CM today starts a new series, ‘Meet Your OA’, where we get an insight into their journey into the world of Community Management, their mentors, interests and advice to young professionals wanting to follow their dreams in this industry.
Kick-starting the series is Kanagaraj Gurusamy, Director of Owners Affairs from Deyaar Owners Association Management LLC.
1. What triggered your interest in Community Management?
Community management is a profession that provides endless opportunities for growth. You always have to be at the top of your game, a leader in all aspects and with in-depth knowledge of your industry. There are continuous challenges presented by all stakeholders, which motivates me, and undoubtedly my peers, to learn all aspects of the business, from financials and service provider management, to technical, procurement, insurance, legal disputes and so on. You have to wear a lot of hats when you work in community management; you aren’t limited to any one particular role as you work to enhance the community and to help improve your colleagues’ capabilities, too. Since I focused my career 100% on community management, I’ve enjoyed every day.
2. Who was your mentor?
My first mentor was Cronje Venter, who shaped my career when I worked with him in Facilities Management. Jeevan D’Mello, the father and founder of community management in the UAE, has also had an influence on my career. At Deyaar, I am inspired by our visionary leaders – Saeed Mohamed Al Qatami, CEO of Deyaar Group of Companies, and Srinivasan Krishnaswamy, Vice President – Business Development and Strategy Planning at Deyaar Development.
3. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been many highlights so far. I started my career as an Administrator in Facilities Management, and then progressed to become Director of Owners Affairs, after holding positions as Facilities Manager and Admin Manager. Currently, I am privileged to act as an Assessor of Dubai Quality Award, as well as being a Lead Trainer for National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH). Training, Assessor, Manager, and Director… I look forward to what highlights the future will hold.
4. What has been the most challenging aspect in the Community Management industry?
When it comes to community management, there are challenges presented by all aspects of the industry, from the owners and residents who are our clients, to service providers, regulations and regulatory bodies, and so on. That is the complex nature of this business, which matches how complex communities themselves are. Governance and enforcement, changes in law and legislation, changes in the market, evolving technology and upkeep all pose challenges. Personally, I believe that if you set everything right from the start you can limit the challenges you face, such as by engaging with service partners, setting clear goals and measurement systems, managing client expectations, and solid governance strategies.
5. If you weren't working in this field where would you be?
Probably in Facilities Management, which is where my career in the UAE began. I would most probably focus on Quality, Health and Safety, which aligns with my role as a qualified Lead Trainer.
6. Your advice to young OAs’/ professionals?
Focus on community governance, inclusive community planning, and gain a thorough knowledge of Law No. 6 of 2019 and RERA directions. Most importantly, know your customers’ needs and expectations. Finally, every community management professional should have a deep understanding of their community, inclusive of all aspects. Depth of knowledge and upkeep of your skills is the only way to achieve sustainable growth.