Sreekumar Pillai: Dedication and humility are hallmarks of success


    From teaching Computer Science in 1994 without a single computer in the school to managing nine schools today, Mr. Sreekumar has indeed had a unique journey in Kuwait. His story and how his day to day policy of taking things as it comes along, is indeed something we can look up-to.

    Hailing from Thiruvalla-Kerala Mr. Sreekumar came to Kuwait in March 1992 as a computer teacher for Gulf Indian School(GIS). He is currently living the Kuwait life with his wife Ambika, their daughter, who is doing her first-year of medicine, and son who is in his 8th grade at GIS.

    His journey from a computer teacher to the manager of the school started only due to his restless nature while working as a teacher in the school, where he offered his free time after classes to help at the office. This gradually reached a situation where he was involved in administration, registration and even attending phone calls.

    Later in October 1995, when there was a management change, the owner of the school asked him to continue the same non-academic functions thus leading to his current role as manager. His journey as manager of one school with 350 students and 17 teachers, to nine schools with 1700 students and 460 teachers is both interesting and intriguing.

    How does your day start?

    I make sure to give a nice stretch to my spine while on bed and then have warm water with lemons. This gives me the right wakeup. After which, I carry on to check my morning emails and messages before I head to work.

    How do you plan your day-to-day activities while at work and while you are traveling?

    I have an open policy and there is no pre-defined plan. I face things as they come along, because I cannot keep any situation in any school waiting. And when traveling I have one person responsible to inform and coordinate things happening at the different schools. These days it is much easier to communicate with technology through WhatsApp and emails but that was not the case back when I started, when communication was through fax and I had a daily reporting system setup while I traveled.

    What is the most favourite time of your day?

    I love my job and it is definitely the most favourite part of my day because it is tailor made and I’m part of developing this company on a daily basis from scratch to this level and then of course the time I get with my friends is my next favourite time during the day.

    What is the one thing you make sure to do during your day?

    I take things as it comes along and try not to be stressed during any part of the day no matter what the situation is in front of me.

    What is the most challenging part of your day?

    Multi-tasking beyond capability. For instance, when I have three phone calls on hold and two others in front of me, and then a 3rd person walks in with an even more severe situation. In such a case I have to attend to the most severe situation, and I lose track of all that was on hold. This I would say is definitely the most challenging, but often in such a case I would hand over everything else and handle the one thing that needs my personal attention.

    How does your day end?

    I make sure I spend at least an hour at home with family before going to bed which mostly includes a dubsmash with my son and playing around with the puppy, and if I have more time I would call some of my friends.

    Tell us about your life in Kuwait and most memorable days in Kuwait?

    Life in Kuwait is very peaceful. It’s the best place to sleep and the most worry free country and being in Kuwait almost half my life, Kuwait definitely makes me most comfortable. When it comes to memories often we all have memories from our start. I still remember to this day when three months into my job as a teacher at GIS, I offered my help to pacify a crying KG child. Carrying him around the grounds and then leading him back to his class was just my way to help as always, but when he turned out missing I was scolded for doing something that was not a part of my work.

    Well although we did manage to find the child and he was safe it’s definitely a memory I can never forget. Of course there are many happy memories and some major ones include the feeling I get when my predictions on some numbers during some major top management meetings come true. Often certain numbers don’t have any data to be based on but I have to give an answer when asked at the management meetings. This includes my prediction on the number of students who would join a new school and thankfully this has come true in eight such cases.

    How has the life in Kuwait influenced your career and career growth?

    A lot, but I would redefine this growth as tailor made for this city alone. Definitely my little knowledge in Arabic and understanding of everyone around me irrespective of their different cultures is useful o my career in Kuwait. But I guess if I transplanted to another city I may not be as successful as I am now.

    But I guess my career in Kuwait definitely has had its many positives as well It is most definitely clear that his daily routine and great humility is the secret to his success, and sincerity to what he does has led him to top in the career he has today. His advice to students is to consider work as a situation at home and dedicate oneself to completing any task diligently, irrespective of the tension and time it may consume.

    – By Meryl M

    Special to The Times Kuwait