Gerard Keledjian has been an active contributor in TRIEC’s Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs) program through his association, the New Canadian Media Professionals’ Network (NCMP). He talks to us about his journey as a newcomer, a PINs leader, an entrepreneur and what helping other immigrant professionals means to him.

I arrived in Canada 8 years ago and it’s been quite a journey. In that time, I have experienced first-hand the challenges faced by immigrant professionals, including myself, when connecting with their careers in our new country.

Two common challenges faced by almost all newcomers are the lack of correct, easy-to-understand information, and the lack of enough meaningful opportunities to build confidence. I personally faced these same challenges when I came to Canada as well.

The search for answers to these two challenges was long, but I was able to find the right answers by meeting other immigrant professionals like me, knowing and using some of the resources available for new immigrants and getting introduced to the PINs program and seeing its value.

When I was first introduced to PINs and the different associations in it, I found that there was no PINs association for media professionals. So, I joined the closest I could find, which was one in marketing and communications. Inspired by that experience, I decided to start a new PINs association for media: the New Canadian Media Professionals Network or (NCMP) to collectively move forward.

We’re a small association, and we faced many challenges and had many achievements as well. The most important achievement is that NCMP has brought together many immigrant professionals, allowed them to share their experiences, learnings, build relationships and foster collaborations amongst themselves.

I myself have benefitted from being part of PINs by building strong networks in Canada in a very short time. I’ve improved my leadership skills, my visibility, and connected with important individuals, organizations and opportunities. I’ve also gained professionally when I decided to use my experience and storytelling skills to help other newcomers in Canada be better informed and more successful.

Three years ago, I launched New Canadians, a TV and web-based series for newcomers to Canada and pre-arrival immigrants. It’s broadcast nationally in Canada & also available online. Producing New Canadians TV has put me in direct contact with newcomers from different communities across Canada, from Toronto all the way to Sarnia, Moncton, Calgary and Vancouver.

I would also like to share the story of a refugee from Iraq, who I had connected with through TRIEC. He had a good resume working for Reuters news agency in Iraq, and even before I could assist him, his resume got him a job with a major sports TV network in Toronto. However, he was unable to retain that job for more than a few weeks. After joining NCMP, he attended some of its activities, and also worked with me on filming for New Canadians TV for about 2 years, while driving for Uber. Working with the team was a good opportunity for him to build his confidence, improve his communication skills, and be better prepared for the Canadian workplace, all this in a friendly and supportive environment. Ultimately, he was able to use this experience to find a job at CBC, where he is working now.

The PINs program is immensely beneficial for immigrant professionals as they are offered the opportunity to network and showcase their skills by joining a professional association. It’s also a chance for leaders of professional associations like myself to collaborate and work together to help more newcomers succeed in Canada.

To find out more about the New Canadian Media Professionals’ Network, please click here – http://triec.ca/pins/directory/new-canadian-media-professionals-network-ncmp/