By Gautam Nath
This is a story of an individual who has been a source of inspiration to me to countless others.
It started literally in my first few months in Canada by compiling a 35 page document called 'Tips for newcomers to Canada', a compilation of the learnings and experiences as a newcomer on my journey to Canada and the first few months after landing. This document has been sent out free to over 5000 new Canadians and helps them in navigating their new country of choice.
With the job market in disarray, early after landing, I started a self-help group using the Linked-in platform called 'Jobs in Canada', which provides a platform for individuals to share resources, ask questions and collectively help each other stay motivated. I dedicated hours, days, months and years to help grow this forum which boasts over 35000 members today.
I realized navigating the new landscape was not easy for everyone and so started on a journey of mentoring new Canadians. In my 8 years here, not a single week has gone by where I have not personally met a new Canadian, connected on phone or electronically or spoken at a forum about helping new Canadians feel motivated, better equipped and more confident in starting their life in Canada.
I was featured on Canada Day 2009 on CBC National television as a representative of an immigrant barely one year into the country; such was my passion in giving back. Before I knew who Peter Mansbridge was, Peter was introducing me to Canada.
The volunteering does not end there, I have supported agencies such as TRIEC, Maytree Foundation, GDX and others in participating on a pro bono basis at their events as a speaker or a coach, highlighting their achievements aimed at new Canadians and also sharing my knowledge and experiences of being a seasoned marketing professional.
My features have appeared in many publications, media interviews and live events so that I can share my message of positivity and motivate others to find the best in themselves and do well. I have also volunteered my time and experience on the jury of many prestigious Canadian marketing awards such as the Cassies, the Marketing Awards, the Ontario Colleges Awards, the Canadian Marketing Awards and the Summit and CME Awards.
While most new Canadians spend years trying to find a job and settle down, I started out with giving back selflessly and becoming a go to person for many. There is a huge list of events, initiatives and other occasions that I have been involved in motivating new Canadians.
My volunteering efforts have been such that I received the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Award in 2011, just 2 1/2 years after landing in Canada perhaps being the first ever new Canadian to win this honored National Award in so little time. I was felicitated by the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, Hon. Jason Kenney for my efforts to make Canada a better place. Minister Eric Hoskins, Minister for Immigration Ontario at that time, also congratulated me on my efforts in helping new Canadians.
Been invited to speak at the National Summit of Immigration in Ottawa on the topic of shaping Canada's future was seen as valuable by the Conference Board of Canada. Been volunteering on the Board of a leading not for profit organization, MCIS Services, a social enterprise, dedicated to bring hope and a future to many underprivileged with language barriers. I have volunteered on their board and have grown from being a Board member to becoming the Chair of the Board. This position is shared by very few if at all, achieving a Board Chair position in just 8 years in Canada, reflects commitment, passion and dedication in a voluntary role. Thousands in Canada benefit by MCIS services, a bridge across language barriers which makes a difference to them between dire poverty and human abuse and success and a future for them and their children.
My work in connecting and advising new Canadians was highlighted in a video series by the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program and has been broadcast across their offices in India and the Middle East. This story is of a journey that many face, one that shows passion and determination and the need to give back to Canada. One the honor of the 150, it is stories like this which motivate others and recognizes the beauty of life in Canada.