Vartika Satija: Perfecting the work-life balance

VartikaSatijaYou’ll be able to see Vartika Satija BComm'08 at the Calgary Stampede this year, but not in her role as an accountant. As part of her involvement in Studio Bollywood Dance, she will be performing in a dance routine at this international event that draws more than 700,000 people. It’s only one of the many festivals and fundraising events that she takes part in each year as a member of Canada's premier Bollywood performance dance troupe.

Dancing, which has always been a passion, plays a big part in what Vartika calls her work-life balance. “There is so much more to life than work,” says the 27-year-old, who credits Saint Mary’s for helping her figure that out at a young age. Through a variety of academic, social, and cultural experiences at university, Vartika had a chance to get to know herself and decide what she wanted her life to look like. “I realized that education and career were only part of what I wanted to accomplish in my life,” she says “Giving back to society and to my community are also hugely important to me.”

Her path, so far, has been an interesting one. Born in India, Vartika’s family moved to Nigeria when she was just two years old, and then returned to their home country when she was nine. They emigrated to Canada in 2002 and lived in New Brunswick. Two years later, Vartika moved to Halifax on her own and completed her Bachelore of Commerce in four years. Since then, she has lived and worked in Yellowknife, Edmonton, and finally Calgary. She currently works at a Public Practice Accounting firm in Calgary as a Senior Associate Accountant.

Mixing work with joyful pursuits Through it all, she has been cultivating that sense of work-life balance, which for her is key to inner happiness. This mix of work, joyful pursuits, and giving back began in her first year at SMU, where she excelled in her studies, worked as a tutor, made many friends, and routinely helped organize charity and fundraising events.

Although she now lives and works in Calgary, part of Vartika’s community still resides in Nova Scotia. “I met people on my first day of classes that I’m still friends with. Halifax is amazing that way. People are so friendly and it’s easy to feel as if you’ve known someone for years when you’ve just meet them.”

Making lifelong friends was an added bonus, as Vartika had chosen SMU for the reputation of its business programs. To her delight, her studies exceeded all expectations, giving her a solid foundation in accounting. Not only that; she also had the opportunity to interview individuals at the business school about which designations were available for her to pursue.

A broadened world view Vartika’s time at SMU also broadened her world view. “I met people from so many different cultures and backgrounds, and these experiences really opened me up and took me outside of the safe box I’d been living in. It helped me see how large and diverse our world really is.”

It was at university that she first encountered The Art of Living courses, which she has continued practicing in Calgary. As part of the process of prioritizing her personal passions, she regularly volunteers with this international educational and humanitarian movement that teaches meditation and stress reduction.

Her dreams for the future involve more international humanitarian work, but for now, Vartika needs to focus on the Chartered Accountant final exam in September. She will take the entire month of August off to study and prepare. After passing, she will be able to practice as a designated accountant anywhere in Canada. Best of luck, Vartika!