Brown Girl Bosses: Meet Corporate Banking Professional Kamini Persaud
Written by: Priya Balakumar
In honour of October being women in finance and investing month, Brown Girl Diary sat down with Corporate Banking professional, Kamini Persaud, to get the inside scoop on her journey in the industry.
Kamini is of Guyanese descent and has identified as an Indo-Caribbean women since she was 15 years old.
Kamini has strived to use her culture and history as a means to empower others in the community.
“Being Indo-Caribbean means being a part of a beautiful melting pot of cultures. It means having access to a repertoire of natural remedies with Ayurvedic influences. Being Indo-Caribbean means music and melody can bring a sense of home wherever I may be. It means that it is very hard to be lonely," she said.
Throughout her life, Kamini has taken it upon herself to spread knowledge on her culture and history through co-founding a dance group, volunteering with Caribbean Chamber of Commerce and Community and holding the President position of the McMaster Association of West Indian Students (MACaws) for 1.5 years.
With a background in Marketing and Communications from McMaster University, Kamini did not initially see herself in the Corporate Banking field. After doing some marketing work for a small real estate team, she used her networking skills to leverage her university connections and was able to land a position at TD Bank. Kamini strongly believes that learning is a lifelong process and took the opportunity to incorporate her marketing skills to build out her current role to incorporate elements of corporate communications, R&R and colleague experience.
Being a woman, especially of colour in the financial industry, is often a challenge.
So often, the immediate struggles consists of mispronouncing our names, physical appearances and trying to fit into a very tight corporate realm. Being such a young woman entering the financial realm, Kamini also struggled to fit in because of the large age gap between her and her colleagues. Stepping out of her comfort zone and taking on the challenge head first is how Kamini overcame these challenges.
"I found that the best way to make myself stand out was to do my best to try to relate to people, culture, and age groups way outside of my comfort zone.”
As Kamini continues to grow professionally, she aims to use her platform and experience to be a role model for the younger generation. We asked her what it means to be a Brown Girl Boss and she said “Being a brown girl boss means disruption. It means making spaces for yourself where there would otherwise be no spaces. It means being a role model for the community.”
Outside of the office, you can always find Kamini taking any opportunity to share her beautiful Indo-Caribbean heritage and culture.
Kamini’s passion for cultural inclusion and diversity led her to host the first tri-university cultural event with York and Ryerson as the President of MACaws. She also started the MACaws Alumni Fund as well as a Graduate Scholarship.Through the dance team that she co-founded, Deewani Dance Crew, Kamini aims to empower anyone with a passion for the culture and an independent spirit, to dance regardless of skill level. She continues to be a mentor by providing advice and support to many post-secondary students across the GTA.
“I empower youth of colour to go above and beyond expectations in this virtual working world. I feel that those who are privileged enough to be employed in this current economy should be shining bright and showcasing what our generation can do best when it comes to leveraging technology," Kamini said.
Kamini continues to empower and give back to the Indo-Caribbean community by also being a volunteer and member of the Caribbean-Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Community. There she assist them with their online platforms and graphic design. Kamini is also helping them to launch a program with them, specifically for University and College students to obtain membership after they graduate like a bridge program.
As a proud young Indo-Caribbean woman, Kamini has accomplished many major milestones such as recently purchasing her first home.
“I am most proud of my confidence and my ability to lead. I feel as though those two traits come directly from my familial background and cultural connection. As an Indo-Caribbean I know we do not back down, we are not easily intimidated or talked down to. With strength across my network of other Indo-Caribbean women, I know there is a lot to live up to.”
As she continues to develop both professionally and personally, Kamini hopes to continue volunteering her time with various religious and cultural organizations. Her ability to lead, mentor and drive for success makes Kamini and Brown Girl Boss to watch.