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Toronto Sports Fanatic, Content Creator & Entrepreneur Supendra Chandrakumar Shares The #LoveMyCityProject Origin Story And Why He Launched Supendra Social
"The city of Toronto is my home and we always represent where we’re from, so I decided to use it as my focus. It served as a place of refuge for not only my immigrant parents, but for countless other Tamils who fled the war."
Ara Ehamparam
Co-founder & Podcast Host ("The Tamil Creator")
Canada
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I’ve been following your Instagram account for awhile - amazing to see your growth!  Why did you decide to create an account focused on promoting Toronto?

The city of Toronto is my home and we always represent where we’re from, so I decided to use it as my focus.  It served as a place of refuge for not only my immigrant parents, but for countless other Tamils who fled the war. This city was a land of new opportunities and a land of a promising new life. My parents immediately connected with the sports scene in the city, and in growing up in such an atmosphere, I became engulfed in it too. My Instagram account and hashtag, #LoveMyCityProject, aims to bring that same love I have for the city to everyone else. In understanding my privilege of living here, as opposed to a war-torn island, I knew the role Toronto plays in my life early on, and focused my creative page to highlight it. 

I remember your travel photos where you would show yourself wearing outfits (jerseys, hats, etc.) from the different Toronto sports teams.  Did that end up being your “hook” of what made your account stand out in the “noise” that is social media?

I always found sports to be a source of comradery between countries, and as someone who grew up playing the beautiful sport of soccer, I saw it firsthand. With the knowledge that sports can connect the world, I knew that I could reach an audience of greater magnitude and use that to learn about their cities and villages, as I shared about mine. Toronto’s professional sports teams have an international crowd thanks to many of the families who share their love with loved ones from other countries. I used that interest to share my love of the city by way of sports, and educate any who may not know about our city in the process. Overall, I think it’s a unique niche and it’s certainly a learning experience for everyone involved. 

What made you decide to stay the course for 9 years creating content consistently? (as the content grind is real & difficult!)

It’s the love for the city  - it’s honestly that simple. I’m truly passionate about Toronto and all that it represents on many fronts. Our culture, our parks, our restaurants and of course, our sports scene is just immaculate and honestly represents a lot of this country. When the passion is there, anything is possible and that’s what’s kept this running for almost a decade now.

You went from working for others to recently launching your own business in the last 3 years.  What prompted the switch?  Did you have any difficulty transitioning from a work perspective (self-accountability, etc.)?

I knew it was time to branch out and be held accountable for accounts on my own. I had always worked with separate accounts on a part-time basis, and slowly found myself wanting to do more for them. This prompted the switch to begin my own business and it truly was liberating. I had a lot more responsibility to take on; however, it was definitely the best thing I could have done for myself. Transitioning was easy, as the motivation was there and it was a brand that had my name; this meant that it was a reflection of me and I had to uphold that always. This business has also allowed me to explore more creatively, learn new skills, and learn to love the craft of marketing in new ways.

How did you think your childhood or your formative teenage years play a part in you developing a passion for sports and also for marketing?

My parents made Toronto home, and right from the start, they immersed themselves in its culture. They both connected with the teams and the hype surrounding them in the city. Growing up in a sports household, that was what we watched on TV. Whether it was Vince Carter with the Raptors, Mats Sundin with the Leafs or Carlos Delgado with the Jays, my parents made sure we were cheering. The love for sports started early on and has continued through the years! 

With regards to influences in my marketing career, I’d have to thank my father for starting it off. He was an accountant back home, and naturally, I veered towards the same field of numbers and business. It wasn’t until after university that I started to tap into the creative side of marketing where the mundane no longer existed. The challenges were inspiring and with digital marketing being a relatively new field for Tamils, I was interested in learning and doing more. My parents were supportive and intrigued from the beginning, which made the career choice an easy transition. 

Tell us about 1 or 2 cool opportunities you’ve been able to participate in as a result of your social media work.

I think my Rogers and Pearson International Airport partnerships were some of the coolest opportunities I’ve been lucky to experience. They were both amazing in their own ways and in fact, the Pearson partnership was the reason I got to experience the 2020 NYC Ball Drop in Times Square. I’m very thankful for these moments and the partnerships I get to be a part of through my social media work.

How do you go about getting new clients?

Getting new clients has always been about referrals, word of mouth and of course, social media itself. I’ve networked with many organizations growing up and still hold onto those connections. Some of these individuals have reached out or have sent referrals my way. It’s always a humbling experience. 

What is a misconception about social media influencers that you commonly hear?  

The fact that we are called  ‘influencers’. I actually much rather prefer the term creator, as we are simply showcasing a part of our life that we’re passionate about and using social media as the manner in which to share it. I never liked the term influencer as I want people to go on their own path and find their own calling, not necessarily be influenced by me or what I do. Being labelled as a creator, it opens doors to many paths and leaves it free to explore for themselves. 

What’s been a failure (or “learning lesson”) you’ve experienced in the last 3-5 years and what did you learn from it?

My biggest learning lesson came right before I started Supendra Social, my own marketing agency. Before this, I was working for a brand with several high profile accounts thinking it might be gratifying, but soon realized I was feeling much more freedom and accomplished within the accounts I had acquired. This pushed me to know my worth and to make the move in starting my own agency, where I take on projects and accounts to help to build their brand and following. 

Where do you see yourself in the next 3 years?

In the next three years, I hope to launch a casual clothing line that looks to promote our city - where I take on the literal sense of wearing the city on your back. I’m looking forward to building a stronger brand out of Supendra Social and pushing its boundaries to see where it can go. As well, I’m hoping to travel a lot more and get back to the root of the #LoveMyCityProject - bringing Toronto to the world. 

What role has your family & friends played in the choices that you’ve made in your life so far?

My parents, siblings and wife have always supported my goals and ambitions. They’ve been there every step of the way and have made sure that my dreams are achieved. My friends have always been a huge part of my support system and they continue to do so, in all aspects of my life, including my career choices. 

What do you do outside of work for fun?

A lot of my downtime is with family and friends. In hanging out with my friends or spending time with the family, I feel recharged and more inspired. Of course, throughout the week I go on walks with my wife and puppy. We also spend time together at parks just playing fetch. 

What is an insecurity you have?

I’d have to say that an insecurity I have is the constant need to question if I’m doing enough or pushing myself to the best of my abilities. As a creator, you’re consistently looking to improve on content and deliver material that’s invigorating and fresh. Naturally, I’m always questioning if I’m doing enough, and over time I’m slowly understanding that it is enough and to not overthink myself too much. 

In terms of your personal legacy, in a few sentences, describe how you want to be remembered by your family and friends?

I’d like to be remembered as a man of creativity who put family and friends above all. In a time of social media, where it is my bread and butter, I want those personal connections to remain strong. 

What do you think you would tell 16-year Supendra looking back?

I’d definitely tell him to live in the moment and how time is the most valuable thing we have. There’s so much that we look forward to and aim for, that so often, we forget all that’s actually around us. I’d tell the 16 year old version of myself to savour those slow days in the classrooms, the hangout sessions with friends after school, and the moments of family time on a quiet Saturday evening. 

What is your favourite book(s) you’ve read recently and why?

I haven’t really run into anything that’s captured me enough recently to call it a favourite, but a current read that made me think was Brianna Wiest’s 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think. As we learn to prioritize the state of our mental health, this book offered a lot with its essays of do's and don't's for your emotional and mental well-being.

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What is a new belief, behaviour or habit that has most improved your life?

Ever since moving in with my wife, I’ve found that sharing my agenda with her makes life much more organized and smoother. Although we’re both incredibly organized people individually, I’ve learned that in tackling things together we’re able to get much more done which makes it more enjoyable as it’s quality time spent together. 

What is something that you've splurged on recently in the last year that you have zero regret about?

I would definitely have to say that becoming a homeowner and having my own place was the biggest splurge of last year. I’ve always wanted a space of my own to capture my content and this home is a start of a new journey for my wife and I, as well. 

How has the Toronto Tamil community impacted you both personally and professionally? 

The Toronto Tamil community impacted me on a personal level as it was highly motivating and inspiring. In seeing what others could achieve from a young age, I knew that I could do the same and it helped to propel me. On a professional level, the Toronto Tamil community was a great place to network to see how much we’ve grown from decade to decade. It has also served to make great friends and connections that I carry to my profession. 

What is your favourite Tamil food (meal or dessert)?

My favourite Tamil food has to be anything homemade by my Amma. It’s just something so unique and heartwarming about those homecooked meals that words can’t describe. 

What is your favourite Tamil movie?

In recent times, I’d have to say that Asuran is one of my favourite Tamil movies. The plot, the manner in which the characters acted and the whole storyline was just immaculate. 

What does Tamil culture mean to you?

Tamil culture is my identity, my ancestry and of course, my legacy. It’s what holds the fabric of my family and will continue to serve as a pillar to my lineage for the generations to come.

*You can visit his Instagram page here - https://www.instagram.com/supendra/

 

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Ara Ehamparam
Co-founder & Podcast Host ("The Tamil Creator") | TamilCulture.com
Canada
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