--BY REBATI ADHIKARI
“It’s tough being a CEO, either for a male or female. Gender-based preferences in work is a society-generated mindset. Things are different biologically, but people should stop playing the gender card which in reality obstructs the professional development of women,” says Shreejana KC, CEO of RR Shree School of Technology, a multimedia institute which works both as a training academy and development studio.
As someone who grew up in an environment free of gender discrimination, KC expresses her dislike for narratives like ‘you have been successful despite being a woman’. A native of Lalitpur, KC says she had a very unhampered childhood. But she was a reserved and reticent child with huge self-doubt, doubting every bit of work she used to do. Nevertheless, she took up creative activities as well and loved to sketch. KC married early, soon after completing her SLC, but continued her education and career. In 1998, she joined the Institute of Engineering, Pulchowk and completed diploma in Civil Engineering after giving birth to her first child. Due to her deep interest in computer and technology, she shifted to computer engineering for further studies.
KC says that her confidence has been the major element in her personal and professional growth and that she was able to make tough decisions during the important moments of her life. “I had to appear in the final college exams two days after the birth of my child. There were two choices ahead of me either to continue my studies or look after the newborn, and my health was also not good at that time, but I had to make a call,” she recalls. She adds, “I decided to give continuity my studies and asked my family members to take care of my child until I finished my exams.” KC’s family members noticed her strong desire to continue her studies and they did not stop her. “If I had been comfortable with what I had then, I wouldn’t have gotten here,” expresses KC.
She holds a Master’s degree in computer engineering from Pokhara University. To improve her social engagement and boost public exposure, she also completed a Master’s in Rural Development from Tribhuvan University. Currently she is pursuing a PhD in cloud computing and e-governance at Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
KC’s first job was in a USAID project and she later worked with different NGOs. While working on research projects for NGOs and INGOs, she got involved in generating instruction materials and video content for various programmes. To produce such content, she had to seek outside help and saw that there was a gap in the production of content. She then realised that organisations needed to have separate teams for multimedia work.
The courses of the computer engineering programme she studied also covered certain parts of multimedia, animation and graphics. But KC was unaware about the huge market demand for multimedia. After working for years in different organisations, she came up with the idea to establish a multimedia institute which could operate a training academy as well as and a development studio. KC’s plan materialised in 2017 when RR Shree School of Technology was founded and started operation in January 2018. The institute specialises in 3D animations, visual effects, video editing, graphic designing and artificial intelligence, among others and provides diploma-level courses and crash courses to students eager to get training in the areas of multimedia.
KC also owns an engineering consulting agency, but her priority is RR Shree School of Technology. Prior to starting the institute, she worked as CEO of Hope International College from 2013 to 2016.
In today’s world ruled by digital content, multimedia is an essential part of marketing strategies in all business sectors and KC believes that the full potential of mutimedia in Nepal can only be realised with proper training and content development.
Doing something on her own wasn’t too difficult for her as she received the full support of her family. “Anyone looking to establish a new business on their own faces some kind of struggle. I had my share of it. But with the family support, it didn’t become an uphill task for me,” she says.
According to KC, RR Shree School of Technology is the one and only Autodesk certified 3D animation and VFX training centre and studio in Nepal. “Autodesk is a leading global player in animation and VFX tools. Getting its authorisation is tough; the institutions looking to receive the certification are required to undergo an assessment based on infrastructure and certified trainers,” she says. Her aim is to produce a market-ready workforce as Nepal has a shortage of trained professionals in the field of multimedia and animation.
A mother of two, KC thinks it is up to individuals in how they manage their professions and personal lives. “People may find themselves in a catch-22 situation if they do not have a good work-life balance. So, setting priorities is important to move forward,” she says. According to KC, patience, perseverance and focus are qualities needed to succeed in business.
She sees a bright future for women entrepreneurs in Nepal. She finds it encouraging seeing a growing number of women in business and in leadership roles in corporate organisations. “However, the number of women in multimedia and animation is still very small. Factors such as family responsibility and time flexibility in work could be the reasons behind it,” she shares, adding that many women request nine to five work hours. According to KC, the field of multimedia and technology generally requires some extra effort regarding time to meet deadlines which at times can be a barrier for women professionals.
KC’s full focus is on the growth of her company. She has been thinking of opening training centres of RR Shree School of Technology in different parts of the country. “I will continue to strive for the growth of the company. I have strategic plans to work for the recognition of the multimedia sector as an industry,” she says, adding, “Multimedia and animation will grow tremendously if an official curriculum on multimedia and animation is developed and the provision of credit transfer for the courses is introduced.”