Centre in Houston (US) where I mentored them and designed workshops to help students in STEM skills, confidence, presentation and personal organisation skills.
I currently work as the Digital Growth Manager at HelloFresh for Australia & New Zealand. I lead the digital growth team as we identify and execute on growth opportunities through elegant and data-driven solutions. Prior to this, I worked for the Boston Consulting Group, supporting businesses tackle their most important challenges across industries such as energy, mining, telco, banking and the public sector.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far, career or otherwise?
I recently attained my first leadership role in a corporate or professional setting. This has been an exciting learning curve for me as I move beyond honing my skills as an individual contributor and towards becoming am impactful and empathetic leader. I hope to create a motivating and empowering environment which brings out the best in everyone.
What advice would you give to other alumni or current students who aspire to follow a similar career path as you?
Choose a topic, area of interest, discipline or area that you are passionate about and then give it your 100%. Practice, study, research, ask questions and speak to others with similar interests. Find people in your life who will love you, support you and stand by you unconditionally (could be family, friends and maybe even teachers). Take the time to nurture these relationships and ask them for help and guidance when you are having a tough time. Be open to opportunities – sometimes the best opportunities come into our lives in unexpected ways.
Where do you want to be in ten years?
I would like to be a senior leader of a high growth, tech-enabled business which generates social and economic benefits.
What does the future hold for you?
I will soon be moving into my first board position – Director of Community Service at the Rotary Club of Beecroft. I look forward to serving the local and global community through this role and making a positive difference in areas such as access to education, mental health, and environmental sustainability.
Isha, thank you for taking the time to share your journey with the Arden Community. We look forward to seeing where your future will take you.