Baramdai Sharma, or more commonly known as Alicia, has a personal story that is one of inspiration. She overcame many obstacles and economic challenges on her journey to achieving the American dream. It was her passion to help families overcome the hurdles that life throws at them that led to her getting involved in the community and run for Town Council.
She strongly believes in giving back to the community that has given her and her family so much, which is why she volunteers for the township 150 celebration planning committee and the Mount Olive High School Parent Club (MOHSPC) Scholarship Committee. She also volunteers for the clean-up of Link road and other areas in town and supports the Mount Olive food pantry.
Her personal story motivated her to get involved in her community in Guyana, where she worked with the local church and business to support the feeding program and implement a skills training workshop for the youths in the underprivileged area.
Alicia brings a strong background in accounting and finance. She has over thirty-plus years of professional experience in three countries (Guyana, Canada, and the USA). She currently works at a private school (K-12) and is part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team working with students in the Christian Affinity group program.
Alicia graduated with a bachelor’s of Accounting degree from Liberty University, VA, and earned an MBA from Scranton University, PA. Her education in the MBA program has equipped her with the leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills necessary to work efficiently and collaboratively with everyone.
Having someone with her caliber and skills on the Town Council will lead to strategic planning, open communication between Town Council and the residents, in addition, to increase in accountability and transparency.
As an immigrant, woman, and person of color, she believes in equity, diversity, and inclusivity for everyone. No one should be discriminated against due to race, age, gender, sexual preference, disability, or religion. Alicia will welcome the uniqueness of the residents and embrace the diverse cultures, qualities, and perspectives in building a stronger and more inclusive Mount Olive.
When elected, she would like to partner with the churches and business communities to implement policies and programs that are inclusive and fair for the residents. Although very often it’s not about new programs, it’s about connecting existing services with the people who need them most.
She feels that the Town Council can do a much better job of connecting our seniors and our veterans to existing health department services and to help those without access to technology to find the services that they need to live healthier happier lives.
As a co-chair for Cultural Alliance of Mount Olive (CAMO), she will work collaboratively with the Recreation Department to increase accessibility to existing programs and seek creative ways to develop new ideas to meet the needs of our community that is fun, interactive, and educational.
Mount Olive has made substantial progress over the years but she feels we have become complacent. She plans to encourage creative collaboration between the Town Council, the Economic Development Committee, local businesses, and residents to make Mount Olive a vibrant and thriving community. Together, we can fill the empty storefronts, restore Budd Lake, and generate revenue for the township.
Alicia is passionate about creating a new vision for Mount Olive. A vision that includes a diverse background, sustainable economic growth, increase programming for the arts and culture, health and wellness, recreation, infrastructure, with a governing body that is accessible, accountable, and visible!
Baramdai Sharma aka Alicia Sharma was born in Guyana, South America, where she lived for more than half of my life before migrating to Canada and eventually to the U.S.A. For the past six years, she lived on Winding Hill Drive with her husband Edmund and two of our six children, Nafeeza and Nicole. Nafeeza is a 1st-year student at Rutgers and Nicole is a sophomore at MOHS (Go Mauraduers!).
As a little girl, Alicia grew up in a tiny village with no electricity or public transportation; no television or cell phones; no proper roads or basic infrastructure. She walked for miles every day to school and sold produce from our kitchen garden to make ends meet. Like many people living in Guyana, her parents struggled financially. Her dad worked as a security guard and her mother took whatever job was available; sometimes as a maid, other times as a laborer. She also did her part in contributing financially. She remembers a time when she was ten, she would sell produce from the kitchen garden after school. She and her sister would walk from house to house selling all the produce.
This is a common story – parent(s) working multiple jobs to meet their financial obligations from healthcare to childcare to rent to groceries to education. Alicia finds herself in a similar situation when she was a senior in high school and needed to pay for her final exam. Her parents did not have the money, and she remembered how worried she was that she would not graduate, but her mother came through for her. She worked many jobs to pay for her exams. Now thirty-plus years later, she is living in Mount Olive and running for Town Council. Alicia is glad that her mom didn’t give up on her. She wants you to know that just as her mother did not give up on her, she will not give up on you! She will give 110% at all times.
In high school, Baramdai specializes in accounting but did not attend college because of financial challenges. However, she did not give up on that dream. In 2004, after relocating to Canada and the birth of her second daughter, she enrolled in college. It was challenging with a new baby, working and taking classes, but her husband was very supportive. She proudly graduated cum laude from Liberty University, VA with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and earned a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) from Scranton University, PA.
She adopted the motto “work smarter, not harder”. Baramdai is a professional accountant with 30 years of experience in three countries (Guyana, Canada & the U.S.A) and various industries such as financial, sales and distribution, manufacturing, insurance, pharmaceutical, and education. In her career, she successfully implemented cost-effective and time-saving programs and policies that improve efficiency within the organization.
My professional strengths:
- Accounting – management reporting, forecasting & budgeting, internal control, revenue recognition, variance analysis, consolidated accounting, P&L, & Balance Sheets, spreadsheets (Excel).
- Change Management – managed multiple departments through significant change through integration and system implementation.
- Team Leader – excel in working with different teams within the organization, and earns the respect of colleagues by being disciplined, dedicated, and committed to the goals. A strategic thinker who thinks outside of the box (big picture).
- Insurance Industry – Accounting Clerk, who spent five-year working in this industry. Learned that efficiency, accuracy, and being detail-oriented helps to save time and money.
- Manufacturing Company – Accounting Clerk with Colgate Palmolive. Worked in the accounting department as the Accounts Payable Clerk and in the IT department, managed inventory controls. It was in this role that she discovered learning new software comes naturally to her. It was at Colgate that she met the love of her life to whom she married.
- Distribution Company – worked with a start-up family-owned distribution company. Collaborated with the owner, Vice President, Controller, and Sales team to implement policies, systems, and internal control for the business.
- Financial Services – worked with Western Union / Grace Kennedy for five years before migrating to Canada. Responsibilities involved working with both internal and external customers to produce timely information for decision-making purposes. She even starred in a TV ad. Yes, you read that right. Her fifteen minutes of fame came when asked to be the face of a bill payment service offered by the company. It was quite the experience! As an accountant, she was organized, analytical, critical thinking, detail-oriented, and efficient in executing her duties. She gets along well with everyone and is a great team player.
- Migrating to Canada meant starting over, taking jobs outside of her area of expertise to pay the bills. She worked in the retail industry as a customer service representative. Many days she worked nights in the warehouse, assembling lamps or other products. Her supervisor, recognizing her dedication, moved her to the frontline as a cashier and eventually to the office for administrative duties. One difficulty I had to overcome was her shyness in speaking with customers.
- Financial Services – working at FNF was a dream come through for Alicia. She became a rising star within her department. In the first three months, she reconciled all a year’s worth of bank accounts. She was a fast learner and very adaptable in any area of the company. In the seven years there, she kept records for all the financial statements in divisions such as Quebec, Alberta, and British Columba. She even learned a few words in French! (Bonjour, comment ça va) She compiled a monthly binder for the corporate office in Florida which entails balance sheet reconciliations, budget variance analysis, and a consolidated financial statement. Her strong work ethic and professional conduct have earned the respect of her colleagues. Alicia built a strong relationship with everyone and was well respected by her peers. When she resigned to move to the United States, it was a tearful farewell party.
- Her journey in the United States was similar to Canada, start over again from the bottom. Working many part-time jobs to help pay the bills. In 2013, she got a job with a small private pharmaceutical company where she worked for five years in various roles. In the first three years, she was promoted three times, from Accounting clerk to Accounting supervisor. She later switched from accounting to Financial Planning and Analysis to expand her knowledge and learn more about the business. During her tenure, she helped developed policies, internal control, and designed systems to improve efficiency within the department. One accomplishment was utilizing time management skills to reduce time spent preparing bank reconciliation. As a fast learner of computer software programs, she was instrumental in automating the fixed assets records. This process improvement made month-end and year-end reporting easy for all users, especially for our external auditors. As an analyst in the financial planning department, she worked with all departmental heads to compile the five-year strategic budget. Setting up quarterly meetings to review the budget vs. actual to ensure all managers are aware of their spending. She also worked collaboratively with the Vice President on cash flow statements and management reports for the board meetings.
- Education Industry – Accounting supervisor for a private school, K-12. In this role, she worked with various department heads to ensure accurate reporting of revenue and expenditures. She also provides monthly reporting to departments’ heads regarding spending/revenue. She attends quarterly investment committee meetings and executes any decision made for our endowment portfolio. In her three-plus years at the school, I successfully improved systems and internal controls to the auxiliary programs and helped to transition the student billing and accounts receivable to a new software system. She works closely with our external auditors and third-party organization for statutory filing required by the state of New Jersey.
- In Guyana, she worked with local churches and businesses to implement programs such as a food pantry and skills training programs (computer literacy).
- In Canada, she volunteered her time at the local church as their treasurer.
- In the United States:
- Mount Olive 150 celebration committee – help plan for the township celebration and volunteer and took part in planned events.
- Student Advisor – Christian Affinity Group.
- Crisis counselor for a global non-profit organization dedicated to helping people who are going through a crisis such as suicide, mental health, bullying, discrimination, etc.
- MOHSPC – volunteer to help with the scholarship selection process.
- Environmental – she volunteers with the local Democrats to clean up Link Road once a month.
- Mount Olive Food Pantry – she supports the food pantry by donating at local food drive events.
“I am passionate about developing a new vision for what Mount Olive can become; a Mount Olive where diversity is celebrated and where every person is valued; a Mount Olive with sustainable economic growth and an economy that works for everybody; a Mount Olive that is governed by an accessible, accountable, and visible town council… a Mount Olive we all can be proud to call home.”