Earth Day with Soham Gehani

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Join Soham for a whirlwind tour of cross-cultural experiences, favourite quotes and why we should all keep Earth Day front of mind.

Soham Gehani is a Corporate Finance Manager in our Deals and Business Consulting team. Soham’s home office is Milton Keynes and he is currently on secondment to our London team, focusing on corporate finance opportunities in the Africa-UK and South Asia-UK corridors. Take it away, Soham!

If I were to explain my role to a six-year-old, I’d say I help clients buy and sell companies and lately I have been helping them to do this across Africa and South Asia. 

I spend most of my time advising clients on corporate finance transactions. Both my role and that of the firm depends upon what we’ve been appointed to do in each transaction respectively. 

Aside from my main role, I try to break down barriers and coordinate opportunities between the African member firms and our UK Advisory service lines/International Business Centre and country desks. I also support the firm’s business development efforts focused on African and South Asian geographies.

The best thing about my job is enjoying the freedom to pursue ideas which I am passionate about. These include focusing on emerging markets in my day job, being part of the Sustainability Representatives network and volunteering as an environmental champion.

Finish this sentence: Sustainability is… meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The three pillars of sustainability are people, planet and profit.

An inspiring quote by Pope John Paul II: “The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”

I’d never heard of an internet search engine planting trees before, but Ecosia is similar to Google, except for every 45 searches, it plants a tree. Over 80% of Ecosia’s ad revenue is used to fund planting trees and over 90 million trees have been planted to date! I definitely encourage people to choose Ecosia as their default search engine.

I was inspired to become an environmental champion because I believe that spreading the message of preserving our planet and influencing behavioural change will go a long way in improving the world’s overall efforts. To echo a famous chain of British grocery stores: every little helps.

Human activity has evolved significantly in the last few centuries leading us to where we are now. Tellingly, French conservationist Jacques-Yves Cousteau said: “Water and air, the two fundamentals on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.”

Earth Day is on 22 April and celebrates its 50th anniversary. The day serves to remind us to keep our planet and the environment at the forefront of our minds throughout the year. Its purpose is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.

This year Earth Day is going digital, so we can all get involved. Why not take the Earth Day challenge?

The last time I laughed was when I watched South African comedian Trevor Noah. I find him hilarious. You should check out one of his stand-up specials on Netflix, his show (The Daily Show), or his Instagram account.

The one thing I haven’t done yet that I’ve always wanted to do was play cricket for India. That ship has now sailed since I declared my allegiance to The Gambia! On a more serious note, I have always wanted to visit every country in the world. It is a work in progress. So far, I have been to 29 countries.

Life in The Gambia is all about the sun, sand and sea. It is a great winter sun destination in West Africa. My parents moved there for work in the 1980s from Mumbai, India. We are ethnic Sindhis, from the Sindh region of British India (present day Pakistan).

The Sindhi people have a recent history of being spread across the world. Due to the partition of India in 1947, a lot of my family (Hindus), including my grandparents, were forced to emigrate from their homeland in the Sindh region. Most of my extended family are now dotted around the world, from Hong Kong to Dubai to USA!

I have had the opportunity of growing up experiencing life in a developing country. This has its benefits as well as its drawbacks. But I would say it has grounded me, given me real perspective to never take anything for granted and to appreciate everything you have been blessed with.

My biggest achievement to date was representing The Gambia’s U-15 team in cricket. I remember the feeling going on my first tour as a 13-year-old, having never travelled overseas without my parents – just daunting! This always reminded me that hard work and pursuing your passion can make you achieve things you may not have thought you could.

The best advice I’ve received was to learn to treat others the way you would like to be treated.

A favourite quote of mine is from Mahatma Gandhi: “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”

My life in 10 words Indian-born, Gambian-bred, British-educated global citizen. Avid cultural explorer. Sustainability enthusiast.

I hope you enjoyed this discussion with Soham. Visit our sustainability page to learn more about how we are giving back to society.

22 April 2020 at 10:43 AM    |   Posted by Daniel Arda

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