Profile: Giving Back to an Organization That Helped Start Her Career

01 JUN 2017

Nishi Somaiya began her career at Goldman Sachs 17 years ago, as one of the first intern placements by Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) in London. Today, Nishi is a partner in our Securities Division in London, and serves on the organization’s board, supporting its efforts to help provide access, training and mentorship for talented young people from underrepresented and underserved communities.

Over the years, Goldman Sachs in London has welcomed more than 500 interns and SEO graduates, expanding the firm’s reach to a broader more diverse talent pool. As an SEO alumna, Nishi personally is connected to several SEO alumni that join Goldman Sachs, serving as a mentor and resource.

“What particularly resonates with me is the ethos of giving back – you’re providing real value and committing your time to changing people’s careers,” she said. “When I was a participant, busy people in roles not dissimilar from mine took time to teach extra classes, mentoring and coaching for use on the program. It gives you access to people you might never have met otherwise.”

SEO London has expanded significantly since Nishi was an intern, growing from six people to more than 5,000. Today, the organization focuses on three flagship programs: SEO Careers, SEO Scholars and SEO Connect. Through its careers program, SEO London now partners with more than 50 sponsor firms across eight industries.

As a board member, Nishi’s responsibilities include providing strategic thinking and guidance on its growth and expansion. Nishi sits on a number of company boards, many of which are fast-growing young companies, which equips her with critical experience to help strategize and develop the work of SEO. SEO London is currently focused on broadening its reach, particularly targeting people early in their career track. As part of this effort, the organization is developing its digital reach – building its online network and expanding its digital presence on social media.

“We also want to focus on investing in our alumni community,” Nishi said. “As SEO London continues to grow, it is more of a priority to ensure alumni are engaged and active in developing the organization.”

For Nishi, committing her time to SEO London is made easier through her belief in their work.

“If it’s important to you, you will prioritise it,” she said. “You need to be realistic about your level of engagement and the time you can commit, but it is easier to take the time for a cause you feel passionately about and that you can add real value to. A small adjustment in your day can make a big difference for others.”