CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Saurav J Bansal, Founder & CEO of GAIT Global

Saurav J Bansal is the founder & CEO of GAIT Global, a climate group leading in nature based solutions and carbon project advisory and development with its own proprietary AI/ML-powered MRV technology.

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To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

Currently, I am the Founder and CEO of GAIT (Green Artificial Intelligence Technology), a Singapore-based climate group specialising in nature-based solutions, carbon projects and green technologies.

I have always been passionate about climate solutions because of how climate change affects my cultural roots in the Pacific and South Asia, specifically Tonga and India. I completed a Bachelor of Commerce and a Masters in Business Information Systems at The University of Sydney, a Diploma in Communication Skills at The Trinity College of London and a Social Innovation Certification at The London School of Economics.

I began my career at Silicon-valley based cloud computing and virtualization technology company, VMware. I left VMware in 2020 to San Francisco-based Develop for Good, a digital agency for nonprofits, as the organisation’s Chief Marketing Officer.

While there, Develop for Good grew to a network of 1200+ developers and designers and work(ed/s) with 80+ partner organisations including The World Bank, UNICEF and The Nature Conservancy. More on my time at Develop for Good can be read here. 

While at Develop for Good, my passion for technology and insight into the environmental sector grew exponentially as I saw the myriad of issues that riddled the green space: greenwashing, transparency issues, and overall, a lack of robust technology for nature-based projects.

From there, I  worked closely with a world-class team of scientists and developers specialising in artificial intelligence, big data and nature-based solutions and founded GAIT. As GAIT’s CEO, I lead the company with the goal of advancing a more measurable, sustainable and accountable future for carbon markets, people and the planet.

What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I travel quite frequently with my role as we have projects and partners across Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific and Central Africa. While travelling, my days are quite full on between meetings, site-visits and emails.

When situated somewhere (usually Singapore or New Zealand), most work days are spent at my computer. Lots of meetings and emails, working with my team and ensuring GAIT is moving forward. It may not sound very interesting on paper.

However, my team is second to none, and we are passionate about our work and acknowledge the importance of our outcomes for others, which keeps my days interesting. I am also a firm believer in keeping my mind, body and soul healthy to be my best and give my best to GAIT, which means getting to the gym daily, spending time with family and friends and keeping up to date with what’s happening in the world.

I’m incredibly lucky to be travelling the world and building up my network to benefit GAIT and everyone involved, from my team to partners and projects. This past year I have travelled to places I would never have thought of travelling to, including Egypt for COP27, Indonesia and Cambodia; learning about other cultures, people and environments is a definite plus in this line of work.

What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work-life balance in a start-up is difficult, especially when the start-up is globally established in five different time zones.

When I think about work-life balance, I treat my time wisely. I ensure that my time working is utilised best, my time for family and friends is with those who want the best for me and me for them and to always make time for myself to reflect.

I am always available for my team, it is very important that my team feels reassured and confident moving forward with research, projects and partnerships. This doesn’t mean my life is overtaken by work, it just means that my work and team are a high priority.

My family and friends, who continue to uplift and ground me, are the ones that make work-life balance easy. They check in routinely and build me up to be my best so that I can give my best to GAIT.

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In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

In the past 12 months, we have been building up GAIT behind the scenes, so my habits and routines have changed but have also mostly stayed the same. Being the CEO, I have to hold myself accountable for my work and time, which has been the biggest change in my GAIT journey.

However, I have always had the drive to achieve beyond expectations in everything I do, it helps that I am very passionate about the work and outcomes we produce at GAIT. I travel quite frequently and work with colleagues across 5 different time zones which makes setting routes quite hard but I always try to keep up fitness regimes and regularly spend time with family and friends.

Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

My advice to others for work, life and balance is to find something you love, are good at, that benefits others and can be financially stable – reminiscent of the Japanese concept of ikigai – for me, this is GAIT.

I love our planet and my people, I’m good at technology and business, GAIT’s outcomes benefit all involved and more, and there is an appetite for our technology and services. The journey I’m on is a product of the privileges and struggles I have had and seen in my life, and I am grateful for it.

However, I encourage everyone to contribute to the ongoing fight against climate change. It all counts no matter how small you think your action, words or change is. We cannot achieve what our planet and people deserve unless we all do our part.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.