The first of a series of VIA staff spotlights, Karim Dilawar is VIA Seattle’s Project Accountant.
“It’s not common to work for an organization where you actually look forward to coming back from vacation so you can share your experiences with your colleagues but at VIA, I feel just that.”
Born in Pakistan and now living in the US by way of Burnaby BC, Karim Dilawar is VIA’s project accountant and team manager of the VIA Ducks.
Always intrigued by the intricacies of business operations, Karim chose a career in project accounting “because you see the inside-out of a project, and project by project, you can see how the company is performing. I learn how a project can be successful–or not. Working closely with project managers, I can help identify any deficiencies and improvements.”
Karim offers similar advice to any finance professional looking for hands-on business experience. “Project accounting is a good field to apply all the accounting knowledge you learned in school.”
Already a year into his role at VIA, Karim maintains his enthusiasm for the work and the people he works with:
I truly enjoy coming to work every day. It is so refreshing to work for an organization where I am empowered to make decisions and provided opportunities to learn and grow. I am exposed to challenging and exciting tasks and projects that keep me motivated and engaged. Also, I love the people that I work with. VIA employs some of the brightest minds in the industry and it is a pleasure to interact with and bounce ideas off my peers.
And so, it’s unsurprising that when he’s not wrapped up with project accounting, Karim manages the VIA Ducks, VIA’s co-ed soccer team. He uses soccer as an opportunity to foster relationships with his VIA colleagues. “I only started playing soccer when I moved to Seattle, but I figured, ‘Hey, why not start a group setting where we can meet outside the office?’” He sees many similarities between organizing the VIA Ducks and project accounting: “with project deadlines and other commitments [that VIA staff have], consistently fielding 11 players every Monday can be a challenge. But it’s also about resource matching, as well as making sure everybody gets enough playing time.”
Karim’s favorite books, which skew towards autobiographies like Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom and comedian Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, remind him that even the world’s most iconic changemakers aren’t successful overnight: “to make improvements to your life, you need to be patient. I say this because I like to see things transpire quickly.”
“When you have been in the workforce as long as I have, you become a bit jaded as many organizations talk about how much they value their employees but in reality, very few actually practice it. In my experience, VIA is a rare exception to this as they genuinely value their employees. This is demonstrated by the growth and development opportunities employees have here, the compensation philosophy of the company, the culture and the rest.”