Nupur Rishi, one of Crowe MacKay LLP’s new Partners of 2020, shares her career journey and the keys to her success.
Making Partner is not just another career milestone, it is a commitment which has two important aspects – absolute trust and a growth mindset.
It represents mutual trust between the firm and me and speaks to our most important principle – being the trusted advisor for our clients. The autonomy that comes with being a Partner is rooted in that said trust.
Secondly, at Crowe MacKay, we agree that growth is our strategic objective, which will help us stay better positioned. Our firm is always striving to move forward in a disruptive market. I believe growth is thus, Crowe’s most significant differentiator that I stand by, and I am committed to this vision and fully invested in the pursuit of new heights.
Being a leader at Crowe MacKay: A global opportunity
I obtained my Chartered Accountant designation in India in 2004 and started my career at one of the Big Four accounting firms. After working in three cities and three different countries, I finally landed in Vancouver, which I now call home. Since then, I have been in the public accounting practice for over 15 years.
I joined Crowe MacKay in 2018 to build and lead the Global Mobility Tax practice. I was attracted to the firm because of the firm’s core values – we care, we share, we invest, we grow. No other organization lives by its values more truly than us, and these two years at the firm feel like I was meant to be here.
The other important aspect of Crowe MacKay is its culture. We practice inclusivity, empathy, encouragement, and a culture of curiosity amongst the workforce. To top it off, the leadership is truly visionary and I am proud to be a part of it.
When Crowe MacKay decided to have me create and build a specialized practice that it had never tried before, they took a chance on me. The opportunity to build a practice from scratch excited the entrepreneur in me. However, this risk had its growing pains. Global Mobility Services is pertinent in this age of globalization, with talent constantly moving between countries and businesses continuously transforming. Our firm is structured to be agile thus adaptive to innovation and automation.
“Highly sought after” — Nupur’s prediction for Crowe MacKay’s Global Mobility Services
Our vast global reach allows us to address the growing international needs of our clients. We are part of a global network that has a presence in 130 countries around the world. With a global outlook to problem-solving; exceptional knowledge in our specializations; and subject matter expertise on ancillary aspects to audit and accounting such as tax, risk, and technology; we are prepared more than ever to support our clients as they spread their wings across international borders.
Today, the ability to offer Global Mobility Services is our niche, making us a complete suite of services, bringing the best to our clients. This accomplishment is not just my success story, it’s Crowe MacKay’s. Given our competitive edge in the market, I anticipate our firm to be the most sought after over the next five years and I intend to see it through.
Focus on success, diverse opportunities, and perseverance led to where I am today
Growing up I wanted to be “successful.” It sounds broad and simple but to me, it didn’t matter as to what path I took but rather how to be the best at whatever I did. I come from a humble background and was the first working woman who made it out in the world, regardless of the struggles and push backs early on. All I had was my determination, trust in myself, and, as mentioned earlier, a growth mindset. No matter the means, I strived forward, giving my best shot. I craved success and believed it would follow if I had perseverance and a desire to do better.
Having worked in three countries with people from diverse backgrounds allowed me to bring compassion into my leadership style. Every opportunity I had along the way was a direct result of the relationships built with people. I have been fortunate to be mentored by exceptional leaders who were also some of the best minds in the accounting industry across the globe. And this mindset steered me towards specializing in a field that entailed global mobility of people, which is reflective of the agility I craved for in my professional journey.
When I started my career, I had no idea it would blossom into where it stands today. Achieving an accounting designation with a national rank taught me the significance of hard work. Over the years, I learned perseverance from the many colleagues and clients that I worked with.
A keenness to learn
I am driven by the impact my actions have on everything around me. The realization that my contribution to an organizations’ way of doing business could impact its performance comes with a sense of power but also responsibility, both important to my work and this industry’s DNA.
Early on I learned the art of raising my hand for all that pushed me out of my comfort zone. Whether it was moving countries, tackling stage fright, project managing teams, or launching new services. If I am not uncomfortable I am not learning, I am not evolving. This became my mantra. Today with Crowe MacKay, I aspire to continually evolve and co-build a path of global transformation for this practice and the firm.
Exploring the client experience to learn new lessons
Being in public practice, I had always wondered what it felt like to be a client. I finally explored the client-side when I was seconded with a large mining client (with my previous firm). It was one of the most enlightening experiences of my career. Not only did I get to be at the other end of the servicing chain, but the lessons I learned were invaluable. It gave me an edge as a servicing consultant, to know what clients value the most as well as what impacts their decision-making process. I abide by these learnings in my client service delivery model to ensure clients get the most value.
Handling the “risk” in her choices
A friend said to me once that the greatest teacher in life is life itself. I agree. Our own experiences shape the person we become by teaching us lessons along the way. To me, it was always important that I make my own decisions or at least have the choice to shape my own destiny. What follows is the understanding that it is never about the right or the wrong choice but about owning your decision and handling the risks. One can turn any choice into a success.
It takes a village to create a leader
To be where I am today, naming one person as my mentor would be unfair. I am what I am due to my support group. Different people have stepped up to guide me during different phases of my life – be it family, friends, colleagues or clients. However, I always attribute my accomplishments to my mother. She was a beacon of strength whenever I was swamped with self-doubt. She cultivated the values that I live by in my professional life and her unconditional support and encouragement shaped me as a go-getter. She says “strive for excellence in whatever you pursue” and I am proud I do.
Life outside of the office
Apart from my drive and dedication in developing a successful career, I enjoy many other things in life. When I was in school, I used to read math books to prepare for exams, I never really wrote/practiced math questions. Yes, contrary to popular belief, I was a gifted geek.
Passionate about flavors
I also love cooking. Everyone who knows me knows how I love experimenting with cuisines, spices, and ingredients. It’s the biggest way I can show love and appreciation to my friends and family. It is also a stressbuster and an outlet for my creative expression. I can’t draw, paint or play an instrument but I can take ingredients and make them into a dish that is delicious and tempting.
One country of 30 visited that tops them all
I have travelled to about 30 countries but by far my favorite is Egypt. The beauty of mystical pyramids, sand dunes, historical monuments, buzzing markets, and feluccas in the middle of Nile flowing through a desert is so unique, creating an unmatched experience.
Favorite superhero? A 21st-century favorite
I am a Game of Thrones fan and my favorite fictional character is Khaleesi - Daenerys Targaryen (minus her descent into madness, spoiler alert). Notwithstanding her command of dragons and huge armies, it’s her leadership skills and unwavering determination to get what she wants I admire most. Her compassionate yet fearless approach to decision making and excelling in the face of adversity are really elements that we should all try to imbibe as corporate leaders. And, you have to agree, she’s got style!