We interviewed Sindhu Suppiah, a Senior Engagement Manager in the Project & Interim during Asian Heritage Month about her new role at Clarity Recruitment
Tell us about your first 100 days at Clarity Recruitment as a Senior Engagement Manager in the Project & Interim team.
The first three months were about getting up and running, and getting acquainted with the team and processes. I spent the time getting accustomed to the goals of the team and understanding the dynamics of the organization. During my first week I closed a cross-sell deal from the permanent team. After this win, I focused on building my sales pipeline and business development activities. Deliverables are high in a sales position, and you want to start building relationships right away.
I’ve worked at Clarity in the past, and the structured sales team and strategy was a primary motivator in bringing me back. In previous environments, I was being thrown into the deep end, and was expected to figure it out by myself. Having people to learn from and to lean on has helped me be successful in these first 100 days. The compensation model at Clarity actually encourages cross-functional teamwork between the different sales teams which drives success. This is a different approach when comparing the structures at other recruitment firms.
What are some of your goals that you have in mind over the next year or so?
My goal this year is to become a stronger salesperson, and to bolster the project and interim sales and market presence. This year, I want to focus on building my sales competencies; like building my pipeline, book of business and closing deals.
I also want to continue the aggressive growth of our Project & Interim business in response to the current state of the market. Since COVID-19 started, the tech sector in Canada, particularly green technology companies, are looking to onboard new senior finance talent (both project and permanent) to keep up with their growth targets. Many companies are going public which results in more stringent reporting requirements, and the need for the right finance talent to help them scale and achieve their growth targets. The compensation model at Clarity actually encourages cross-functional teamwork between the different sales teams which drives success. This is a different approach when comparing the structures at other recruitment firms.
What was your experience like coming back to Clarity right after maternity leave?
There are two things that maternity leave made me recognize: one is that I want to work for a company that values both the work that I do, as well as my life outside of work. I want to be a part of an environment that brings meaning and value to my career and myself.
Second, I want to work in an environment that values my family and my life outside of it. Work-life balance is very important to me, so being at a company that understands and can relate to my other priorities is attractive and assuring. We are people outside of this job, and having flexibility has allowed me to thrive on both sides of the fence.
The month of May is Asian Heritage Month. Can you tell us about your upbringing and the experiences that have helped shape you into the successful professional you are today?
I was born in Singapore, my ethnicity is Indian and my nationality is Canadian. I believe a lot of first generation Canadians can resonate with growing up in a cultural dichotomy: your parents are trying to hold onto their traditional cultural values and then you’re in an environment with a different set of values.
Growing up I didn’t experience any sort of racism or separatism: I didn’t recognize that I had brown skin or that I came from a different country until much later on in my life. When I was in high school, I began to understand that my background made me different. I’m very much connected to my Indian roots and grew up quite religious and traditional. My parents are traditional, and wanted me to choose a career path that involved becoming a doctor, engineer, accountant etc. That path never resonated with me because I was aware of the many opportunities out there, and I initially followed the path they wanted for me.
I started off in business and I ended up in finance. I wanted to pursue an accounting designation but I realized that looking at spreadsheets and numbers wasn’t for me. I ended up coming to Clarity looking for a finance job and they asked me if I ever considered recruitment. I was at a point where I could take a bit of risk, so I decided to try it and see what would happen, and I haven’t looked back since.
Coming from a diverse background has taught me to be flexible: when you arrive in a new environment you have to accept that you’re not the majority. This allows you to step back and assess the room and how you can approach things while being relatable to people. I think being relatable is something a lot of people of color have to deal with in general.
Having strong communication skills has always been about not being culturally typecast. I wanted to walk into a room, look the part and have the confidence to thrive. I knew it was a form of imposter syndrome and faking it until I made it, but now I’ve gained the confidence to be the unique professional I want to be.
In this business, we meet many foreignly-trained and designated individuals, and as a person of color, you have empathy towards what they’re experiencing. Your parents, family and friends probably went through the same experiences. That’s why I work with our recruiters to ensure diverse candidates are presented to our clients. Representation is very important to me.Work-life balance is very important to me, so being at a company that understands and can relate to my other priorities is attractive and assuring. We are people outside of this job, and having flexibility has allowed me to thrive on both sides of the fence.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that’s not on your resume?
I’m a big sports fan and I grew up figure skating competitively. My dream job is to be a sports announcer! I love keeping up with stats, specifically basketball which is my favourite sport.
During the Raptors celebration I was five months pregnant, and I stood outside from 9am in the morning until 2pm to watch the parade go by: there was no way I was going to miss seeing the championship team!
What’s the first thing you’re going to do when the COVID-19 pandemic is over?
First of all, I really want to get on a plane and go somewhere tropical. I had to cancel four trips over the past year alone! The second thing would be to have my daughter play with friends in person and have more interactions with people. She’s very social and because of the pandemic, she hasn’t had moments to connect with people, or even hug anyone else.
What would be a piece of advice you would give to your daughter for the future?
When I was growing up, I felt certain pressures around my career and life choices that I don’t want my daughter to feel. I want to be open minded in terms of how she sees herself versus giving her a structured path. I want to give her freedom about what success should look like. She’s bi-racial, half Jamaican and half Indian, and I want her to be comfortable in her own skin and not worry about what others think she should look or be like.
I also want to ensure she has the right role models: I want her to draw inspiration from people who look like her and that she can relate to. I want her to be exposed to a diverse world and for her to know that she is nothing less than or greater than anyone else. I want her to know that she is equal. About the AuthorCheck out more of our popular articles on Career AdvicePopular Articles