Mohini Sashindranath who was born and brought up in India is presently the Acting Chief Financial Officer with the Country Fire Authority (CFA).
She left India when at the age of 18 and has since then lived in Africa and the UK.
Mohini moved to Australia in her early 20s and has personally encountered a range of different languages, ethnicities and religions in all the countries she has lived.
“When I was in the UK, I lived in a hostel where we had a wing of 11 rooms and every room had someone with a different nationality and it gave me an appreciation for how diversity brings such benefits, both to my life personally and to society.”
These interactions with people belonging to diverse groups has helped her grow and find her true self.
“I always try and apply that and stay authentic to myself as a result”.
After living between regional NSW, Melbourne and Sydney, Mohini joined CFA.
“I’ve been at CFA for nearly a year and got the opportunity to act in the CFO role, which for me has presented itself with opportunities to have influence in the things that the organisation is trying to drive and that are important to me, like cultural diversity and ensuring we have good representation of women in leadership roles. That for me has been really special.”
She believes that engaging with culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia is a key way to increase CFA member base and encouraging volunteerism amongst migrant communities.
“If we want to encourage volunteerism we need to be looking at our CALD communities, it’s important for us to do that right from the outset and engage with these communities, welcome them into our organisation and see the benefits they can bring.”
CFA is a volunteer-based organisation that works to protect the lives and properties of millions of Victorians.
“We have 54,000 members working in over 1,200 brigades across Victoria, ranging from small rural towns to outer metropolitan suburbs. Callouts at brigades can vary between one and 1,000 each year.”
CFA volunteers undertake a range of tasks such as fighting fires, road rescues, emergency medical response, fundraising, marketing and community education and engagement.