Rising Stars 2023: Sailu Aryal

Sailu aryal in detail

Age: 39.

Job title/occupation/place of employment: Corporate Governance Specialist, Dupaco Community Credit Union.

Volunteer activities: Junior Achievement of the Heartland.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Loras College; certified public accountant and Masters of Business Administration from the University of Dubuque.

Family: Husband, Girvan Aryal, and son, Shray Aryal, 7.

Person most inspirational to me and why: The real reason for everything I am today is because of the people I am blessed to be surrounded by. My mother is purely love and courage, her ability to care for others and her strength to face challenges inspire me the most. She has the biggest dream for me and her belief inspires me to live up to her vision.

I have two sisters who look up to me and that inspires me to make a positive impact in the world. My husband inspires me to choose peace at all times. My son, who is continuously learning the ever-changing environment around him, inspires me to accept and embrace change.

I’m inspired to another level by some of the most genuine people at Dupaco. My colleagues are the epitome of humility, servant leadership and empathy. They lead by example and inspire me to be the best version of my authentic self. I am truly blessed to “do this life,” in the words of one of my inspirations, with my people.

Favorite thing to do outside of work: Create memories with my family.

One word to describe me: Grateful.

What’s one thing that most people would be surprised to know about you: I’m an introvert, yet if I believe in the purpose, there aren’t many things I wouldn’t dare to do.

Greatest fear: Losing curiosity and the desire to learn and grow.

What’s the one thing you are most passionate about in your life: I love people. We are blessed to be here, together in this journey of life connected by the invisible human bond. One of the memories I cherish of my grandpa is of him sitting outside our house on a busy street in Kathmandu, Nepal, on a hot summer day.

Next to him were huge pitchers of homemade lemonade. He offered a glass of lemonade to anyone interested in quenching their thirst. From strangers to little children to adults passing by the street, they took a break to indulge in this treat and offered thanks to him and even blessings to our family.

I’m passionate about carrying the legacy of generosity, kindness and empathy my family instilled in me at an early age and helping others at every opportunity I receive. I’m also grateful for my place at Dupaco where we strive to serve people and communities, which fulfills my passion to contributing to the happiness of people.

As a corporate governance specialist for Dupaco Community Credit Union, it is Sailu Aryal’s job to ensure that the organization complies with all government policies and regulations.

It is a job that encompasses nearly every department and branch of Dupaco. And while Aryal’s work is an important component of that organization’s everyday operations, never was it more important than in 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw businesses having to shut down or severely alter the way in which they operated. The launch of the government’s Paycheck Protection Program in response to those alterations meant that Aryal had to become a subject expert in a matter of days in what was an in-depth and complicated program with daily changes to its guidelines.

Danielle Gratton, who nominated Aryal for Rising Stars, is Dupaco’s CFO.

“Sailu’s dedication to implementing a successful PPP at Dupaco in a time of immense uncertainty allowed 654 businesses to keep their doors open and continue operating during COVID-19,” said Gratton in her nomination application.

Aryal, who came to Dupaco as a senior internal auditor in 2017, said administering the PPP was, to say the least, interesting.

“The pandemic was this crazy thing that disrupted everyone’s lives,” she said. “Everybody needed relief, and we wanted to help as many businesses as possible. The first thing I did every morning was check for rule changes. And those changes had to be communicated across several different departments.”

Gratton said Aryal’s behind-the-scenes efforts were essential in administering the program.

“(Sailu’s) leadership and commitment (allowed) Dupaco to keep hundreds of businesses doors open, paychecks continuing for thousands of individuals and families and business services continuing to be offered throughout the communities Dupaco serves,” she said. “She did this with a smile on her face, always providing a helping hand in whatever capacity she could.”

Aryal also gives back to the community in other ways. She has served on the board of directors at Mary’s Inn, which supports young and expectant mothers. She also is involved with Junior Achievement, visiting classrooms and teaching children about financial literacy.

“These children are so adorable and they are so smart,” Aryal said. “They are just bright little kids, and it blows my mind how much they want to learn.”

Gratton said Aryal is a true asset to the Dubuque community.

“Her passion for financial literacy and commitment to serving others has enriched the lives of so many individuals,” she said.

Aryal, who came to Dubuque from her native Kathmandu, Nepal, to attend Loras College in 2003, said she has found a home in Dubuque.

“The difficult thing is not coming from another country,” she said. “It’s finding your people. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your background is or what language you speak. It’s finding that human connection. Finding the place where you belong. For me, that is absolutely here.”