Vish Bandoo, PLP
Payroll Manager, Canadian Diabetes Association, Toronto, ON
For Vish Bandoo, using her talents to give back is important. And when it comes to payroll, she’s a talent that can’t be missed.
Originally from Guyana, Vish moved to Canada in 1990 and has spent nearly all her time since in the Greater Toronto Area, growing her family and her payroll career – something she has grown incredibly passionate about, but wasn’t always her goal.
“Originally, I wanted to be a teacher. And I was actually a student teacher for a few months, just before I migrated to Canada,” she explains. “But once I moved to Canada, I realized I needed to go back to school because I needed to learn computers. Back home teaching, you weren’t using computers in those days, but I saw how important it was going to be for me here.”
Vish enrolled in courses at Centennial College to get the basics, and through those courses realized she had an interest and an aptitude for accounting, so she continued her studies in that area, thinking she could find a role in accounts payables or receivables. However, as a new Canadian, she found landing a job right away to be a challenge, and so she was able to find employment at a factory.
“My plant manager was really great guy and believed in me. He said, ‘if there’s something else that you want to do, let me know and I’ll do what I can to help you,’” she says.
Vish started to come in on the weekends to help with payroll, adding up the workers’ hours and entering them into the system. He showed her how to manage overtime and process pay – and she realized that this is what she liked to do.
From there, Vish returned to school to earn her diploma in Accounting with the Toronto School of Business. After graduating, she landed a contract position with the retail chain, BiWay, working at their head office on a special project to monitor the impact of minimum wage increases. Impressing her team, her contract was extended to support the core payroll team where she was able to learn a lot about their HRIS system and the day-to-day payroll practices.
“I was a really eager beaver,” she laughs. “And even though it was a department of six to eight individuals doing payroll, I was helping all of them. So, I was able to touch a lot of different things, like setting up new hires, preparing their files, running reports for my boss, and so on.”
Eventually, one of her colleagues referred her to a company in Scarborough with an opportunity for a full-time role. There, her CFO noticed her natural talents and offered her an opportunity to take on more responsibilities in human resources, and paid for her to pursue her diploma in HR.
The next few years in her career, Vish grew as both an HR professional and a payroll professional, working in a number of roles that challenged her and allowed her to learn new skills. When the opportunity came about for a role with Diabetes Canada, she felt called to the organization.
After losing her father far too young to complications of diabetes, the work the charitable organization does is close to Vish’s heart. And after 18 years with the organization, she knows she’s playing a pivotal role in the fight for a cure.
“My job is to make sure that no one at Diabetes Canada needs to worry about their paycheque. I make sure that these folks are, who were out on the frontlines, doing the work are paid properly every day.”
She also notes that in her nearly two decades with the organization, she’s never been bored. There’s always a challenge, always something new to take on. She feels that her professional experience has come full circle, and she’s in a place where she can call upon all of the skills she’s learned over the years.
Now that she’s able to work from home more often, Vish is taking advantage of the opportunity to spend as much time as possible with her three adult children.
“My entire life, it’s been all about work,” she says. “Even when I had my children, I never took the full maternity leave! So now that I no longer have to commute, I’m making sure we have the time to keep building our relationships as they grow.” With that in mind, Vish spends her me-time watching Bollywood movies with her son, binge-watching Netflix series with her daughter, or reading when she can.
For Vish, the secret ingredient to success is passion. She says, “payroll is a great career, but it is key to have that passion.” It’s certainly something she has never lacked.