2019 Winners

Emerging Professional 2019

Shanojan Thiyagalingam
Born and raised in Toronto, Shanojan began his academic life in medicine at the University of Waterloo where he was involved in neural stem cell research at Toronto’s top medical research institutes. During this time, he was also involved in social justice activism for Eelam Tamils. He later pursued medical school and earned a degree in Doctor of Medicine with high honours, despite significant financial hardship.

He helped raise funds to assist Grenada’s cardiology aid society and completed internal medicine residency training in New Jersey. He was involved in medical research and presented in the U.S., Canada and Europe at the internal medicine, geriatrics and critical care societies. He is currently completing his geriatric medicine subspecialty training at the Mayo Clinic, ranked as the #1 hospital in the U.S.

Established Professional 2019

Geetha Moorthy
An accountant by training, Geetha immigrated to Canada from Sri Lanka in 1983. Like many immigrants, she struggled to settle in Canada before eventually finding her footing in business. In addition to her promising career, Geetha founded the Narthanalaya Centre for South Asian Dances in 1985. It was at Narthanalaya that Geetha came across some students who were diagnosed with autism and became aware of the impact of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the South Asian community.

In 2008, Geetha founded the SAAAC Autism Centre in direct response to the growing need for awareness and support for South Asian families impacted by ASD and related developmental disorders. The centre has since expanded its scope and services to support other newcomer communities because these families lacked access to vital ASD services and information due to language barriers, low incomes and lack of networks. SAAAC currently offers a diverse range of services that support 350 families annually.

Nomination Criteria


A professional in the early stages of their career, with exposure in their respective field, community and/or area of expertise.

  • Graduated from their undergraduate degree within 15 years and within 10 years of their graduate degree/post-graduate degree.
  • Made significant impact in their field and has supplemental materials and/or information to demonstrate and exemplify impact (media engagement, awards/recognition, research, etc).
  • Can provide two professional support letters (if requested).
  • Has outstanding voluntary footprints in their field and/or community.
  • Can provide two volunteer support letters (if requested).
  • Must provide specific description outlining experiences and other information related to the award.
  • Must provide an overview of the professional’s story (personal bio, barriers professional had to overcome, anything else we need to know about the professional).

Established Professional

A professional who is experienced, has made a strong record for career growth and has accomplished significant achievement in their field.

  • Has 7+ years of work experience.
  • Has passion, integrity, showcases exemplary role modeling and inspires others in the community.
  • Achieved distinction and recognition in their respective field/occupational portfolio.
  • Regarded as a leader and has made a significant impact in their field and community.
  • Can provide three professional supporting letters (if requested).
  • Must provide detailed description outlining experiences and other information related to the award.
  • Has outstanding voluntary footprints in their field and community.
  • Can provide two volunteer support letters (if requested).
  • Demonstrated consistent contribution towards being heard and known within their profession.
  • Must provide detailed description on how the professional impacts the future of their profession relating to Tamil professionals, and their involvement and engagement in the field.
  • Facilitated noticeable improvements and/or progressive shifts in their profession.
  • Must provide an overview of the professional’s story (personal bio, barriers professional had to overcome, anything else we need to know about the professional).

Past Recipients

Dharsha Jegatheeswaran

The inaugural recipient of CTPA’s “Emerging Professional” award 2018 is Dharsha Jegatheeswaran. From Toronto, to Jaffna, to London, Dharsha has made exceptional contributions to the Sri Lankan Tamil community by using both her legal background and her knowledge of the Sri Lankan political climate. She made a remarkable decision to move to Jaffna for two years and help co-found the non-for-profit think-tank, Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research (ACPR). The ACPR critically looks at policy issues affecting the Tamil polity in the North-East of Sri Lanka and actively includes community voices in advocacy and social justice efforts. She is currently studying at the London School of Economics doing her Masters in Law. She is focusing on learning more about public international law, as this is an area that will help her with activism.

Read her full story

Vinitha Gengatharan

The inaugural recipient of CTPA’s “Established Professional” award 2018 is Vinitha Gengatharan. From becoming the first woman of colour to be elected as the president of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus’ Students Union 20 years ago to working as the Executive Director of International Engagement at York University, she has accomplished many feats throughout her professional career.

Read her full story


  • Nominees must be a resident of Canada and of Tamil descent.
  • Nominees are eligible for re-nomination in subsequent years.
  • Nominees cannot be previous award winners of the same award category for which they had won.
  • Nominees cannot nominate themselves.
  • Winners will be required to attend the awards ceremony at the Toast to Success event held in Toronto on Friday August 9, 2019.

Members of the 2019 Board of Directors, 2019 Advisory Board members, Awards Selection Committee members, current volunteer team members of CTPA or volunteer team members of CTPA within the past two years cannot be nominated for these awards.

Why Nominate?

By nominating an individual, you are telling them and the world that they are an inspiring individual, making an impact in the lives of others. You are honoring their accomplishments, validating their hard work and dedication, elevating their personal and professional profile and giving them an opportunity to be recognized in the community and around the globe. Let’s help shine light on these individuals and inspire others to do more!

Method of Selection

An Awards Selection Committee will be appointed by CTPA’s Board of Directors. They will review the nomination packages and interview prospective winners. The committee reserves the right to move a nominee to a category more suited to their strengths and skill sets without notification. When required, additional information may be requested. The Awards Selection Committee also has the right to refrain from granting a specific award when it is not deemed meritable.

Submission Instructions

Nominations for 2020 applicants are not open at the moment. Please stay tuned for more information.

For further inquiries, contact Geerthana Jegatheeswaran, Director of Professional Development and Signature Events by email at development@tamilprofessional.ca.