Eight degrees of success for South African family
A. Sue Weisler
RIT has become an educational legacy for eight members of the Chhita family from Johannesburg, South Africa.
Radha will graduate in May with a Master of Science degree in professional studies from the School of Individualized Study (SOIS)—like her sisters Asha ’07, and Tulsi ’16, before her. Another sibling, Kalpana, earned an MS in print media in 2004, and their father, Kishor, received an AAS degree in printing from RIT in 1974. Three cousins also attended RIT: Yogesh Chhita ’06 (graphic media); Janak Chhita ’05, ’06 (graphic media, MBA); and Bhadresh Rama, who studied graphic communications from 1993-1994.
And all work for Golden Era Group, the Chhita-family-owned business and second largest independent printing and packaging company in South Africa.
“The business was started by my grandfather, Bhoola, in 1942, and we continue to carry on our grandfather’s dream to build a better future for his family,” said Radha. “We all have a deep family commitment and strong work ethic to become part of the company’s executive team.
“My father, who is co-CEO with my sister Asha, believes everyone in the family should start working from the ground up. That’s the family rule: Whatever is needed is the role in the company we fill.”
Technology is the infrastructure of Golden Era’s product line which includes folding cartons, self-adhesive and IML labels, shrink sleeves, boutique bags, thermoformed plastic containers, three-piece metal cans, and manufacturing and printing of corrugated boxes and papermaking.
“I chose RIT over other printing and packaging offerings in the world because of its world-class program,” said Tulsi, who earned a Bachelor of Commerce in Accountancy and postgraduate Financial Management Honors in her homeland. “My father taught us all the equation in life: Opportunity + Instinct = Profit.”
Similarly, Radha received an accounting sciences degree and a post graduate degree in accounting, and is finalizing her Chartered Accountancy while completing her SOIS print, packaging and business concentration at RIT. She says the sisters don’t mind studying or working hard—and all get along really well.
“My observation of both Tulsi and Radha, and this can apply to the whole family, is that they had a mission when they came to RIT,” said Peter Boyd, SOIS lecturer and graduate program coordinator. “They showed up with a vision, were very clear about what they wanted to do, and able to articulate how a masters in professional studies would help them advance and impact their family business.”
Radha left Rochester in December and is completing her capstone project from South Africa. “I’m the eighth in the family line coming to RIT,” she said. “We always joke that there should be a Chhita building named after us on campus as there will be many generations to come.”
To learn more
For more information on the family company, go to www.golden-era.co.za.
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