Konnitha’s Story: 10 Years At PEPY
Past employees of PEPY Empowering Youth often recall their time at PEPY as being part of a large community or family where the students and team members cultivate a second home. The programs and target areas may change over time to better respond to the community, but the spirit of teamwork and open communication has always remained consistent. One team member that has ensured PEPY maintains its wholesome environment is our Finance and Admin Manager, Konnitha Sien.
This year marks Konnitha’s tenth anniversary at PEPY where she has continuously supported the organization through its many changes while helping new team members get acclimated to their role and reach their potential. This is because when she joined the PEPY team years ago, the former staff did the same for her.
Before coming to PEPY, Konnitha studied Finance and Banking at the University of SE Asia in Siem Reap while working voluntarily as a receptionist. After graduating in 2010, she sought out a position at an NGO. She knew even before coming to PEPY that it would be important for her to apply her skills in an organization that contributes to the community. Fortunately for us, she was hired by PEPY in September of 2010 as an Accounting Assistant. Within her first year, she was promoted to be an Accountant.
This was her first job and she relied on the foreign and Cambodian staff to help her understand the inner-workings of an NGO. At the time, there were 40-50 staff members and 10 of them were foreigners. PEPY also had one remote office in Chanleas Dai, Kralanh in addition to our office in Siem Reap. Konnitha remarked that the dynamic then was very different from today since we currently have only 1 foreign staff person and 19 Khmer team members in one office.
The old team dynamics gave Konnitha access to many team members to learn from in order for her to develop her capacity. As a result, she became the Finance Manager after 1 year and was eventually promoted to the Finance and Admin Manager position in 2015. Her additional Admin work included arranging government and office documents, as well as supporting staff recruitment.
Konnitha’s career at PEPY and her family were built alongside each other. When she started at PEPY she was single, and she got married in 2012 after her initial promotions at PEPY. In 2013, she gave birth to her daughter Hannah and added another daughter, Votey, to her family in 2017. Her daughters, especially Hannah, are seen as part of the PEPY team, often coming to visit the office and are active participants in PEPY events. Every PEPY student and team member alike know Hannah and Votey and they are some of PEPY’s biggest cheerleaders during sporting events. Through this, Konnitha and her family have built a sense of comfort and home at PEPY that promotes a friendly and welcoming space.
As much as Konnitha has given to PEPY, she feels like there is so much that the students and team have given back to her. She fondly remembers the reading events that PEPY team members conducted during her first years at PEPY where young students were provided books and encouragement to read for 10-15 days. Another event that she loved was a challenge game where PEPY’s Cambodian team members were paired with a foreign team member to travel around Siem Reap and identify places and do activities.
Today, there are still many events at PEPY initiatives that make Konnitha feel proud to come to work every day. Our Dream Management Program’s Sharing Events, where speakers come from across the country to provide inspirational messages to rural high school students, is an initiative she especially looks forward to every year.
If you asked Konnitha how she feels after working at PEPY for ten years, she would tell you that she is always treated like family and that everyone is equal. Beyond that, she believes in the mission and the work of PEPY and is proud that we help others. Konnitha said, “we may not have all the money to fix all the needs of Cambodia, but at least we are truly part of the solution.”
She is very happy to work at an organization wherein her 10 years there was never any corruption. She says, “PEPY has integrity” and that not many other Finance Managers are as fortunate, and are often put into situations where they must compromise their values. As a result, Konnitha is very committed to PEPY and makes sure that all present and future team members are subject to a friendly and positive environment where everyone continues to help each other improve.
Going forward, Konnitha hopes that PEPY can continue to reach more people from additional districts and high schools that need our support while maintaining our mission and goals. She does not know if she will stay at PEPY forever but hopes that her ten years at PEPY were as beneficial to the team and PEPY family as much as it was for her.
The PEPY team is indebted to Konnitha for her service and her ability to make the workspace home. We look forward to 10 more years of Konnitha and her family brightening up the office!