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Employee Spotlight: Meet Karu and Mahe from PQA Sault Ste. Marie

At PQA, we know that our company’s success is a reflection of our talented employees. The last year has been unfamiliar for many, as we’ve moved to a fully remote team. Today, we wanted to shine the spotlight on some of our talented teammates who’ve done an awesome job navigating this unusual time.

Each month, we’ll be featuring interviews here on the blog. For June, we’re excited to feature Karuvarasan (Karu) Sundaravelu and Mahe Venkatesan who joined our PQA Sault Ste. Marie team in March 2020. We talked about their path to PQA, what they think about Sault Ste. Marie, and their advice to potential candidates.

1. Tell me a little bit of your background and what you do for PQA/clients?

Karu: Hi my name is Karuvarasan Sundaravelu, my friends call me as Karu. I have 10+ years of experience in the banking software testing industry. I moved from India to Canada in July 2017 with my family. I joined PQA Fredericton in March 2019. Currently, I am working and supporting the QA activities of 5 projects for one of our technology clients.

Mahe: My name is Maheswari Venkatesan my friends call me Mahe, we landed in Canada with our kids in 2017. I have 4+ years of experience as a senior quality analyst back in India. I joined PQA in August 2020 and have been working with one of our eLearning clients.

2. How did you learn about PQA SSM and what drew you to it originally?

Karu: When it came to knowing about Sault Ste. Marie, it was through Keith, our CEO. When this PQA SSM branch was established, Keith traveled to Sault Ste. Marie to open the office and that was the first time I did some research about Sault Ste. Marie. I also noticed the job opportunity available in SSM in our weekly newsletter. Sault Ste Marie is similar to Fredericton – the commuting distance to the office is shorter and it has lots of walking trails and parks. I let Brian (VP, Service Delivery, East) know about my decision to move to SSM, and then we had a talk with Jennifer (PQA VP, Lottery and Gaming) as well.

Mahe: I came to know about the opening in SSM through Karu. I had an interview with Brian and Jennifer as I had previous experience working in the software industry and it helped me get a job offer here. Hence as a family, we decided to move from Fredericton to SSM.

3. What is something unexpected that you experienced or learned in SSM?

Karu: When we landed in Sault Ste Marie in March 2020, it was peak COVID time, and the SSM team was very welcoming and supportive. On a weekly basis, we have virtual team meetings where we play ice-breaking games, which have helped me learn about the team members individually.

Mahe: During the pandemic, we have been working from home and didn’t get the opportunity to meet with team members in person, but the weekly virtual game that Jennifer organized has really helped us learn about our new coworkers.

4. What advice do you have for prospective PQA candidates?

Karu: SSM team members are really welcoming and take initiative in sharing their learnings. The first batch of PLATO SSM (our sister company) team now has 2+ years of experience. They have learned a lot and are ready to share their experience with others. On a daily basis, the team members interact with each other, the communication between the team members is strong, and everyone knows who they can rely on for help and clarification. I strongly recommend the PQA Sault Ste. Marie office for any prospective candidates. Also, in my previous organization where I worked, most of my IT certifications required that I pay from my pocket and the approval process from the department is tedious and time-consuming, but PQA invests in employees and students of PLATO so they can learn and improve their skills.

Mahe: To me, PQA SSM provides a lot of growth opportunities to learn and to develop our professional skills. PQA is a good place to start a career in the IT industry, because of the experienced software testers to learn from and opportunities to improve your skills.

“PQA SSM provides a lot of growth opportunities to learn and to develop our professional skills. PQA is a good place to start a career in the IT industry, because of the experienced software testers to learn from and opportunities to improve your skills.” – Maheswari Venkatesan

5. What is the best career lesson you have learned so far?

Karu: Work closely with your managers, let them know where you want to see yourself in the next 3-5 years, and what skills you need to improve. Start investing in yourself, break your goals into pieces, and learn how you can achieve them. Start working towards where you want to see yourself in the next five or six years, so that you have a strong foundation and when the opportunity comes to you, it will be easy for you to grab it.

Mahe: The same thing, as Karu said, never stop learning. Learn as much as you can to develop yourself because learning is the only step to move to the next level. When I let Jennifer know about my interest in automation, she was able to provide a connection to other PQA employees who are working in automation. I’m also planning to get in touch with Emily, our Director of Automation to know more about it and to improve my skills.

Want to join Mahe and Karu at PQA Sault Ste Marie? Reach out to our recruitment team at recruitment@pqa.ca!