Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month: Meet Shaona Bandyopadhyay
Shaona Bandyopadhyay recently joined Treasury Prime as a sales development representative. She is responsible for reaching out to fintechs and enterprises that may benefit from partnering with Treasury Prime and its growing network of banks. While interviewing, Shaona says she could tell the culture at Treasury Prime was “impeccable” and was excited to make the transition from ecommerce to fintech. And while Treasury Prime is a remote company, Shaona makes good use of our San Francisco office. Born and raised in the East Bay, Shaona says she feels privileged to have grown up — and continue to live — in such a diverse place.
Tell us a bit about where and how you grew up.
I was born in Fremont. Fremont is known for having a huge Asian population, so growing up, I was surrounded by people who looked like me. It’s something I know I’m really lucky to have had, because that’s not the experience everyone has — my parents definitely didn’t.
My parents moved to the Bay Area from India in the 80s and it was very different back then. They first lived in West Oakland where there was just a small South Asian community at the time. Outside of a small group of relatives, my parents had to figure out how to build their lives here on their own. Thankfully, the culture of openness that we have today in the Bay existed back then, as well. While my parents adjusted to being in a new country, their neighbors were very kind and welcoming and helped them acclimate. My mom told me that her neighbor was the one who taught her how to put in my brother’s car seat.
When it comes to how I was raised, I think there are a lot of stereotypes that exist about Asian parents, whether it’s being super strict or having unrealistic expectations, but of course that’s not always true. My parents really pushed me to pursue whatever I wanted and to think for myself and they made it known that the picture of success looks different for everyone. I think this is because my parents are pretty similar; they both are stubborn individualists, and that’s rubbed off on me.
And as my parents are Bengali (my parents are from India but are ethnically Bengali), I definitely picked up some characteristics from them as well. Hospitality is really important in Bengali culture; if you have a guest over, you’re supposed to feed them a five-course meal and keep them at your home, almost as if you’re holding them hostage. Growing up, when I’d have friends over, my parents would make these big elaborate meals, and I would get so embarrassed, but my friends would tell me “Wow, Shaona, your parents are amazing!”
I definitely grew to really appreciate that about my parents and I’ve inherited that same sense of hospitality from them.
Were there any challenges to growing up in such a diverse place?
One of the biggest challenges I would say wasn’t really directly about me, but more so my parents. When I was younger, there was this idea that my family would eventually move back to India. As things progressed, it became more clear that America — the Bay Area — would be our home now and that things in India have also been moving incredibly fast. The place they knew in India is now something completely different.
I would also eventually go on to live in places that were not as diverse as my hometown and it was definitely a bit of an adjustment. That experience really gave me an interesting perspective in that while I grew up in a diverse place, it was also a bit insulating — I didn’t know what it was like to be in a place that didn’t have the same kind of diversity.
Speaking of the Bay Area, you now spend most of your days at Treasury Prime’s San Francisco office. What have you enjoyed most about working at Treasury Prime?
Everyone is very welcoming, kind, and helpful.
I remember thinking when I was interviewing: “These people are so nice, so different from every other interview experience I’ve been in.”
Now that I’ve been here for about a month, I can say everything rings true. I’ve met so many kind people who have been more than willing to guide and help me. And beyond that I really support the mission of Treasury Prime and the collaboration that goes into accomplishing it.
What’s your advice for someone looking to pivot into a career in tech?
Like my parents taught me, I would say just be yourself. Make sure that during the interview process you really let yourself shine.
You want the company to benefit from having the full version of you and vice versa. Look for companies that are interested in nurturing you and will value your unique perspective.
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