On Saturday, June 20th the ENW program hosted a special networking event with past and current program participants. We had the pleasure of having two special guest speakers Anna-Karina Tabuñar President/Founder & Head of Communications at Iona Street Media and Dipalli Bhatt Director of Marketing at Incognito Software Systems. Both of these women were newcomers several years ago, but have now established strong roots in the Canadian labour market. They were happy to share their experiences which shaped their careers in Canada. Alongside, recent ENW participants Jessica Souto and Monica Cruz who are now headed on the same path also had the opportunity to share their journey with the group.
Here are some insights from our speakers.
Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
Working in a new country may not be similar to what you’re used to back home, there is no guide to the Canadian experience. It’s crucial to bridge your skills with the Canadian Corporate Culture, get comfortable in this new environment and trying new things.
Dipalli shared that there will be moments you think you’ve got it all figured out; however, rejection and negative feedback are a part of growth. Be open to learning, ask questions; look for support to improve your understanding of the labour market. Turn your failures into success; mistakes will happen, but these are valuable lessons for you to excel!
Leap out of your comfort zone and learn by observation. As a woman and a newcomer, you will have to break down barriers. The workplace environment can feel unsettling. Anna Karina can relate to moments in which you feel you must prove yourself and are perceived as different. You may feel unheard but never fear speaking up. Don’t ever stop being you; use your personality skills to make personal connections to stand out in the workplace.
Your First Job Won’t be Your Only Job
As a newcomer, you should use your current skills to land your first job; this gives you a start in which you can move up the ladder. Your career path may not be certain, from a transitional job to different sectors remain optimistic until you land where you feel is best for you.
It’s okay to work a temporary job to make ends meet. It may not be easy coming from a higher position back home and being underemployed. Even with a lack of experience, acknowledge that you’re willing to learn and make the best of your current situation. Demonstrating your new expertise may lead to a promotion or benefit you in the future as you seek out tailored opportunities.
“I had to accept what I had, and I had to make it better for myself. It really inspired me to do my job well that it couldn’t be ignored, but also to communicate my achievements even if they were little.” – Dipalli. B
Map out the right steps for you to get there! Jessica Souto suggests putting pen to paper to organize your thoughts. As a newcomer getting on your feet this will help you keep track of opportunities, connections you need to follow up on, and any advice you may receive along the way. Don’t forget to expand these connections through networking. Meeting the right people at the right time may be the key to your success. “Fake it till you make it!” Networking events may seem awkward, but they are important. Go along with the conversation until it becomes natural to do so. You will then realize that these are real relatable conversations in which you can contribute to.
Along with the ups and downs of your job search, there is also a personal life that you must manage. Finding a balance between work, family, and personal matters may seem daunting. Discover that inspiration, the inner motivation that makes you push; there is no success without obstacles. There is no shame in stepping down to take care of you.
“I expected a technical perspective from this program, but I received so much more. Things I didn’t know I needed. The friendliness & warmth. The reassurance that it’s okay to be lost, it’s okay not to know what you’re doing, to feel real emotions.” – Monica. C
The journey can be very humbling. Surround yourself with love and care, with those who support you and have faith in your abilities. Don’t be afraid to reach out and speak on your failures, achievements, or concerns throughout your job search. Anna Karina advises to steal courage from somebody else who has faith in you! Share your story and reach out to other women who may be going through the same situation and create a healthy support system.