Suresh Sriskandarajah, Lawyer, MBA Grad & Engineer, Overcomes Extreme Personal Adversity To Achieve Success

Over the course of his professional career, Suresh has held executive roles with various organizations, launched three ventures and mentored dozens of startups.Suresh Sriskandarajah is a lawyer at Suresh Law PC with a background in engineering and entrepreneurship. He completed his articles at boutique firms in the areas of corporate, technology and administrative law. Over the course of his professional career, Suresh has held executive roles with various organizations, launched three ventures and mentored dozens of startups. He has also worked for leading companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and BlackBerry. Suresh speaks English, French and Tamil.  Suresh has earned four prestigious degrees: Juris Doctor (JD) from Osgoode Hall Law School, Strategic Management (MBA) from Lazaridis School of Business & Economics, Electrical Engineering (BASc) and Liberal Studies (BA) from the University of Waterloo.

Anecdotally, I see a lot of inspirational stories like yours in the Tamil community.  Each person has been shaped uniquely based on their experiences during the civil war and being forced to immigrate to a new country.  How did this experience specifically shape you? 

Escaping the civil war in Sri Lanka and immigrating to Canada has been profound for so many Tamil Canadians. My experience of immigrating to Canada when I was 9-years-old made me not only appreciate the opportunities this wonderful country had to offer, but also the entrenched values of respect, dignity, appreciation and celebration of human life.

Your story is remarkable.  The fact that you are now a lawyer with your own law firm must have been unfathomable not too long ago.  Why made you persist for years with the Law Society of Ontario to get accepted?

My life experiences inspired me to pursue a career in law, so that many especially in the underrepresented communities have their voices heard in the halls of Justice. I set my mind to achieve this goal and worked hard, so that our lives are not whimsical but purposeful and beneficial for society. Like many great institutions in Canada, Law Society of Ontario is part of that heritage.  

Your criminal case was fairly high profile in the Tamil community (Article published by the National Post: “A man of good character: Law society answers whether a tiger can change his stripes”).  Did you feel supported by the community when you were going through this difficult time?

I am grateful for the support that I received from family, friends and the community to overcome the challenges that I faced. Many great friendships were forged during this difficult time and I appreciate the many who never wavered in their commitment to support not just me, but always willing to support many in challenging obstacles in life.

What do you think you learned the most about yourself during the experience of going to trial and the time you had to spend incarcerated?

Humans are enriched and moulded by life events. The solitary times brought in so much of ethical enrichment and strength to face challenges, which I made sure to share with those who are in similar situations with education and discipline to better their prospects in normalcy.

You are obviously a person who values education – as you have an impressive trio of degrees in engineering, law and an MBA.  Do you think these degrees will continue to hold value in the future?

Absolutely – a well-rounded education brings in a complete perspective of life and its potential. Education is never wasted but becomes a guiding light in putting together in forging a niche career with multidisciplinary expertise. Education combined with passion or interest can propel anyone’s career.

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