It is not unusual for Girish Agrawal to drive to Kelowna just to grab a burger. He loves marathon driving. It gives his philosophical mind time to think, to reflect on a tragedy few could cope with. In 2003, Agrawal lost his father. Then, in 2005 his first son died of sudden infant death syndrome 10 days after birth. One year later, his wife gave birth to another boy, who died of SIDS at eight months. Many would have been emotionally and professionally TKO’d by such a triple blow. But Girish Agrawal soldiered on. “My children taught me how beautiful life is,” he says.
Agrawal’s life has never been easy. Born in Mumbai, later raised in Delhi, he began working at age five. His poor parents couldn’t afford to send him to public school, so he attended a ramshackle municipal school. After class, he worked seven-hour shifts stuffing plush toys into plastic bags for rich kids.
Perseverance is an Agrawal trait. He went on to become a chartered accountant in India, then a certified fraud examiner in the United States. He also worked as a manager with KPMG. In his five years with Investors Group as a financial consultant, he has garnered an astonishing list of awards, including last year’s Gold Medal Award, given to the company’s annual top consultant during their first four years at the company. It also recognizes them for their community work.
Goal-oriented and professionally aggressive, Agrawal makes sure he helps others. He volunteers with the SIDS Foundation to help parents struggling with the loss of an infant. And he spends up to 20 hours a month with families dealing with other types of tragic deaths. “We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” he says. “We have to do as much as possible when we have the ability to do it.”
Donor, Kids Up
of Living Calgary