SUSHEE PERUMAL, B.ENG, MBA
It is a rags to riches story (not a millionaire kind of riches, but enough to immigrate overseas to pursue the "American Dream" kind of riches).
I was born into a family with no wealth. My mom's side went from owning movie theaters and lots of land to nothing after the passing of my grandfather and my grandma raising ten kids by herself (yes you heard that right, ten kids!).
Starting at the bottom, I witnessed through my childhood eyes what vision, sacrifice and hard work with persistence does in rebuilding wealth from nothing.
Instead of "Mary had a Little Lamb," I had "Think Big" and work ethic drilled into me.
The vision and persistence to succeed gave my family enough to immigrate overseas ending up in Scarborough, Ontario. Canada was a great launching point for the "American Dream" where I became an entrepreneur in my early teens.
I saw this play out with the rest of my extended family. My aunts, uncles and cousins - all starting out at the bottom - were achieving success. My cousins become doctors, engineers and successful business people. One cousin even became an ambassador. No peer pressure, right? (Especially from Indian families.) I had no brothers or sisters I could deflect my moral responsibility to become a success.
Luckily, my upbringing raised me to have the confidence that anything I set my mind to is possible. My aptitude for learning and applying knowledge made me an entrepreneur in my early teens. I was assembling computers, fixing networks and servers at school and even teachers were dropping their computers off at my home to get them fixed (they got in trouble with the principal for coming to my home). I ran a business as a 'fixer' of any hardware or software problem - nothing was impossible to fix. By the time I graduated from high school I saved up enough to go to university for Engineering.
I worked part-time and summer jobs to pay through university - I was a webmaster, residence don and a tech support rep at Epson. During my last summer at university, I caught a big break - I landed a job at Bell Systems and Technologies - the division that's responsible for innovation across all of Bell Canada divisions: mobile, TV, internet and telecom.
This led to a full-time job after graduation to advance the projects I had initiated the prior summer. With continued aptitude for learning, vision and hard work,I accelerated my way to Associate Director. During my time at Bell, I decided to get a Commercial pilot's licence - because, why not!?
Even with quick advancements in my career at Bell, it wasn't fast enough to my liking, so I took a career break to do an MBA at Queen's University (Smith School of Business).
While in the program, I needed to apply my learning to something, so I figured I scratch my itch and get back into entrepreneurship, and what industry do I pick? Wait for it... the airline industry. (read more)