Daran Somas: Interview with the Director of Partnership

CTPA Board Experience Inspired His Leadership Style: How Passion Fuels Determination and Amplified Daran’s Career Growth

Daran Somasundaram is currently serving his last year as a member of the Board for the Canadian Tamil Professionals Association as the Director of Partnerships and previously the Director of Internal Relations. He has been a core member of CTPA’s growth initiatives over the years, and his passion for this organization and professional development was truly remarkable.

But before that, let’s get to know a little bit about him.

Daran Somas is currently a Manager within the City of Toronto Real Estate Services. Having graduated from York University’s Schulich School of Business with his BBA, he began his career immediately in public service and fueled his aspiration to be a small part in leading the city’s future. His primary responsibilities are leading a brilliant team of commercial real estate professionals who are transforming the City divisions with their real estate needs and managing the City’s real estate assets. He counts himself fortunate to be able to contribute and be part of an organization that provides such a wide array of programs and services to the public.

In his spare time, he is a facilitator with the Youth Leadership Program, where he supports youth in developing their public speaking skills. He believes communication is core to our existence, both professionally and personally and thus plays his role in grooming the future of our generations. He is also an avid reader and podcast-listener, and not to mention the first to watch any episode of Game of Thrones.

What was his relationship with CTPA?

Daran joined CTPA as a volunteer in 2015 and has been a Director since February 2016 working on various portfolios such events, mentorship and external relations.

A Quick Q & A with Daran on his experience:

Tell me 3 things you gained from being a BOD for 2 years.

1) I learned more about my management style. It was over the course of my volunteer and board experience with CTPA that I saw growth in my career. While I was shifting between different types of management roles in my professional life, the lessons I learned during my CTPA tenure really translated over. Working with talented, passionate people made me a stronger manager. I learned also how to be more resourceful and how to leverage limited resources to move projects and files forward.

2) I grew a stronger understanding of my greater community –both its strengths and challenges.

3) I also found what I am truly passionate about. I was fortunate enough to embark on both a professional and personal journey during my tenure and channelling that energy into all aspects of life.

Did you see growth in your career during your two terms? If so, how do you think CTPA contributed to this?

Definitely. Growth by exposing me to leadership positions, remarkable leaders, strategic thinking, and developing my networking skills. My career grew at a rate faster than I anticipated, and whether I can attribute CTPA to the direct success or not, I definitely take with me management skills that I did not have before.

How would you describe the Directors on the Board you have worked with?

They are passionate individuals, selfless, who are open minded, looking to learn and ultimately give back to and grow the community that raised them. There might be disagreements, but there is never a doubt that each of our motivations and the decisions we make is for the greater good of not only CTPA but our community.

People must have asked you why you’re doing this (and for free). What was your motivation?

Because our community is worth spending that time. Our community is built on the foundations of sacrifice and to prioritize taking care of our young and future generations. Our parents left their homes and moved their families not for their own enjoyment, but to provide their children with opportunities, education and a lifetime of security and happiness. Me doing this for free is not equivalent, but the least I can do to make sure that the next generation has it easier than we did. Also this organization is one of the most easiest way to meet new people and be amazed by how many trailblazers we have within our community.

If you could do your 2 years again, what would you change?

I wish I started my CTPA journey now instead of 2 years ago. And this is not to take away from my previous years, as I am thankful to have been part of the teams that were crucial to creating the foundation for the future. The work that was done in the past 2 years to get us to this point, and the action items that needs to be done now, makes we wish that I became a Director now. The upcoming team is lucky to be taking one of the many strategic steps to grow CTPA to new heights.

What do you think is the most exciting thing CTPA has in store for the future?

There is a plan, there are clear goals and long-term thinking to dictate actions. It starts with the calibre of talent that CTPA is recruiting, the reputation of the brand and how it’s growing. There is so much to look forward to.

What makes CTPA different from just any community or professional organization?

Quality and quantity of programs and services. Our organization is extremely dedicated to providing great content to our members throughout the year and we work tirelessly to bring this to market.

And finally, what do you have to say to your successor?

You are very lucky to have the clarity and support that comes with a multi-year plan and with a Chair who is dedicated as anyone that I know. Your role might be challenging at times and the fruits of your labor will not be seen until 5 years from now but the people, the vision and all the support you will receive, make it entirely worthwhile.

You too can make a difference – join the leadership team!

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