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Dhamay Kanthan is the Director of Product Management for Joint Design Manufacturing (JDM) at Celestica. An active member of the community, Dhamay is also the President of the Scarborough Twilight Rotary Club, an organization of established professionals and leaders committed to serving the community with a motto of “service above self”.
A bit about Dhamay
Growing up in so many countries, Dhamay’s family has embraced the flavors in fusion cuisines. When she’s not busy working, parenting her three children or giving back to the community, you may find Dhamay whipping up her father’s recipe – Coconut Milk French Toast!
She comes from a line of teachers as her father and mother were English and Math/Physics teachers respectively. It should be no surprise that problem solving and the ability to teach others, both vital skills to her current position, came naturally to Dhamay – it ran in her blood.
A woman’s path in Engineering
Although she is now an established Engineer, as a child, Dhamay dreamed of becoming a pilot, an air hostess or even a waitress. However, it was after some eye opening discussions with a family friend that she discovered the fascinating world of Engineering and found a career where she could continue to pursue her passion for problem solving.
After finishing her Engineering degree at the University of Toronto, Dhamay held a variety of roles at different firms. In 1999, she launched her career at Celestica as a Product Data Management Advisor. Since then, she has held multiple roles including Project Manager and Learning & Development Consultant. Here she learned both technical skills such as translating customers’ designs to meet manufacturing requirements, and soft skills from managing and teaching global teams on Celestica’s best practices.
In her current role, Dhamay is responsible for a team that manages both external and internal relationships. Externally, she manages customer expectations during the joint design development cycle. Internally, she is responsible for orchestrating the various activities associated with planning, designing, launching and sustaining Celestica’s JDM products from concept to end of life. As a result of her broad experience and her ability to manage a variety of stakeholders, Dhamay was soon promoted to the Director role at Celestica’s new Joint Design Manufacturing group.
Dhamay’s take on life after working hours
Despite Dhamay’s professional success, she believes her biggest contributions come from her role as a wife and mother. She takes pride in still being in love with her husband after 21 years of marriage, and in having the privilege of bringing three beautiful, bright and caring human beings into the world.
If you think this mum of three has a full plate between family time and a demanding career, well think again – Dhamay also enjoys giving back to the community. Growing up in Sri Lanka and seeing the political turmoil, she has always been curious about what brings individuals to peace and why some people that seem so different can stick together while others with similarities butt heads. She noticed that this theme of differences existed in the community, in the workplace and at home. At work Dhamay was getting jaded and was unable to find a cohesive approach that would work for all her team members. Through coaching discussions with her manager she discovered the Team Management and Leadership program offered by Landmark Worldwide. Through this course she embarked on a self-realization journey which helped her play a pivotal role in helping her team work together- her new approach enabled her to capitalize on opportunities at work. Dhamay was selected to lead a team to develop a product lifecycle management framework for the new JDM business at Celestica.
Her astounding community efforts include founding “Feel the Connection”, a voluntary organization that organizes live events featuring dance, music and poetry from around the world with the sole objective of inspiring audiences to feel the connection with one another. She was inspired to create the organization by Prem Rawat’s message of peace: peace is possible now and it begins with each one of us. The first show was such a hit that she formed a partnership with community organizations such as Rotary’s Canada Day Rib Fest, where the show was featured for 5 years.
What’s your advice for aspiring Engineers and all young professionals?
Dhamay’s advice for aspiring engineers and all young professionals is to find your voice and your passion. “Make time to find your voice rather than listen to what’s being told to you. Slow down, shush and tune inside to figure out your unique voice. Don’t get distracted and be busy with following someone else’s dreams. Save your days: listen and give your voice to the unsaid”.
Dhamay’s final wise words
When asked about Success, Dhamay’s perspective is: “Figure out what success means to you and then go for it; live deep and suck out all the marrow of life’’. She defines this as the “Lean way of life” where you cut out the waste and get to the good stuff – just “enjoy, enjoy, enjoy”!