Creative of the Month May 2013
Engineer, Civic Leader, Diplomat, Creative Artist, Guru
Aside from obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, Ms. Subramaniam is the VP of Marketing at InTEC of San Antonio, teaches Indian Classical Dance at her studio, Kalalaya Indian Performing Arts, serves as the President of Anuja SA--the organization that oversees the Sister City relations between San Antonio and Chennai, India--she is also a graduate of Leadership San Antonio, was recognized as one of the San Antonio Business Journal’s 40 Rising Stars Under 40, and an inductee of the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame. Kausi has been involved in San Antonio’s Arts Community for more than two decades and has served on various boards and committees including, but not limited to, The San Antonio Dance Umbrella, The Cultural Collaborative, The Carver Development Board, the Luminaria Steering Committee, the City of San Antonio’s Public Art Board and the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Commission.
The Drive of a World Leader: An Interview
What is your inspiration or drive that keeps you highly involved in so many organizations--including your career, diplomacy, arts, and culture to name just a few?
I enjoy being involved in things that I’m passionate about. Although my degree is in Mechanical Engineering, I have been actively involved in things that are generally considered far removed from the engineering field. An engineering background has provided me with a unique perspective and the skills needed to start a project in any field or area of interest and see it to a successful completion. If I have to answer this question in one word, it would be passion- it’s what drives me.
Tell us a little about your youth and upbringing as a second-generation Indian American. Has that experience contributed to the Civic Leader/Cultural Ambassador that you have become in your adult life?
I grew up in San Antonio in the 70’s and 80’s. There were very few Indian Americans in town at the time. It was a time when people were not as aware of cultures different from their own. It was very common to be asked “Where did you come from? Do you speak English? Which tribe do you belong to?” Although it was difficult to hear such questions as a child, I now feel that it builds character and strength. I was also brought up to believe that nothing is impossible and that attitude is the determining factor in whether one is successful or not. I still believe this.
You have been dancing for over 30 years and have recently established Kalalaya Indian Performing Arts. How has dance impacted your life?
Ramya Karthic and I established Kalalaya Indian Performing Arts in 2010. It is a school that teaches both Bharatanatyam (Indian Classical Dance) and Carnatic Music (Indian Classical Music). It is a school that is unique since it provides an opportunity to learn both art forms that really go hand in hand. Dance has been a very important part of my life and has played an important role throughout the years. First as a student, then a performer, and now a teacher and choreographer, it has provided me the creative outlet that I feel is necessary in everyone’s life.
You have been involved with several benchmark city initiates. How do you hope that the SA2020 Initiative will improve the San Antonio dance community?
Arts and culture is one of the eleven key Causes identified as fundamental by SA2020 and the community. San Antonio has become more diverse and culturally rich since the 70’s and 80’s. I hope that SA2020 will help continue that trend and promote art forms from across the globe. AnujaSA--the organization that manages all Sister City activities between San Antonio and Chennai, India--wishes to work with SA2020 to help promote Indian art and culture to the citizens of San Antonio.
And finally, you have no doubt already achieved a considerable amount of success at this point in your life. What's next for Kausi Subramaniam? Perhaps you can express your ultimate aspiration (whether this is attainable in our lifetime or not).
I will continue to do what I can to help make San Antonio a wonderful place to live and raise a family. I hope to continue to promote multi-culturalism and diversity in San Antonio, where everyone can be proud to display their heritage and cultural differences without feeling out of place or different. I hope to have a lasting impact on my dance students’ lives. They are not just my students but become a part of my family after the many years I spend with them. Most of all, I will truly feel that I have succeeded when I see my two children grown up, happy, healthy, and successful in their lives while they serve their communities as I have tried to do so.
Civic Leadership At A Glance
Mayor Hardberger and Mayor Subramanian of Chennai signing the Sister City Agreement in Chennai- Feb. 2008
Delegation to India with Mayor Castro- January 2013
DiwaliSA Chennai, India Sister City Annual Festival
Students of Kalalaya Indian Performing Arts performing to raise funds for the Japanese Tsunami Victims
Senior Students at Kalalaya Indian Performing Arts