Sophie Duan, an association leader in TRIEC’s Professional Immigrant Networks program, has been volunteering for 11 years in many different organizations. As an immigrant professional herself, she believes that volunteering can help immigrants achieve success in their careers. Find out how she began volunteering and why she still continues to do it today.

When I came to Canada, I learned that one of the most beautiful aspects of living here is volunteering. Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community. Being an immigrant myself, being helped by society and many others, and having witnessed other immigrants going through the same challenges I began volunteering to give back to this country. I firmly believe in the motto “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will flow into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

I began volunteering 11 years ago and since then, I have been actively involved with several organizations in the community. I am the President of M-Bridge Culture Integration Society for Professionals, an association in the TRIEC PINs program helping immigrants in their careers. I am also currently a member of the PINs Advisory Committee, collaborating with other leaders and providing my input in growing the program. I have been volunteering at the United Way of Greater Toronto, providing input on overall services for communities including employment, and I volunteered at Peel Regional Police on Community Safety. In addition, I am a leader of the Immigrant Talk project, a web-based storytelling platform about the journeys, lives and dreams of immigrants to Canada in written or video format.

Through my extensive experience in volunteering, I learned about the Canadian social and workplace culture, developed my communication skills, networked with professionals from different communities and all walks of life which expanded my network (and friends circle!), and gained valuable leadership and entrepreneurship skills. All of these aspects have contributed to my successful career and business today.

My experience can attest to the importance of volunteering for all immigrant professionals. It helps in expanding connections in their professional field, meeting people with big hearts who are also willing to help them. They can learn about this country from different views through networking with different people. It’s also a great way to learn about and actually experience Canadian workplace structure and culture. They can also get references from Canadian professionals to use in their future career interests. If they continue volunteering right from when they arrive in Canada, they will definitely gain what I have gained.

To learn more about M-Bridge and other PINs association, visit the PINs directory – http://triec.ca/pins/directory