“I had to break through barriers; I had to have courage and strength to be bigger than myself sometimes to make my voice heard because I knew I would just be the dregs at the bottom of the fish-tank and it was not easy.”
Menaka moved from India to Australia in January 1973 but, on arriving in her adopted country, found that her academic qualifications (B.A. Hons) were not recognised.
At the age of 28, Menaka had to leave her marriage, with her young daughter. With ten dollars and two suitcases, she started her search for accommodation and a job.
Already traumatised, she faced the additional stress of a lack of social services and support, and was told to look after herself. From this low point, she eventually found a clerical job but though she worked hard couldn’t get a promotion.
At work, she was exposed to the ‘triple whammy’ of racism, ageism and sexism. She discovered she needed a local qualification to succeed so she decided to study again at University which led her to study at night and work full time.
Menaka went on to succeed in a number of high level Human Resources and Change Management roles with large Australian companies retiring as HR Director of a multi-national.
Menaka serves on various boards including the Women’s Electoral Lobby, Indian Crisis & Support Agency, Older Women’s Network NSW, while continuing her work as a Psychotherapist, Change Management Consultant and Coach