The youngest girl in Australasia to acquire the Lean Six Sigma Green belt, Khushi Jadhav has many other feathers to her cap.
By all accounts, Khushi Jadhav is not your ordinary teenager. This 16-year old student of Ivanhoe Grammar has just been recognised as the youngest in Australasia to acquire the Lean Six Sigma (LSSS) Green Belt certification. “Her ideas on waste elimination have resulted into multiple performance improvement and cost reduction projects. This is truly commendable,” wrote the Secretary General of Lean Six Sigma Society of Professionals to her school principal.
In true honour, Jadhav was felicitated on her achievement in school. The moments leading to that felicitation were full of nerves for Jadhav who had no idea why she was called to the principal’s office. She wondered if she had missed out on any homework or floundered any rules, which, of course, would be a rarity in her case. But on being told of her achievement, Jadhav not only heaved a sigh of relief, her excitement knew no bounds.
Prior to achieving the Green belt, Jadhav had already passed the Yellow Belt certification last year. But this came as a big surprise, she modestly says, “Because it was not an easy exam at all.” Moreover, since this was something outside her school routine she had to put in extra time towards the preparations. And once she is 18 years of age, Jadhav will be eligible to sit for the Black Belt certification exam, which is the greatest qualification in the field.
Explaining what LSSS is all about, Jadhav says, “It is a systematic study or an approach to reduce waste within a company. In other words, how companies can achieve goals within a more efficient pace and in an efficient way. It follows the study design of business management and the approach towards social enterprises. But it is a model that can be used for any life or career solutions.”
So how did she prepare herself? “It is a six-month process to learn everything because you have to write an exam. My father was a great mentor but the main part was self-study. Personally, I found the study enjoyable as it involved verbal communication with family, peers, workmates, etc. I work part-time at KFC which helped me observe the implications of concepts such as time and waste elimination and it all proved helpful. I had to give examples on how a business can improve on certain areas and I could draw examples from work.”
Interestingly, much of Jadhav’s inspiration comes from her father Sandeep Jadhav, who last year was named Victorian Father of the Year and is also a Master Black Belt holder himself in LSSS. Jadhav maintains, “While someone can tell you to do something, it is the interest and self-motivation that is very important.”
For this Year-11 student, education is one of the most important challenges facing the youth today. “Education can be defined into many categories and is relevant to many facets of life. For example, young people living in poverty-stricken countries require further education on life-skills, everyday problem solving and become innovative and resourceful to live a sustainable life. In addition, there is a need for youth living in developed countries to think outside the box and or make the box bigger despite the technology, social and electronic media challenges.” And she believes the Lean Six Sigma philosophy should be taught and encouraged because it is something that can be implemented in any field or situations backed by education.
However, the LSSS Green Belt is not the only feather in her cap and Jadhav is no stranger to awards. With her passion for community service and affability, she was recognised last year in the Australia Day Honours with a Community Award for outstanding dedication to community service. She has worked for many not-for-profits organisations in India and Australia. Her latest project Ignite sees her working with underprivileged children in Victoria and Central India educating them in vital life skills.
“Receiving the Community Award was a big achievement for me, it was one of my proudest moments,” reflects Jadhav, who displays remarkable maturity as she switches off from her peers. “The driving force behind my passion towards community service is the feeling of accomplishment and the satisfaction I receive from helping others and making a contribution to the change I would like to see in the world. In addition, I enjoy the positive and constructive criticism for further improvement in my ideas and approach. I strongly believe community service provides a multiple vision and a diverse dimension on the world around us and the community we live amongst.”
Jadhav’s achievements are also shared on her school’s Facebook page. A May post talks about her being “recognised by Banyule council with a National Volunteer Award for being an excellent role model in school, the local community and internationally for her passion for community service which has had a big impact and encouraged young people to make positive changes in their community.” This year, she also has the Kurt Hahn commendation for community service by His Majesty King Constantine.
Last December, Jadhav was also in Singapore at a conference conducted to create a movement to engage mentally challenged youth and create opportunities for their future goals. There were a few takeaways for her from the event. “The magnitude of how humans affect climate change and how we can partner with various organisations to eliminate further harm to the environment; two, the opportunity and the value adding aspects of people suffering from disability and the importance of inclusiveness in work place and community.”
Asked what her ambition is, Jadhav says, “It is to always do my best and never to stop learning. Continuous learning is very important. I don’t think any goal is too high to achieve, if there is a will there is a way. Learning something in different ways to achieve the end goal is important for me; otherwise you can get burnt out or bored doing the same method.” But more definitely for the future, she wants to do something related to commerce and science.
A bright and earnest student, Jadhav prides herself on her many voluntary roles. Apart from her ongoing project Ignite, she continues to volunteer for the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Cancer Council, Red Shield Appeal, Berry Street, to name a few. “I strongly believe community service provides a multiple vision and a diverse dimension on the world around us and the community we live amongst,” she says.
It would not be incorrect to say that Jadhav is surely but slowly chartering a successful career path for herself. Her definition of success is improvement of one’s own achievement, “It can’t be compared to other people’s success. It is the hard work put in.”
Equipped with a drive, compassion and the eagerness to learn, Jadhav is the bright girl on campus!
By Indira Laisram