– by Gary Thandi
Gursharan (Sharon) Singh is a recent recipient of Business in Vancouver’s Forty under 40 Award, which highlights the achievements of the province’s most exceptional business people and entrepreneurs under the age of 40.
Gursharan immigrated to Vancouver as a child. She recalls that her parents always encouraged her “to be creative, independent, proactive, and always encouraging [her] to work hard, and to be a good person and a good student.” Gursharan obtained a Bachelor of Business with a specialization in International Trade and a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) from Victoria University in 2006. She later obtained a Master of Laws in 2008.
Before joining her current firm, Bennett Jones, Gursharan worked with the multinational mining company, Rio Tinto. “I have always loved to travel, try new things, and when this opportunity presented itself, I took it,” she says. Gursharan held several senior positions with the organization, specializing in commercial, legal, regulatory, government, and community relations. “I had the opportunity to work with some amazing people from diverse backgrounds. I worked with a variety of professionals including engineers, geologists, biologists, risk assessors, and accountants. I also had a great mentor, I learned so much from these individuals and also experienced firsthand what high-functioning teams could achieve,” she advises.
She brings this extensive experience to her current practice with Bennett Jones, as she works with multiple clients, at a local, regional, national and international level who may be undertaking construction and development projects. She provides strategic advice and consultation around regulatory and governance matters, environmental law and Indigenous relations. “I was lucky to find another good mentor at this firm, Radha Curpen, who is so exceptional and gracious in sharing her experiences,” she notes.
Gursharan emphasizes the value of finding a good mentor in whatever field one finds themselves in, as well as the importance of creating an energetic team environment. She notes lawyers often work alone, but that she “was able to find like-minded people together, within the profession of law, to work together as a team” in order to deliver exceptional client service. She also values the importance of finding a “happy medium,” in one’s work. “In this field, you can be stressed if you’re busy, stressed if you’re not busy. You have to find that medium, and enjoy doing what you’re doing.”
“Don’t go into a situation expecting something for yourself. My approach has always been ‘how can I help this person?’ Typically, that is my entry into any conversation. If you’re looking for how this person can help you, then it can become awkward.”
In her decade-plus practice, Gursharan notes a positive change within her industry. She welcomes increasingly diverse community members to consider a career in the legal profession. “Ten years ago, I would walk in a room and would “stick out”. Now, there is a shift in the demographic and diversity of people sitting across from me at a table.”