Nelma Llanora-Vega came to Hamilton from the Philippines in 2009 because she wanted a better future for her family.
This is the fourth profile in a series highlighting some of the Hamilton area’s successful immigrants.
Name: Nelma Llanora-Vega
Country of origin: Philippines
Came to Canada: 2009
Occupation: Social worker
Where are you employed?
I am currently working at March of Dimes Canada as support service attendant, assisting people with disability to help them to enjoy life and live independently.
What brought you to Hamilton?
I wanted a better future for my family, especially my daughter. This inspired me to come here. My brother sponsored me to come to Canada.
What skills, experience, business knowledge, and global connections did you bring?
I have worked in community development as a social worker in the Philippines. I managed local and internationally funded projects for poverty alleviation. I have also worked as a youth worker under United Nations Volunteer/United Nations Development Program in Bangladesh.
What has helped you settle?
My brother and his wife helped me. The Hamilton Immigrant Partnership Program has had a huge role in helping me in my career path. The program has helped me get back in my profession, in Hamilton.
Do you belong to any professional or other networks or organizations?
I am a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and the Ontario Association of Social Workers.
Can you describe a moment or experience when you felt successful since your arrival?
It was realizing that my social work degree is recognized by the Canadian Association of Social Workers and that I did not have to go back to school. Also getting registered with the Ontario College of Social Worker and Social Service Workers was a moment of success for me.
What is your favourite place in Hamilton?
I like the serenity of the waterfront.
One thing that you like about Hamilton?
I like how clean Hamilton is and the fact that it is not as busy as Toronto. I find it a good place for my daughter to grow up when she comes here.
What surprised you about living here?
I have had to adjust to small things like differences in culture, food, weather, the way of life and the commute by public transit during snowstorms.
What advice do you have for people who are new to Hamilton?
My advice to newcomers would be do not settle for anything less than what you deserve, especially if you are educated and have rich professional experience. It is just a matter of tapping into the right networks and government agencies that can be a bridge to a better future and professional success. Talk to other immigrants who are successful in Canada as they can share advice and helpful tips on how to attain the much deserved success.
* This article was originally published in The Hamilton Spectator and has been republished with permission.
** This series is a joint initiative of the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council, Workforce Planning Hamilton and the City of Hamilton’s Immigrant Attraction Action Plan.