Over the past several months, we have highlighted the talents, interests, and backgrounds of Kinder Foundation team members. They are the subject matter experts ensuring the Kinder Foundation mission is carried out with intention, diligence, and integrity.
Today we introduce you to Aarti Garehgrat, Kinder Foundation’s director of finance. A CPA, Aarti is responsible for the financial planning, analysis, accounting, and reporting for the Kinder Foundation.
What books, podcasts, articles or other content are you currently consuming? What are you enjoying or learning from them?
I love to read but mostly for enjoyment! A good book and a glass of wine are the perfect way to escape, especially after a busy day. The last really good book I read was The Nightingale. And during the pandemic I worked my way through the Harry Potter series for a second time. They are always so fun and magical. My husband and I also enjoy watching a good show every night after our son goes to sleep like The Crown, Queen’s Gambit, and Ozark. I also loved Bridgerton, but that’s one I couldn’t convince my husband to watch with me.
What, in your opinion, makes the Kinder Foundation unique amongst its peers?
Rich Kinder described our office in the most accurate manner: We are thorough but fast. This is one of the most unique qualities about the Kinder Foundation and has almost become a motto in our office. Our small team can create transformational change in Houston not only because of each person’s individual expertise in a particular area, but because we operate together as a team on each project. Included in that team are Rich and Nancy Kinder themselves who are both very much involved in the day-to-day aspects of the Foundation. They dig deep into the details and apply their extensive business knowledge and their genuine love of Houston to each potential future project. This keeps things moving quickly and allows for change to be achieved on a larger scale.
What is the most surprising or exciting part of your work with the Kinder Foundation?
The most exciting part of my job is being able to physically see and enjoy the transformative work the Kinder Foundation is doing in Houston. A few of our favorite places to visit in Houston are Discovery Green and Memorial Park. Our 3-year-old son even asks us to go to Eastern Glades! My family and friends also love visiting these places which fills me with a huge sense of pride. They are amazed to hear about the role the Kinder Foundation has played in these Houston landmarks and always tell me how lucky I am to be contributing to these projects firsthand.
If you had no commitments and a full weekend to spend in Houston, what would you do?
A perfect weekend in Houston would consist of us waking up early and taking our son to one of the many beautiful parks or museums our city has to offer. From there we would try to find an outdoor patio for lunch, go to a farmer’s market, or go to one of the local festivals that are constantly happening in Houston. At night, after our son is asleep, my husband and I would dress up and go explore Houston’s restaurant scene. There always seems to be something new and delicious popping up!
How has your past work experience helped inform or prepare you for your work with the Kinder Foundation?
My career experience has been a combination of traditional corporate work mixed with entrepreneurship. Immediately after college, I moved to New York for a couple of years to work at Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Then I made my way back to Houston and worked at Margolis, Phipps and Wright in their high-net-worth tax practice for about six years. After that I started a food business called Bagel Dots which is now sold at HEB. Simultaneously, while launching this business, I joined the Kinder Foundation. These completely different experiences helped prepare me for my job today. My corporate background prepared me by giving me the technical skills I need for my current job. Bagel Dots on the other hand made me realize how much I love creativity and building something from scratch. I think this has partly been why I love my job at the Kinder Foundation so much because I get to see a project begin from an idea and grow into something tangible and transformational right here in Houston.