I had never heard of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council when I was contacted by them last July. Supported by all three levels of government, the corporate sector and educational institutions, TRIEC’s mission is to match skilled immigrants with established professionals who share the same occupation. I was introduced to the program by Janet Gaffney from Sheridan College – who explained that, as a communications and content marketing professional, my experience and network would be of tremendous value to one of the recent immigrants she was helping.
After agreeing to enter the program, I completed a brief on-boarding and was then introduced to my mentee. The commitment, though flexible, was to a three-month period of essentially meeting for an hour or two a week.
Puneet Parasher arrived in Canada in April of 2018. Back in India he used his MBA and passion for content to help companies connect with potential customers and create demand. While his career was building momentum he told me he made the move to Canada in search of a different quality of life and experience.
Puneet applied for dozens of jobs since his arrival. And after an initial visit, his wife and young daughter returned home while he continued his search. Puneet and I met weekly at a coffee shop in Port Credit, where we did everything from review his resume to talk about the state of content marketing. But the main value I brought was my network – a career and lifetime of personal and professional connections, current and former colleagues, friends and just plain smart folks I know.
Everyone I asked to meet with Puneet found the time to either chat with him face-to-face or speak over the phone. And no one – not myself or any of the people I connected him to – were under pressure to find him a job. That was on Puneet. Our job was to create connections for him, give him the context of the professional environment he was looking to join, and yes, encourage and support him in his efforts.
The three-month commitment came and passed and while applying for more than 100 jobs, Puneet did not land a role. We stayed in touch and then in early December he called to ask if I’d be a reference for him for a job – a content marketing job. Of course I said yes – and hey, he got the job! I’m not sure who was more excited – him or me.
Mentoring and supporting Puneet was by no means a one-way experience. I found myself reflecting on the value of my network – and how so many great people have supported me during the inevitable ups and downs of my career ark. I have always had time for anyone that has asked for my help, advice or connections when they found themselves looking for work. Many of us do. And I unreservedly recommend to anyone reading this to consider going a step further by volunteering your time – and network – to help a newcomer land on their feet here.
You can learn more about the TRIEC mentoring program here: http://www.mentoringpartnership.ca/join-us/become-a-mentor/
To find out more about Darin Diehl, click here.