“Pittsburgh is booming and it’s opening the door for skilled talent, like myself, who come from all backgrounds and walks of life.”
Having traveled coast to coast and across continents, Sarala knows a thing or two about culture and place. For her, “there is no place like home.” Fortunately, she’s found it here in Pittsburgh.
Born in India, Sarala emigrated to Canada with her family and moved back and forth between the two countries for her education before ultimately moving to the U.S. for her workforce and HR systems certifications. She took a position working as a consultant, traveling under contract across the country as a technical lead for the cloud-based financial management and human capital management software vendor, Workday. Sarala enjoyed traveling, but wished to settle down in one place. As luck would have it, she applied to a position with Koppers – a global wood preservation technology company based in Pittsburgh – and was quickly contacted for an interview. The rest is history.
Sarala is now a senior HR systems analyst for Koppers, serving as the main point of contact for its HRIS function across all locations, domestic and global, with a focus on business processes and application support. Thanks to Koppers “family atmosphere,” the job comes quite easy to her: “I get a chance to sit with coworkers and superiors on a regular basis discussing what’s important to us. It makes you feel like you are part of the Koppers family.” Sarala is equally proud of the company’s commitment to diversity, female leadership and employee recognition for good work: “It is truly the best place to work. I’ve noticed from day one that Koppers is there for their employees. Women are very well respected and they are open to leaders of other cultures and ethnic groups.”
Outside of the workplace, her colleagues helped Sarala discover what makes Pittsburgh great. “It’s not plain, flat land like the other places that I have lived,” she says, “And, like Toronto, the neighbors are friendly and welcoming.” She followed their advice and purchased a home in one of the region’s neighborhood gems, Bellevue – located along the Ohio River and just 6.5 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. It’s a home she’s always excited to showcase to her family. “My children come to see me whenever they get the chance and they say ‘Mom, this is the best place you have chosen to live.’”
From the city’s love for the Steelers to its love of bridges, Sarala enjoys exploring and getting acclimated to the city. “I love to drive around and explore new and beautiful places.” She enjoys visiting Kennywood Amusement Park, the PPG Zoo and Aquarium, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens as well as the local stores and shops in her neighborhood. The eclectic food scene in Pittsburgh has also introduced her to “the best meatballs I’ve ever tasted” from Sienna Mercato, delicious Thai food from Nicky’s Thai Kitchen, and she’s a big fan of the Indian cuisine offerings from The Commoner.
Even though she is far from where she was born, Sarala has found a “taste of India” right in her backyard. While taking the scenic drive along the windy, mountainous back roads of Pittsburgh’s suburbs, she discovered a Hindu Temple situated beautifully atop a hill. “Instantly, I was at home, in India.” Her advice for newcomers: “People are so friendly here. Just one smile and one ‘Good Morning!’ and they are all there for you.”