Staff profile: Alka Kundi, labour relations officer

Alka Kundi


Name: Alka Kundi.

Nickname in high school: Well, my name is Alka, so the nicknames should be obvious. Alkaseltzer, Alcoholic and Alkatraz. In retrospect, I'm not sure if these were nicknames or if people were just making fun of me, but oh well.

Job title and department: Labour Relations Officer, Servicing.

What you actually do, in your own words: I talk to members and learn about them both personally and professionally. I try to understand difficulties they are encountering in the workplace, and work with them to help resolve those problems.

Secret talent unrelated to job: I like to work with my hands: cooking, painting, pottery, sewing, building Ikea furniture. The outcomes are usually disastrous but I enjoy the process.

At HSA since: October 6, 2014.

Job before HSA: Lawyer.

What you were doing when you were interrupted for this interview: Kickboxing.

Best thing you did to help a member in the last week: I have been trying to help a member with a pretty complicated pension issue. It has taken me some time to understand the issue well enough to explain it to the member and to the employer, but I think we are getting there. I think that by pushing myself to understand the issue in detail, I have been able to educate the member, and to advocate on their behalf effectively, and we are now starting to see the employer come around.

Plans for the weekend: I am taking my two little boys to a puppet show.

Last book read: The last book I read was the Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Good or bad: Very good, but very sad.

Why: The story is set in Nazi Germany, so of course it is extremely upsetting to be reminded of the atrocities that were going on at that time. The book is narrated by the Grim Reaper which gave it a very interesting and unique perspective.