By Tosin Ajogbeje
Immigrants contribute immensely to Canadian society. And they remain resilient wherever they are. As risk-takers, they continue to engage in lifelong learning activities while adapting to the Canadian culture. Each newcomer professional has a unique story to tell. Here is the success story of one inspiring immigrant.
Arlene Ruiz was born and raised in the Philippines. Inspired by her sister, who was already in Canada, she summoned up the courage to immigrate and arrived in Canada in 1994. However, she moved with little resources to settle in and knew less about what to expect. “I moved to Canada with inadequate income and remained hopeful that networking with people would be beneficial,” says Arlene. The first couple of years were difficult, considering the culture shock, but she has “a sense of gratitude for being in Canada” and building a new life.
She eventually moved to Saskatchewan, a place she now calls home. “In 2000, I kicked off my career as a Flight Attendant for Skyservice Airlines in Saskatoon. Having worked as a Flight Attendant for about three to five years, I witnessed and saw all types of emotions from waving goodbyes to the joy of seeing families reunited not to mention my very own experience. It inspired me to brainstorm a career where I see myself making an impact that would fulfill my desire and passion for helping others. And so, I started my own firm, Alexene Immigration & Employment Services Inc.”
Her sister, who paved the way for Arlene and her family, highlighted the importance of networking. Arlene put in extra hours to build up her business, volunteer in the community and engage in fundraising initiatives. “Being proactive in working with diverse individuals enabled me to expand my horizon. The more I socialized with people, the more I built rewarding relationships with mentors,” she says.
Volunteering with organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Answering the cry of the Poor (ANCOP) enabled her to meet like-minded people and find mentors in her field. “Some of the mentors I met were extremely helpful and referred me to local engagement and volunteering activities at the Saskatoon Open Door Society. While attending workshops at the Open Door Society, I was able to provide volunteer support in connecting employers and possible candidates to job opportunities, and making presentations to encourage new immigrants looking to fuel their entrepreneurial spirit,” says Arlene.
The Licensed Immigration Consultant, who received her diploma from Ashton College, stresses the importance of creating job fairs and supporting immigrants to polish their resumes and get their credentials properly assessed for employment purposes.
Immigration Consultant Arlene Ruiz wanted to be a beacon of hope for new immigrants
“More than ever, during this pandemic it is critical to uplift immigrants in making professional connections and likewise providing them with the necessary tools to succeed in the labour market. After being recognized with the prestigious award for the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards, I knew right away that I wanted to be a beacon of hope for new immigrants. As an immigration consultant today, I continuously help Canadian employers with the information they need before hiring immigrants,” she says.
The mother of two encourages immigrants to access comprehensive services to explore what Canada has to offer, that way they can achieve their settlement goals. “I advise newcomer professionals to review relevant sites like LinkedIn, Indeed & any related job resources in the beginning stages,” says Arlene. She adds it is a “blessing to give back”, and share in-depth knowledge and expertise with newcomers.
Celebrating the 8th year anniversary of her immigration consultancy firm, she acknowledges her steady determination and drive in moving up the career ladder. “Despite the inevitable hurdles, newcomer professionals should not lose hope, and they should keep going,” says Arlene. She concludes with a message for newcomers: “Be authentic, be true to who you are as a new immigrant.”
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