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By Amy Stevens, EMCN

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The Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers’ RISE Awards, presented in partnership with the Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council, have been operating as one of Edmonton’s signature events for many years.  Last year marked the 10th anniversary, and was the most successful awards to date, as it celebrated the many accomplishments of newcomers and their champions as well as the hard work of all the immigrant-serving agencies throughout the city.

The RISE Awards are comprised of two award categories, the Community Awards and the Employer Awards. The gala is a celebration with entertainment, speakers and awards presentations featuring immigrants and community groups who support immigrants, as well as employers who show leadership in their human resource and employment practices towards immigrant workers in Edmonton workplaces.

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The attendees of the RISE Awards are as unique as the event itself. Last year, the gala hosted 410 individuals ranging from local supporters, to newcomers and corporate executives. The atmosphere is celebratory, with new interactions and opportunities to learn from other experiences abound.

The aims of the RISE Awards are as follows:

1)      Celebrating Contributions- the event is called the RISE Awards (Recognizing Immigrant Success in Edmonton). As such, the event is intended to celebrate the social and economic successes of newcomers and employers who operate under best practices, inclusion, and diversity in the workplace. EMCN feels it is important to acknowledge the efforts made to ensure Edmonton continues to become a vibrant and welcoming home for newcomers and all Edmontonians.

2)      Raising Awareness- it is necessary that the greater Edmonton community, its officials, and its contributors, recognize the importance of agencies such as EMCN in the successful and full inclusion of immigrants into Edmonton society. EMCN aims to use the event not only to celebrate the achievements of newcomers and the employers who support them, but also to raise awareness of the agency’s role in the settlement and employment processes of many of those immigrants.

For more information please contact:

Amy Stevens, Coordinator, Fund Development
Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
780-423-9506 astevens@emcn.ab.ca
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Nozima: A Mentee Success Story


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By Tetyana Khramova, Career Mentorship Program Director

The ERIEC team is always pleased to share with our blog viewer the success stories of our ‘internationally trained professionals’. Let me introduce to you Nozima Nurmukhamedova, a former mentee of the ERIEC Career Mentorship Program and one of our guest speakers at the Annual Global Talent Conference last February. Here is an excerpt taken from her presentation.

Who am I and why did I come to Canada?

My name is Nozima and I have come to Canada from Tajikistan. I had a great job, completed two Masters Degrees, and lived in a great house. I also left behind my family and an extended network. But I was not afraid to give up my “comfort zone” and move to Canada – like many of you present here today.

Contrary to the common myth that immigrants “lack certain technical and soft skills”, I would like to say that we all do depending on the situation and environment. As humans who begin a new life in a new place, we start to question everything and we begin to lose the most precious things we have – confidence and hope.

Big dreams, hard realities and learning to take baby steps

With an advanced degree, I have worked in various international settings and on big projects. I thought that finding a job would be easy here in Canada but this was not the case. Many of you will relate to my story (with the exception of my last name which is made up of 16 letters). Many of you can also relate to terms like “Lack of Canadian experience”, “Canadian certification and accreditation processes”, and the “Canadian work culture”… these terms were my new realities.

My first baby step was to reach out to my “community”, to connect and network with people. This was difficult for me as I just became even more home sick for Tajikistan.

I then started to look around for help. I had come to realize that there is not much available for internationally trained professionals. What I was looking for who was more than just English skills and general help in job searching. This is actually a larger policy question that will face the Province of Alberta in the coming years – not just to attract educated people from abroad – but to ensure that Alberta is known for its adaptation and integration services, which, I believe, we truly lag behind in some cases.

I was then lucky to find the ERIEC Career Mentorship Program and be matched and introduced to my mentor Karen Link, who became a great influence on my life. She helped me to believe in myself, restore my confidence, and taught me to be persistent. We really worked hard together during the 4 months of the program. Did I get interviews? Yes, I got 5 interviews during the program period. One week I got three interviews! Did I get a job in my field? Yes, I did. I started the Career Mentorship program in September last year, and in December I was offered a position with Alberta Infrastructure.

What are the ingredients for success? Believe in yourself!

If you want success, you need to work hard and even harder and success will come to you. It was Pablo Picasso who said, “Action is the foundational key to all success”.

The ERIEC Mentorship program is doing a great job by matching great people with each other; I mean real professionals and great personalities. That’s why it took me 4 months to find my dream job! By the way, as a side note, my husband spent over 15 months to find his dream job!

I would like to thank again my mentor Karen Link for providing such exceptional support. I thank you ERIEC for doing such an awesome job. I hope your program will expand and even more professionals will benefit as will Edmonton and the Province of Alberta. And I am very thankful to Canada for giving us this opportunity and embracing diversity like no other country in the world!



Global Talent Conference 2014 – The Aftermath


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Thank you to all of those participants who took the time to answer our 2014 Global Talent Survey. As you can imagine, this feedback is extremely valuable to us when it comes to evaluation and future planning for next year. In this blog we would like to share with you some of the data results and details.

The response rate of the survey was a little lower than expected (only 42%) but it still provided us with good feedback and some ideas to enhance the Conference next year.

Internationally Trained Professionals (ITPs) participants, 71.9% who responded indicated that they were Very Satisfied regarding their Overall Satisfaction for the Conference with 0.0% marked under the category of Disappointed.

Of the employers who responded, 55.6% stated that they were Very Satisfied regarding their Overall Satisfaction rating of the Conference with 5.6% indicating they were Disappointed.

270A6232What ITPs said:
“Thanks for this wonderful opportunity”.
“Just to say thank you to you all for arranged such a good and positive attitude conference”.
Their suggestions for next year:
“The conference was very good and I am sure you will make it very interesting by inviting more employers from each sector……. more one to one interaction with employers……focus more on interaction and networking”.
What employers said:
“Great job! Congratulations to the organizers of this event. It’s always a pleasure to attend”.
“This is a great chance to learn and exchange knowledge. The learning opportunity goes both ways. In addition, it is very valuable to find qualified people who can contribute to the Alberta economy and growth”.
And suggestions for next year:
“Need to have more opportunity to connect with more people…. more time to attend the marketplace”.
The Organizing Committee would like to thank all of you for your active participation in the Global Talent Conference this past February and once again, taking the time filling out the survey!


We will review in detail all of our survey results and suggestions and incorporate them all in our planning design for the next conference in 2015.

Thank you,
Elena Chernaeva, Project Coordinator


What a day it was!


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Congratulations on a successful event!” “ Well done, ERIEC team!” “ What a wonderful event! We enjoyed and learned a lot from the sessions, successful story sharing, and networking”.

What a great day we all had! These were just some of the quotes from the e-mails we received the day after our Annual Global Talent Conference last week at the Fantasyland Hotel & Conference Centre. The participants’ feedback was amazing.

This annual conference is our signature career development event for internationally trained professionals and employer leaders from the Edmonton business community and government with an interest in the successful integration into our local workforce.

270A6060The  Honourable Thomas Lukaszuk, Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour, provided his greetings on behalf of the Province of Alberta to the audience. As the majority of the audience were professional immigrants, his insights and perspectives on ‘connecting the global talent pool’ made everyone feel welcomed and assured them that Alberta was the right choice for those who made the decision to move to Canada. The additional welcome speeches that made by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the City of Edmonton, carried this same sentiment and spirit.

Stayed tuned later in March as we will share with you surveys and summaries of the conference!


Networking for Success


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ERIEC is preparing for a great day tomorrow: the annual Edmonton Global Talent Conference.  I would like to share with you some information on one of the exciting workshops we will be offering as a part of the Conference. 

Participants in this interactive and engaging session will explore common challenges faced by immigrants (and many others) in establishing effective networks.  Whether seeking the perfect employment opportunity or enhancing your career for future options, effective networking is an essential interpersonal skill that requires reflection, self-awareness, commitment and practice.  Explore your own personal style and gain important tools to expand your outreach efforts.  Practical exercises, tips and testimonials from successful networkers will ensure that this session offers opportunities to enhance your personal social capital and career potential.



Javier Vinsome, CPA, has worked with the CGA-Alberta association for over five years as Evaluations Coordinator, Manager of Recruitment, and more recently as their Diversity Advisor.  In his current role, he offers ongoing advice, program assessment, and planning for international students who are working towards their CGA designation.  He also works closely with immigrant serving agencies to refer students to resources that fit their needs.


Marie Gervais, PhD., CSTD., MEd., BEd. (bilingual), ECDip., A.Mus, (Director, Global Leadership Associates) provides leadership and culturally competent management training for industry, writes curriculum for workplace learning, and manages projects for integration of immigrant workers and immigrant entrepreneurship. Her work has a particular focus on developing diverse workforce capacity and helping industry build a talent pipeline. She recently created Work and Culture Online, 10 eLearning modules for internationally trained professionals and their managers, and managed the Immigrant Entrepreneur Mentorship Program for The Business Link. A lifelong learner, Marie is a credentialed evaluator with the Canadian Evaluation Society, a Certified Training and Development Professional and is currently working on her International Mentoring Certificate.

Understand the Criteria by Which You are Being Measured


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An interesting panel discussion ERIEC is pleased to offer to Internationally Trained Professionals as part of the Edmonton Global Talent Conference on February 27, 2014 at Fantasyland Hotel, Edmonton.

In this session, Internationally Trained Professionals will have the opportunity to hear from a panel of Human Resource specialists from  StantecDeloitte, Grant Thornton and City of Edmonton.  The panel will focus on giving you insight into the recruitment and screening process.  You will learn what qualifications and experience organizations look for when screening résumés and how to prepare for a Canadian job interview.  Panel members will also discuss the importance of networking and onboarding.

Moderator:  Jill Chesley, Enbridge: Jill is an HR Analyst on the Diversity team at Enbridge Pipelines Inc., and the Chair of the Edmonton Business Diversity Network. Prior to working with Enbridge, Jill worked for over a decade in the non-profit sector, most recently with immigrant-serving organizations in Edmonton.  Jill has traveled and lived overseas, which contributes to her interest in helping newcomers and Canadians understand each other.  Jill is completing her MA in Intercultural Relations and has spent the last several summers as Coordinator for the Fellows Program at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) in Portland, Oregon.


Corinne Warwaruk, Deloitte: Corinne has over 25 years of experience within professional services.  As a graduate of the University of Alberta she attained a CA designation articling with Deloitte.  Prior to transitioning to human resources, Corinne was a Senior Manager within the firm’s audit practice advising clients on assurance and business related matters.  She is also a Certified Human Resources Professional and is currently completing a PCC – Professional Certified Coach designation.  Today, as a Director in Talent at Deloitte, Corinne provides strategic HR support to various business units.  In the role of Alberta Talent Lead, she primarily focuses on strategies that support employee engagement and diversity and inclusion.

Ricardo Carlos, Stantec: Ricardo joined Stantec in 2012 as a Senior Human Resources Consultant.  His career spans different sectors where he has held roles in management, business development and consulting. Prior to Stantec, Ricardo was the Associate Director at the Centre for Race and Culture (CRC), where he was responsible for Cultural Competence, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs. Ricardo also worked many years as a Director for Berlitz, a worldwide leader in language and cultural training with locations in over 65 countries. Ricardo is also a certified cross-cultural trainer with various organizations in North America. In a volunteer capacity, Ricardo has served as the Chair of the Immigration sub-committee at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and more recently as the Chair of the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC) Edmonton region.

Sumira Duggal, Grant Thornton LLP: Sumira is the Talent Attraction Specialist for Grant Thornton Alberta. She is involved in the screening, sourcing and attraction of top talent within the accounting industry. In her spare time, Sumira volunteers as a mentor for ERIEC, to assist newcomers understand the nuances of the Canadian business market. Being from an immigrant family, Sumira understands the challenges that working in a new country can present and the necessary sacrifices one must make to start a career in Canada. Being involved with ERIEC allows her to help newcomers leverage their strengths and experiences to successfully start their career in Canada.

Tara Langan, City of Edmonton
Tara Langan is a self-proclaimed over achiever with a commitment to exceeding the service needs of clients. Being primarily Right Brain minded her passion for creativity and innovation led her pursue opportunities where she could lead design and implement creative sourcing and recruitment strategies.    Currently a Recruitment Consultant with the City of Edmonton she is responsible for the Engineering/ Engineering Technologist portfolio.  She is a trusted adviser internally to the City when it comes to strategies and when not working she enjoys spending time with her family.

Mentorship in a Rapidly Changing World: Overcoming Bias in the Workplace


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Another interesting workshop ERIEC is pleased to offer to Edmonton Corporate Business Representatives as part of the Edmonton Global Talent Conference on February 27, 2014 at Fantasyland Hotel, Edmonton.

Being aware of our unconscious biases asks us to rethink the way we approach talent management, strategic decision-making, organizational policies and practices, and workplace interactions.  This workshop will assist you in developing a greater understanding of the filters through which you view the world and interpret the behaviours of others, and support you in dealing more effectively with members of other groups.


Dr. William Anselmi is a University of Alberta professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies.  He has co-edited and co-authored several books on migration, ethnicity, multiculturalism and media representations.  Dr. Anselmi is active in the community and has served as a national and provincial Executive member of the National Congress of Italian Canadians,  is an elected member of the Alberta and Saskatchewan region Comites, a cultural organization sponsored by the Government of Italy and is the Association of Italian Canadian Writers Past President.  Dr. Anselmi is passionate about the topics of integration and inclusion and shares this enthusiasm with his audiences.

Todd Odgers is Principal of NorQuest College’s Centre for Intercultural Education (CIE) in Edmonton Canada. The Centre is unique in Canada and its research and training activities focus on the development of intercultural competence for business, industry, government, educators, and not for profits nationally and internationally. The CIE has worked with over fifty organizations regionally, nationally and internationally and is the designer and facilitator of ERIEC’s mentors training program.  Todd facilitates and speaks widely to groups wanting to improve their effectiveness engaging diverse populations. Todd has taught management to undergraduate students, English for the Workplace and Intercultural Communication in Canada and abroad.

Adesiji Rabiu, Project Management Specialist, Enbridge Pipelines Inc. has over 18 years of combined experience in IT, project management and management consulting.  At Enbridge, he is Chair of ENBRACE, an employee resource group, which supports the ongoing creation of an inclusive workplace that embraces Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) and leverages the diverse strengths of all Enbridge employees and contractors.  Adesiji sits on the Institute of Certified Management Consultant’s of Alberta’s Board of Directors and most recently published his first book, Leading and Realizing Your Career Goals.

If you are interested in this no-cost 90-minutes workshop, please contact Elena Chernaeva at echernaeva@eriec.ca   or call 780-497-8866.


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Professional Development Workshop for Employers

What is your organization doing to embrace a culture of diversity and inclusion?  In today’s globalized world, more and more of us are required to understand people who come from countries and cultures different from our own.  Diversity has become essential to Edmonton’s economic and social viability!  The challenge for leaders is not how to manage or cope with differences, but how to leverage and lead diversity as a business imperative in a changing world.  This workshop for leaders will explore competencies for maximizing your organization’s return on its investment in diversity and inclusion and invite leaders to consider next steps in sustaining an inclusive environment.  Learn to move toward global competency and inclusive workplaces by becoming a diversity champion!

The Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council (ERIEC) is delighted to invite you to attend a

Are You Culturally Competent: Leading Diversity and Inclusiveness in Your Workplace

This no-cost 90-minutes workshop is offered on
February 27, 2014 from 1:15 – 2:45 p.m.
at the Fantasyland Hotel, Edmonton as part of the
Edmonton Global Talent Conference
Facilitator: Barbara Dixon, the Keynote Speaker at the Conference

Barb Dixon

In this workshop you will learn:

  • How to maximize global talent and manage a diverse workforce to drive innovation, increase productivity, operate more efficiently and expand business markets
  • Cultural competencies to build and engage diverse work teams and use diversity as a strategic business advantage
  • Practical tools to leverage and maximize global talent within your organization to create more productive and innovative workplaces and delivery of superior client services
  • Strategies and actions for embedding diversity and inclusion into policies, procedures, interactions and Your corporate culture

For more information contact Elena Chernaeva (echernaeva@eriec.ca )  or call 780-497-8866.

 This workshop can help leaders become diversity champions!

2014 Edmonton Global Talent Conference


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Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council

2014 Edmonton Global Talent Conference

Thursday, February 27, 2014
Fantasyland Hotel & Conference Centre
West Edmonton Mall – FREE parking is available
8:00am – 4:00pm
Do you recruit, hire or manage Internationally Trained Professionals?
Join us and learn about how you can help build a more immigrant inclusive workplace.
Find out:
• How to enhance your leadership skills through mentoring
• How to lead diversity and inclusiveness in your workplace
• How to integrate skilled immigrants into the Canadian workforce
This is not a hiring event.
Please register by February 14, 2014 at:
For the Conference program and further details go to http://www.eriec.ca
or contact Elena at echernaeva@eriec.ca