People in Business

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An eye for details

People in Business- Odelia D'Souza.jpgWomen of Indian origin may not evince interest in politics (not yet at least) but their role as entrepreneurs and businesspersons have been pronounced since long.

Among them are Chief Executives, Chief Operating Officers and Senior Managers of large, medium and small enterprises, accountants, architects, doctors, engineers, interior decorators, lawyers and many others.

Kalamazoo Group Director Odelia D’Souza said almost all women entrepreneurs are success stories that must be highlighted and rewarded.

Ms D’Souza is a prime example of women who have enhanced the values of businesses, bringing synergy, dignity and honour to the private sector, with diligence, devotion and determination.

She also proves the adage that ‘Procrastination is the thief of time,’ and takes decisions that could be hard, but not until she has considered issues from all angles.

Ms D’Souza realised that while customer satisfaction through quality products and services was important, financial discipline was the key to success.

“The first three years were perhaps the most trying period in our involvement in this business. Kalamazoo had the market strength but was financially weak. We had a holistic look at our operations and decided to streamline every aspect of the Company. It was difficult but not impossible,” she said.

Her qualifications and experience as a teacher in India and Oman (which was her home for five years from 1996) and her qualities as a mother began to pay dividends.

With patience and tolerance tempered by discipline and determination, she began to reorganise the Group’s structure, shedding flesh but adding muscle.

In essence, Kalamazoo was like a ship that needed a good skipper, who could sail it out of troubled waters. Today, the Group enjoys good financial health, looking at other struggling companies in the industry.

Ms D’Souza seldom loses sight of staff motivation and welfare.

“They are extremely important in any business, which is why we have healthcare, regular social evenings and other avenues to celebrate with staff. We are a family and as heads of the family, we are aware of our responsibilities towards them,” she said.

She is a typical professional who gives her time to the Group with a set schedule. While Steve continues to work in the office or visit clients, she is always at home in time for the return of their daughter Deanne from school.

“Family life should never be ignored and I have always devoted time to our children (their son Dayne is currently on a scholarship pursuing higher studies in Economics and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara). I also encourage every parent to do so,” she said.

Phone (09) 5707246 Email:

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A Heart for the Client

People in Business Ajay Kumar.jpg

When Bharat Das (not his real name) died suddenly, his family was devastated, not only because of the loss of a husband and parent, but also because the family had no other breadwinner. “We have a huge mortgage on the house and with no further income, w are at the end of the road ourselves and we cannot turn to anyone for help,” they thought.

They were wrong. Global Financial Services (GFS) Limited Managing Director Ajay Kumar called on the grieving family to express his condolences and assure them that he would do his best to get the issues settled.

And he did. As a company that offers financial and insurance services, he contacted the insurer and after much arguments and follow up that is typical of insurance companies, he obtained full settlement of the insurance claim (with interest for the delay that occurred) and arranged for the full repayment of the loan.

Today, a grateful family thanks the forethought of the deceased man for having engaged GFS for mortgage and insurance services.

“We are committed to make our clients financially stronger and wiser through our innovative ideas and continuous market research. We maintain close contacts with our customers and advise them on market movements and the status of their mortgage loans from time to time,” he said.

A visit to the company’s office in Mangere (Airport Oaks) in South Auckland would reveal the extent to which Mr Kumar and his staff are committed to serving their customers and enabling them to liquidate their loans faster.

“We have enabled hundreds of customers to become debt-free sooner than they had envisaged. There have been many locked into their loans for 30 years but our plans have helped them to pay-off their loans in less than half the period. We have had a couple of customers who were able to repay in less than five years,” he said.

Mr Kumar said the aim of every individual is to make his or her home free of financial encumbrances. “Most people feel the need for security and safety of their income, property and the family, which is catered through our insurance products. At GFS, we are not just brokers. We take every client seriously and provide the best possible product and service to suit their income, need and circumstances,” he said.

GFS won the Best Small Business and Best Marketing Excellence Awards, apart from being a finalist in the Best Professional Services Business category at the Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2009.

Mr Kumar attributed the achievement to his staff and customers.

“They are the driving force behind our success,” he said.

Phone: 09-2555500 Email:

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