Over the past week, we’ve been an excited lot at 192 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, the space out of which we work. And by the time you read this, we would have finished downing lots of cake (not to mention singing ‘Happy Birthday’ in each of our native languages!).
New Canadians turns four, and we’re excited! It’s been quite a ride, but this is such an exciting time for us. We launched in 2015 as a TV and web-based series to help newcomers and would-be immigrants better understand and effectively prepare for their immigration and integration in Canada. In other words, it is really your endeavour to make Canada home that gives purpose to what we do.
It is hence fitting to have you join us on this milestone. It’s the perfect opportunity to put aside what we do for a moment and introduce you to our team. At the very core, we’re all (or have been at some point in time) newcomers, which is what makes our work so special.
MEET THE TEAM
The brains of the operation
Say hey to Gerard Keledjian, Executive Producer and Co-Host of New Canadians, or as a friend says, ‘The brain and engine behind New Canadians‘. “When I moved to Canada in 2010, I thought I was well prepared. But it turned out I wasn’t. I was confused, overwhelmed and I made many mistakes while trying to find my way. After a painful couple of years, I was able to put myself back on track and work towards success,” Gerard recalls.
Moving to a new country is challenging! One needs to adjust to a new environment, new customs and ways of thinking. However, in Canada, we are lucky to have numerous resources and a welcoming society. Talking about the idea behind New Canadians, Gerard adds, “It is heartbreaking when I meet newcomers who struggle just because they don’t know about resources that could benefit them. With the help of other passionate immigrant storytellers, I decided to set up a platform that could help newcomers and would-be immigrants be better prepared for their Canadian journey and enjoy this great country and its offerings.”
Next up, the storytellers and wordsmiths
Dean, Rachel and Vasudha are the ones to be envied. They spend the day looking for compelling stories to tell and interesting people to talk to…
“Every new immigrant has a story. And as a storyteller, I believe that it is my responsibility to make sure those stories are heard because so many others could draw inspiration from them. I’ve met some very resilient people during my stint with New Canadians so far, and every time I do, I am left feeling a little bit more humbled. It’s great to be part of the team. I look forward to us coming up with more fresh content that you will enjoy and relate to and perhaps even contribute to. Thanks for sticking with us!”
– Dean Lobo, Web and Newsletter Editor
“As a Korean-Canadian who grew up in Canada, I am thankful for a beautiful life here and the opportunities available. New Canadians is aimed at being an entertaining and helpful resource for new immigrants. The fact that I can contribute to it keeps me going. My advice? Do not just settle with the ordinary for yourself — live an extraordinary life by doing, learning and having something that makes you especially unique and irreplaceable.”
– Rachel Lee, Co-Host
“New Canadians connected me to newcomers like myself, who were unsure and anxious but talented. To be able to see myself in countless others and then see their gradual success was encouraging. Through my association with the team and the industry experts I have interviewed, I have discovered new strengths about myself, which continue to guide me in my professional career. I would love for us to put the spotlight on industries that are attracting the bulk of new talent, for example, the digital communications and technology space.”
– Vasudha Sharma, Reporter
They call the shots
Our videographers really have the last word when it comes to the perfect shot! On a lighter note, they are easily among the most key members of the team, because they are responsible for making people look good on camera!
“New Canadians brings to light wonderful stories of people from across the world who leave behind the life they knew to start a new one in Canada. Learning about their successes is inspiring and makes me want to discover and tell more such stories. I think Canada changes your perspective. For me, the move was a stepping stone. I was on my own until I started to make new friends and know different people. To my fellow newcomers, consider this an adventure and go with it. Always keep your eyes on the goals you’ve set for yourself.”
– George Niculescu, Videographer
“I find great joy in listening to newcomer success stories. Personally, working at New Canadians has been a great induction of sorts into Canadian culture. The show is a great source of useful information. I’d recommend it to new immigrants in a heartbeat.”
– Taewan Jeon, Videographer
The guys with ‘avid’ interests
They say, with video, a story is really told thrice: While writing, while filming and finally while editing. Nasim and Gianluca, our video editors, are masters of the craft and really put the ‘cutting (pun totally intended) edge’ factor into the beautiful stories we find across Canada…
“I joined New Canadians as a video editor recently, and I enjoy helping its stories come to life. I spent six months in Toronto on a working holiday visa in 2016. I liked the city, the people and the industry landscape so much that I decided to move permanently. Having lived in Canada for almost three years now gave me a new perspective on immigration, the value of culture and heritage, and how it all affects the community. My advice to any newcomer would be to not fear cultural differences, but to embrace them and bring your own life experiences to the mix.”
– Gianluca Olmastroni, Video Editor
“I was lucky to be born in Canada, so I do not have the first-hand experience of living in another country. However, travelling has made me grateful for everything this country has given me. New Canadians allows me to inform viewers of all these things my home has to offer. I want newcomers to not just explore the culture of Canada, but the cultures of others who have made Canada home. I hope New Canadians continues its recent trend of highlighting cities and provinces that are not top of mind when immigrants think of Canada.”
– Nasim Ali, Video Editor
The folks who help us stay connected
Our very dedicated team of social media, marketing and advertising experts are constantly taking stock of whether the content we passionately produce reaches the right people. They also help identify the growing needs of our audience…
“As an immigrant, I understand how much it means to be guided in the right direction by someone who has gone through the same struggle and succeeded. I received this from New Canadians. Being a part of the team is my way of giving back. I want to continue creating a positive impact on the lives of new Canadians through our content. I would like to do more to support immigrant entrepreneurship in Canada.”
– Arjun Padmakumar, Social Media Specialist
“As a new Canadian myself, I’d want to tell all newcomers that everything is new; enjoy the experience with grand abandon. Don’t be afraid to try new stuff. This is your hill to climb and the view from the top is going to be beautiful. I have big dreams for New Canadians and am looking forward to seeing it soar. I hope you as readers, viewers and followers will accompany us on this adventurous ride.”
– David Gomes, Social Media Specialist
“I still remember the day I listened to Tareq Hadhad (of ‘Peace by Chocolate’ fame). His story changed my way of thinking. Till then, I had doubts and concerns about moving to a new country without family or friends. It inspired me to believe this is a land of opportunity and that anyone can succeed with a positive attitude. That’s the power of stories. New Canadians has offered me the chance to share such stories. I want every newcomer to learn about these resources and succeed in their Canadian dream.”
– Gayatri Gadre, Digital Marketing Specialist
“I wish I had a resource like New Canadians when I immigrated to Canada, or even better before I made the move. This thought keeps motivating me to be a part of the team. Someone told me that the greatest lesson Canada would teach me as a newcomer is humility. Six years later, I’m still learning! In the end, I want to tell every newcomer: Persevere, it does get better! I hope we can inspire, support and give a sense of direction to more people in different countries before they land in Canada and help make the process of immigration easier.”
– Myroslava Symonenko, Marketing, Advertising and Partnerships In-Charge
WHAT’S NEW AT NEW CANADIANS
For the first time starting this year, we’ll be broadcasting throughout the year on TV (OMNI Television), on the web (newcanadians.tv), and on YouTube. “We’re collaborating with great organizations and partners, such as our 2019 sponsor Word Education Services (WES) who believe in our work and support us,” says Gerard.
Additionally, many amazing things are happening at New Canadians: We’re growing as a team, we’ve refreshed our TV look and in the next few days we’ll launch our new, redesigned website that will offer you a better user experience. We’re also expanding our webinar offerings to include more helpful topics for newcomers and would-be immigrants.
Stay tuned for more great content across all our platforms. We have special episodes dedicated to various Canadian cities, such as Thunder Bay, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa, and Calgary. There’s more about bridging programs such as the IEP Bridging Program at York University, resources for Francophone immigrants, and inspiring stories of immigrant professionals and entrepreneurs who are making great contributions to this country and reminding us every day why immigration matters! “In the coming months, we will gradually make our content accessible in other languages,” Gerard adds, signing off.
Words and compilation: Dean Lobo
* Do you have ideas or specific stories we could bring you? We’re waiting to hear from you then! Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with us on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagramand LinkedIn.