UMA Fellows' Interviews

It’s exciting for Uma to share the success of one of our first Umaships…and how the assignment at an Uma Partner company turned into a rewarding full-time job for an Uma fellow.

Turning Rock Partners, a private equity investment firm and credit fund, opened its doors in 2016 with a lean staff comprising its founder, Maggie Arvedlund, and her two partners, David Markus, CFA, and Saba Ahmad, COO/CFO. To round out their team, the partners needed to hire an administrative employee to run the gamut of daily responsibilities, and they turned to Uma.

At the same time, Rima Roy, a business analyst in consumer finance, was reevaluating her future career goals and her work/life balance. A chance referral from a friend led Rima to Uma and through Uma to Turning Rock.

Following a successful three-month Umaship, Turning Rock and Uma decided to make their union permanent. Uma was pleased to sit down with Rima and Saba to hear about their partnership. We think it’s a terrific story—one that shows firsthand how companies can create opportunities that match the lifestyle goals of diverse women, resulting in a win for corporations and the women they hire.

Uma: What was your previous career path and what were your thoughts about returning to work?

I spent two decades working full-time as a business analyst for MasterCard, and prior to that at JPMorgan Chase. In 2016, I lost my job because of corporate restructuring. Though I took advantage of MasterCard’s outplacement services, I spent time on my own figuring out next steps, turning my job loss into an unexpected blessing. There were things I wanted to focus on personally: my children, now nine and 12, and my parents for whom I had certain caregiving responsibilities. I intended to return to work. The question was where I would fit.

Uma: What were your requirements for the “perfect” job?

Rima Roy: I wasn’t looking to find the exact role I’d previously held and wanted to do something different and learn something new, perhaps even in a different industry such as education or nonprofit. I ruled out large corporations. I also wanted flexibility and balance and wanted to spend less hours on the job and commuting. These tradeoffs meant I might have to take an hourly job rather than an exempt position, and I was okay with that. I wanted to be assured, however, that over time I’d increase my responsibilities.

Uma: What intrigued you about Uma and the concept of the Umaship?

RR: My connection with Uma was fortuitous. I was intrigued with Founder Rita Kakati Shah’s mission to help women get back into the workforce and her starting target of small to mid-sized companies. It was also appealing that an Umaship would potentially serve as a bridge to a long-term opportunity and, in this case, give Turning Rock and me a chance to see if [a permanent engagement] would be possible.

Uma: Did you find Uma Academy helpful in your Umaship placement?

RR: Very much so! I accredit my appointment solely to the various Uma Academy workshops. The emotional support, direction to go career wise and help with updating my resume was essential. The workshops were detailed and fun too. The interview workshop really helped with building up my confidence and prepare me for my various meetings with the Turning Rock team. I even had guidance on how to look for childcare and preparing my family for my new working life.

Uma: How was your Umaship structured?

RR: I accepted a three-month Umaship, at reduced hours to start with, ramping up to 9 to 4, five days a week. It was a good way for me to get back into the workforce and become accustomed to work, home and child care. Rita checked with Saba, Maggie and me at one- to- two-week intervals to see how things were going.

Uma: How do you assess the way the Umaship and now the job that meet your current career goals?

RR: One thing that attracted me about the Turning Rock Umaship was the client service responsibility. I enjoy client interaction. I didn’t use communication skills on a regular basis on my past jobs.

And there’s flexibility; Maggie, Saba and David are respectful of the time balance between our professional and personal lives. That has been very helpful.

From the beginning, I also was impressed with the assurance the role would evolve into something well beyond an admin role and the way that Maggie, Saba and David shared their vision for the company.

I am vested in every aspect of Turning Rock. I can see where it’s going; I’m part of strategic

planning. This is very different than working in a large company which is typically hierarchal.

Uma: Saba, do you have any additional comments?

Saba Ahmad: Rima is doing a fantastic job. During her interview, we repeatedly asked if she was sure she wanted a job that didn’t require her skill set and depth of experience. She kept reassuring us she was onboard. For the past five months, we’ve been reaping the benefits. Rima understands the business, the clients and where the business pain points are. She’s as much an office manager as an administrative assistant. She’s sharing ideas. She’s our right hand.

As our company grows, Rima is integral to Turning Rock’s daily operations. It’s exciting to get someone onboard who cares about where the business is going.

Rima has taken this role and made it her own.

  • Share