ALI Star of the Month: May 2020 — Pinaki Kathiari
ALI Conferences announces new ALI Star of the Month
ALI Conferences is thrilled to say that we have a number of speakers, hosts, and attendees who have loved our virtual and in-person conferences, and who continue to attend year-after-year to learn new, updated insights and strategies on employee experience, communications, human resources, and more.
To thank these Conference Community members, we are launching a Star of the Month feature!
We are proud to announce the May 2020 and first-ever ALI Star of the Month: Pinaki Kathiari, CEO & Co-Founder of Local Wisdom.
Pinaki has been an attendee, speaker, workshop facilitator, and host for us for many years now, volunteering his time for the betterment and to help excel the careers of his peers. Most recently, he hosted the Communicating & Engaging A Remote Workforce virtual conference on April 23, 2020, where he reminded us that though these times are challenging, we’re going to be okay. He also brings along an element of fun—organizing Kung Fu Karaoke, a karaoke night that was the highlight after party of the 6th Annual Strategic Internal Communications—East conference last year in Boston.
Without further ado, May 2020 ALI Star of the Month, Pinaki Kathiari:
What makes you passionate about your work, organization, team, or all the above?
As CEO of Local Wisdom, I’ve taken this company from basement startup to boardroom-level, and I’m most proud of that ascension. Together, we’re creating ways to empower communicators locally so they can build strong connections globally.
I grew up in an ethnically diverse hub in Hoboken, NJ, which stretched me and allowed me to experience things that I would never have, had I not been around this array of individuals who inspired me on many different levels.
Its’ not only about what we look like; it is in what we think, how we produce, how we approach our work, how we relate to one another, what drives us, and why.
What I am most proud of as a leader is how my company understands diversity and how we’ve blown up that word. Its’ not only about what we look like; it is in what we think, how we produce, how we approach our work, how we relate to one another, what drives us, and why. Local Wisdom truly reflects my past, present, and future, and being able to win with this team, gives me the most pride.
What is your organization doing differently during this time to improve the employee experience?
If you ask the team at Local Wisdom why they enjoy working here, more than likely, they’ll tell you it’s the people around them. I’m fortunate enough to say we have a close-knit culture across our organization, and this had enabled us to make a seamless transition to being a remote workforce when we needed to be.
- To help employees deal with the uncertainty of income, my COO and I immediately made sure we were on top of all government aid available to our company and staff. With that, we ensured our team that they did not have to worry about being laid, fired, or furloughed because of COVID-19.
- To support our team during life events, our leadership has made a concerted effort to reach out individually to support and assist them. I believe this has made these sometimes difficult transitions smoother. Throughout this pandemic, our employees have dealt with childbirth, death, and sickness for themselves and their families.
- We are committed to the health and safety of our community and team. With that, we are encouraging employees to get tested by giving them the time off to do so.
- We have continued celebrating life! We’ve held virtual happy hours, project launch celebrations, and surprise birthday and baby showers.
What’s something positive you have seen or done recently that has made you happy?
I’m happy to say it’s not very easy to narrow this down to one thing since there have been so many positive things happening.
Many of our team members are swamped as the volume of internal communications work has increased during this time. I’ve been incredibly touched by the many on our team who have reached out to offer a reprieve to their co-workers, putting in extra-long hours.
Due to the increase in workload and hiring, I’ve seen the younger generation in our company take a leadership stance when something doesn’t seem right and make adjustments when needed. It allows me to sleep easy knowing we continue to deliver impeccable quality even with the high demand.
Even while practicing responsible social distancing, we’re finding ways to draw closer emotionally.
Above all else, I see our team sending more heart-warming communications and being more connected than ever before. I’m witnessing them caring for one another through meaningful acts such as leaving gifts on each other’s front doorsteps or a video call to say hello. Even while practicing responsible social distancing, we’re finding ways to draw closer emotionally.
What book is on your nightstand/coffee table right now?
I prefer audiobooks over reading physical books. I think my astigmatism may be the main factor there. Here are three business books that I’ve read recently:
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) By Seth Godin
Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know By Malcom Gladwell
Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell By Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg
What is your favorite podcast (unrelated to work)?
I have subscriptions to several podcasts, but truth be told, I typically don’t listen to them. Here are three books I’m listening to or on my wish list that are unrelated to work. Or are they?
The Final Empire: Mistborn Book 1 By Brandon Sanderson
I Only Say This Because I Love You: How the Way We Talk Can Make or Break Family Relationships Throughout Our Lives By Deborah Tannen
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital By Sheri Fink
Thank you again to Pinaki Kathiari for all of his support and continued work with ALI Conferences.
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