Read more about Mekhola

Meet Mekhola, whose journey from volunteering in remote Indian villages inspired a career with East Herts promoting equality, diversity and community wellbeing.

What does your job involve?

As the Community Wellbeing Programme Officer, I lead on the council’s wellbeing initiatives to improve the physical and mental health of residents. This involves building partnership with a variety of organisations and community groups across the district. Examples of such areas of work are: Developing and implementing the Cultural Strategy, leading on East Herts as a Dementia Friendly district, coordinating the council’s town and parish engagement events and supporting the council’s elected Members in championing their community leadership roles. 

What is your background?

I studied in India. I received my Bachelor of Arts (in geography and economics) then received Master of Arts in Archaeology from the University of Calcutta. I have a degree in Japanese language – although not fluent anymore and out of practice. I got married in 1983 and instead of going to Japan to further my studies, I joined my husband in UK. 

I decided to focus on my family life and pursue my interest in community work instead of repeating my studies in UK. I used to be a Rotaract member in India and worked on a voluntary capacity in the remote villages on a number of health and wellbeing issues. I also regularly hosted rural issues programmes on Indian Television. 

I wanted to continue working with/alongside people to enable them to enjoy better quality of life. 

What attracted you to work at East Herts?

From my research, interview and subsequent conversations I found out that despite being a leafy green district, low mortality rate and fairly wealthy, there were pockets of deprivation and limited work on diversity in East Herts. It was/is predominantly a white population area. In 2008, I was the first Black/Asian person with disability to work for East Herts at that time. I wanted to be thrown into the challenge of working in a completely different cultural environment and address the issues around attracting external funding, raising awareness of equality and diversity and making a positive impact on people’s lives.

What do you think of EH as an employer?

As it is a small organisation/employer compared to the unitary authorities I have worked for, I feel there is closeness/working relationship with colleagues across the Council depending on one’s working remit and practice. It was/is great that I got to know a huge number of colleagues in a number of different departments – I value this relationship and I never feel I work in isolation. I still have a number of colleagues who were in the organisation when I started – but there are a lot of new colleagues as well. Even though there are new colleagues, in a constantly changing world, East Herts upholds strong behavioural and cultural values. 

What are the benefits of working for East Herts? 

There are a number of benefits to working for East Herts Council such as: 

  • Employee Volunteering scheme
  • Staff Recognition scheme
  • Staff Briefing 
  • Employee Assistance programme
  • Live Well Work well – staff wellbeing programme 
  • Reward and Leisure benefits
  • Agile working scheme 
  • Training and development and many other support highlighted in the job opportunities website

Added to these, I personally think the council is committed to supporting people with disabilities and embracing different cultures. I have benefitted from a number of reasonable adjustments to my working patters, my work area etc. which has enabled me to do my job to my full potential.