Wednesday, May 20, 2015

From St. Josephs to Harvard .. an inspiring journey ..

This small piece of writing is to introduce my sister Mrs. Alice Vaidyan. Couldn't resist writing this blog as an appreciation for her hard work, perseverance and never-give-up attitude.

Alice G Vaidyan, who in spite of having a hectic family life and an equally tough professional life to balance, three kids to look after (now grownup), has struggled through lot of hardships in her professional career. Being confident and hard working, she is about to reach the pinnacle of her professional career and academic pursuits, I feel very proud of her accomplishments. Had it not been for our loving and demanding parents who let us pursue perfection, all these would not have materialised at all, and they are also alive to see all this.

Great grit and determination ..
Right from schooldays, Alice was an all-rounder  excelling in quizzes, debates. elocution, sports and leadership, besides doing very well in academics, in short, bubbling with energy all the time ! The passion with which she used to effortlessly carry out the assignments handed out to her even from younger days, was actually a motivation for all of us. After securing the 19 th rank at her std X Kerala state exams (SSLC), she like everybody else was interested in pursuing a professional career in medicine. She almost made it after her 2 nd PUC to medical school but for a slight delay on an intervention by court into an injustice handed out to her, even after being seventh on merit list she was denied admission. Reservations were ruling the day !  Though the High court wanted her to give up a year she decided against accepting this mediocre judgement and forsaked a medical career. At St Josephs Irinjalakuda, Trichur, Kerala she joined for BSc in Chemistry. Alice was very popular in college and became the College Union Chairman besides topping all quizzes and debates throughout the state.

Continuing her post graduate studies from St Berchmans College Chenganachery, Kerala, doing her MA (English), she topped her class and was one of the three first classes in Kerala University.

Speaking at a Lloyd's event in London 
She was selected after professional exams to join as an Officer trainee in the New India Assurance Co. Ltd, one of the subsidiaries of General Insurance Corp of India in 1983. After training in Mumbai she joined the Trivandrum office and served there till marriage in 1986 to an Officer from State Bank of India, MG Vaidyan who had just returned to India after an overseas posting in Los Angeles, US. Continuing her streak of excellence, in the very first year Alice completed the Licentiate exams of the Indian Insurance Institute, second year the Associateship exams and the third year, the Fellowship exams with an All India first rank.

During this time the couple moved to Ahmedabad, Cochin, Mumbai etc while Dr Vaidyan continued his climb up the corporate ladder in SBI seeing him go to places like Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, Chennai, Johannesburg and Mumbai. Their two elder daughters and younger son all got educated in good schools around and took interest in fine arts, music, playing piano, violin etc and excelled in them. They are now well placed in life with good jobs and looking for more challenges.

Continuing her journey up the corporate ladder saw Alice working as Regional manager and then moving to the parent General Insurance Corp from New India Assurance company as General Manager and Chief Financial Officer of GIC.

In the midst of all this challenge and tension, she unwinds herself by playing the violin and piano with great finesse and ease. Globe trotting for the past ten years, she has much more to conquer, I'm sure she will !

GIC nominated her to do the Executive Education Programme in Harvard Business School on "Strategy and Leadership" during May 2015. On her return she is getting ready to take a top assignment in General Insurance Corp of India at Mumbai. 

Her resume' on the Global Bloomberg Executive listing as CFO of GIC Corp of India.

A youtube video where she talks of GIC Reinsurance (GIC Re) emerging as one of the top players in the global reinsurance market.
Wishing her all the best in her life pursuits and may she continue to do well in her life and for the country (my b-i-law Dr Vaidyan is presently the Dy. Managing Director of State Bank of India based in Mumbai).

Even though sometimes I feel that she should have entered the medical profession very early in life, the boldness with which she set aside that choice to start it afresh, was never a mistake, but a bold step. She has achieved much more, than anyone of her age and intellect would have gained in a country like India. She has in addition influenced society and is an inspiration to all of us ..



  1. Great article on Alice, George! I have known Alice from 1978 and in the two years that I was there in St.Josephs, I saw the achievements of this young lady along with my sister Seema, bagging all the big awards in Quiz and Debates in Kerala State and I feel really proud to know her and see that she has achieved such heights with her dedication and hard work. Good luck Alice!

  2. Wonderful article! She is such a great inspiration for us :)

  3. Keep going... as the saying goes... "World is your Oyster"!! We're in Canada now with the Boys, exciting all around... back in London by mid-June: Good Luck to sis.

  4. All the best Aunty!!

  5. All the best Alice aunty!!

  6. Great perosnalities inspire us to reach for the stars. It was so refreshing to read about your sisters achievements Sir. It's not a big surprise because the same passion is seen in you when you take classes for us. We enjoy each and every session spend along with you. So happy that we students have mentors like you filled of energy and passion. Alice aunty is a perfect example of excellence. Wish her all the best. We students have a lot to learn from her. Thank you for sharing her experience Sir.


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