Xixi offers a warm welcome at the Brossard offices of Sino-Québec, the organization sheruns that helps members of the Chinese and Asian communities in the Greater Montreal area. Whether assisting newcomers, seniors or people in need of food, clothing or housing, her dynamic team finds solutions for all of them. Originally from Lanzhou in northwest China, Xixi, Sino-Québec’s Executive Director, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature in her country of origin. Upon arriving in Canada, she worked temporary jobs at the University of Calgary and in a souvenir shop. Despite her background in English literature, Xixi wanted to learn another language when she moved to Quebec. While her husband was studying for his Doctorate in engineering, she enrolled in a Master of Business Administration program- in French, no less! With two small children, this brave young woman worked as a waitress in a restaurant in Old Quebec to provide for her family. Being immersed in an almost entirely French-speaking environment in Quebec City would prove useful for Xixi, who would go on to hold a key position in Montreal’s non-profit sector. With her composed, relaxed and cheerful demeanour, Xixi told us how she was appointed Sino-Québec’s Executive Director in 2001. She points out that day-to-day business in this community organization is conducted in French, English and many Chinese languages.
Contrary to popular belief, she says, most Chinese immigrants who come to Canada are not affluent. They often find themselves in precarious situations and face discrimination. The exclusion of immigrants is unfortunately a reality. For example, as a child her son was at times left out of his class’s social circles. Fighting racism and discrimination, which exist at every level of society, are part of her organization’s mission. Xixi, a very compassionate woman, is wellknown throughout the Montreal community. She is too modest to discuss it, but she has received several civic awards including one from the City of Montreal. Sitting on several public service organizations’ board of directors, while participating in numerous volunteer activities, this community leader remains unassuming. She advocates the benefits of community action in an exemplary manner, feeling it is vital to instill in her two children the virtues of volunteering. Moreover, her children have been attendingChinese school on Sundays for manyyears. Recently, she ran for a seat in Brossard’smunicipal government. It all aligns with how thisinspiring woman fiercely defends the values that have shaped her adult life, including social justice, the promotion of cultural diversity, inclusion, freedom of expression, sustainable development, security, democracy and the freedom to safely express one’s sexual orientation. As she states in her public speaking engagements, living in Canada is a privilege. The role of each citizen is to help those less fortunate. Her message to today’s youth: education is a determining factor in your life, and an opportunity to surpass your expectations!