Retiree happy volunteering and providing exemplary service to customers

For Anjali Chugh, working at Bow Valley College for 32 years was the best time of her life.

“I loved it because what I did made a big difference in people’s lives,” says the former donor relations associate who retired almost three years ago.

Having arrived in Canada from Zimbabwe in 1976, Anjali found it difficult to find a job. That’s when she was first introduced to Bow Valley College, then called Alberta Vocational College. Anjali enrolled in a business administration program in 1978 and her choice to study at Alberta Vocational College proved to be serendipitous.

“The person doing the hiring had family who’d graduated from Alberta Vocational College, and the door was open for me,” she remembers.

As fate would have it, Anjali would soon find herself back at Alberta Vocational College, this time as an employee.

The economy worsened and Anjali lost her job a couple of years later when the company closed as a result of the downturn.

That’s when she applied for a donor relations position at Alberta Vocational College. After beginning her career at Bow Valley College as a temporary worker, Anjali became a full-time employee a year later.

“It was a fulfilling job,” she says of her donor relations position. “The donors became like a family.”

Among her responsibilities, organizing the donors and students who attended Celebrating Student Futures, an event where donors have the opportunity to socialize with current students.

“It was an amazing event,” she says. “The donors loved it too. They could see how much of a difference we made to the students.”

In 2017, Anjali retired. She knew it was time, but after retirement she missed the camaraderie she had at her job.

That didn’t last long though as Anjali’s son recruited her to help in his business venture of opening a Mexican fast food restaurant.

“I love it,” she enthuses. “I have a personal rapport with guests. I like talking to them and providing the best service that I can.”

When she’s not in the restaurant, Anjali volunteers in the kitchen at the Drop-In Centre, and helps her elderly friends with shopping, appointments, and other tasks. During retirements, she’s also reconnected with her spirituality, meditating regularly and gathering with an online group.

Recently, Anjali had the chance to come back to the place where her career journey started over 30 years ago. She noted the changes, saying “it has grown so much and there is so much diversity here now; it’s like a microcosm of the world.”

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