TAKING THE FIRST STEP HELPED THIVIYAA SEHASOTHY TURN A PASSION INTO A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS

Thiviyaa is a Toronto-based artist and painter with a passion for evoking emotion through her artwork. She works with private and corporate clients to create custom paintings that reflect their unique story and aesthetics.

What made you start Art By Thiviyaa?

If you speak to many artists, we have been artists much longer than the outside world comes to learn of us. For me, my love affair with art began over 15 years ago but Art By Thiviyaa only became a reality in 2015. Five years ago, a close friend of mine pushed me to apply for a juried exhibition with my artwork in Toronto. I had only ever shared my work with my family and friends and applying to a public exhibition was nerve-wracking but it set in motion the confidence to share my art with the world.

I was accepted to the exhibition and since then, exhibited my work at 16 exhibitions including Toronto’s largest art event Nuit Blanche twice, and was published in two books. I develop custom paintings for corporate and private clients in Canada and internationally and sell my artwork on my shop online. All it took was that first step to live my dream.

I think a lot of creators have trouble monetizing their content.  I believe this is the “Golden Age of the Creator Economy” where it’s become much easier to do so (given you put in the work).  What steps did you take to monetize your creative work?

Digital marketing and e-commerce play a huge role in how I have established my brand and developed my clientele and collectors of my art. Growing my business through diverse marketing tactics and e-commerce platforms helped me reach clients globally. Brand development was integral to my growth. For me, my art is an extension of who I am, and my brand stands by that. This was integrated into my strategy across all my marketing online.

How has social media impacted your business?

Social media has had a huge role in reaching people globally and sharing not just my artwork but more about my brand and the artist behind the craft. Thanks to platforms like Instagram, people can shop my artwork, see the process, and get to me all on one platform. I have been able to expand my clientele across the world through my social media presence.

***Read the rest of interview at TamilCulture.com.***

BERNARD SINNIAH ON POST-RETIREMENT LIFE AFTER 40 YEARS AT CITI

Bernard Sinniah spent almost 40 years at Citi, starting as a FX Trader in Sri Lanka and ending his career there as Global Head (eFX Solutions) in the UK.  He also authored a book called “Jaffna Boy” back in 2015 in addition to investing in several start-up companies in Sri Lanka, including being a board member at SenzAgro. He is currently a sales trainer & keynote speaker leveraging his experience and knowledge in building teams that produced over $500 million in annual revenue.

You were at Citi for almost 40 years, which is very much unheard of today where somebody stays at a company for that long.  What made you stay? 

Citi was a great ride for me.  Along the way, I felt like my efforts and value were recognized by management there. I was also afforded the opportunity to learn new skills which then put me in a better position to secure more senior roles. I had wonderful colleagues, which made my time there quite enjoable. Finally, I felt like I was rewarded appropriately both from a financial compensation standpoint as well as with great titles (via promotions). It’s quite difficult to stay at one company for 5 years, let alone almost 40 year without being happy. I also experienced my share of disappointments, but ultimately it was the people that made it a great place to work for me. 

Did you find it difficult to manage your life outside of work (ie. family, hobbies, etc.) while taking on high-level management roles at Citi?

Absolutely, especially with all my travelling, late dinners & events. Thankfully I had a wife who supported me through my journey.  Also, managing different aspects of your life comes down to prioritization. 

Do you feel like there needs to be more diversity in the C-suite and board level based on your own experience?

Yes, of course and we still have a long way to go. A lot of institutions have worked hard on this challenge and have been successful in bringing more diversity within their workforce. One thing I will say is that I’m not a believer in diversity just for the sake of it, including a quota system. I believe in making the work environment attractive enough to bring in the right candidates from a variety of backgrounds who can then excel there. The conditions should create a situation where anybody who comes in should feel like they have been put in a position to succeed.   

You had written a book called “Jaffna Bay” back in 2015.  What prompted you to write that book?

I wrote this book because I really enjoyed my boarding life at St. John’s College in Jaffna, arguably the best school in the world. I had an absolute blast during this time in my life. I also learned a lot in my time at the school. I wanted people who read the book to get a glimpse of what life was like at the school along with how an experience like that could drastically impact the growth trajectory of an individual, personality-wise.

***Read the rest of interview at TamilCulture.com.***