Interview with Gautam Nath
“It gives me personal satisfaction to be able to steer the path for organizations in growing their presence and value to the community. It allows me to maintain a professional calibre and hone my visionary skills in the Canadian ethos.”
Chair, MCIS Language Solutions
Congratulations to Gautam Nath, a long-serving, active, and in-demand DiverseCity onBoard member whose board journey with DiverseCity onBoard spanned from Committee Member to Board Director on several boards to Board Chair, and most recently to the Canadian Board Diversity Council’s Diversity 50 list!
In his ‘day job’ Gautam is a senior consumer products marketing professional with over two decades of corporate experience. He was, until recently, Vice President of Balmoral Multicultural Marketing, Canada’s pioneer communications agency targeting ethnic audiences. Gautam is also the founder of the Multicultural Marketing Society of Canada and Chair of the Multicultural Marketing Interest Group at the AMA (American Marketing Association) Toronto chapter. Gautam also contributes papers and articles to the media, and is also a prominent speaker at various universities and settlement agencies. He was awarded the top 25 Canadian Immigrants Award in 2011, the June Call wood outstanding achievement award for voluntarism in 2017 and has been recognized at Canada’s Top 50 Board Diversity Professionals 2017.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
You were recently appointed to the board of New Canadian Media. What is your interest in this organization and what do you bring to the board table?
The founder, George Abraham, of New Canadian Media (NCM) was in contact with me about 5 years ago when the portal was being set up and prior to it becoming a not-for-profit organization. We talked broadly about the marketing framework for the entity. Over the years, I have stayed in touch with him and also contributed articles. Since then, NCM has converted into a not-for-profit and when a new Board of Directors was being formed in 2017, George reached out and offered me the role. New Canadian Media is perhaps the only online platform in Canada that showcases articles and opinions about Canadian topics written by journalists who come from outside the country. This allows for a varied and relevant perspective on Canadian subjects that would otherwise not be documented. It supports Canada’s diversity and strengthens our bond with our new home. That is what motivates me to bring NCM to the forefront and to increase our membership and readership manifold.
“I was on a corporate board before landing in Canada and felt a vacuum after I arrived. These opportunities allowed me to retain that perspective and contribute my skill sets acquired over decades of professional work-life.“
You are now chair of the MCIS Language Solutions board but began there as a director. What have you learned from this transition into a leadership position on the board?
This is indeed a very proud moment for me being at the helm of Canada’s largest not-for-profit Language Solutions organization. We have many people from diverse backgrounds serving on boards in Toronto but I would venture to say, but a handful reach the position of Board Chair within the first 10 years in the country. It proves to all that it can be done and it shows to all that boards in Canada are evolving to be inclusive. I have also learned that Board Chairs have a lofty task at hand. They are tasked with ensuring a well-run board which oversees the smooth operations of a not-for-profit organization and ensuring adherence to strict governance principles. MCIS is also a social enterprise and therefore the Chair also plays a leadership role in ensuring that the organization gives back to the community.
What are some of the personal and professional benefits of serving on boards that you have experienced?
I was on a corporate board before landing in Canada and felt a vacuum after I arrived. These opportunities allowed me to retain that perspective and contribute my skill sets acquired over decades of professional work-life. It gives me personal satisfaction to be able to steer the path for organizations in growing their presence and value to the community. It allows me to maintain a professional calibre and hone my visionary skills in the Canadian ethos. And finally receiving the Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award in 2011 and the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism, 2017 are Canada’s ways of recognizing each individual’s invaluable contribution.
Thinking back to the beginning of your board governance journey, if you could give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Use the 2 P principles – Passion & Proximity.
Let me explain; Passion – Pick a Board or committee of an organization that deals with something you are passionate about – That will keep you interested, excited, always learning and hone your skill set. It could be a professional or a personal passion. Proximity – Whether you drive or take public transit, pick an organization that does not pose a challenge to reach. If reaching the venue is difficult, soon you will be making excuses not to go and fall behind on your contribution and involvement.