On February 20, 2016, TRIEC brought together leaders from professional immigrant networks to celebrate what they have achieved together through the Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs) program this year and look at opportunities for the coming year.
The day was hosted by Nestor Perez, President of the Council of Filipino Canadian Professionals of Ontario and was attended by 25 PINs leaders representing 18 PINs associations.
In 2015-16, PINs added seven new associations to its ranks, crossing the 60 association milestone. A complete list of associations can be found on the PINs Directory. PINs also added seven new partner organizations in the last fiscal year. The PINs website was refreshed and a How-To guide for immigrants was created to help them navigate through the PINs Directory and connect with PINs associations. This has resulted in a total of 1457 connection requests from immigrants so far in 2015-16, three times the set target of 500 connection requests.
A number of collaborations were highlighted including:
- PINs hosted three Quarterly Meetings last year, providing an opportunity for leaders to meet, exchange ideas, and talk about their accomplishments, priorities and challenges. These meetings were highly beneficial to leaders and attendance almost doubled from last year.
- The Connector Program was piloted this year and the outcomes have been fantastic. One of the Connector program participants was hired as a result of the connections PINs facilitated with the Association of Romanian Engineers.
- Three webinars were held this year – two for both members and leaders (Networking and Personal Branding), and one exclusively for leaders, on Solution Focused Coaching. A fourth webinar was scheduled in March – An overview of the employment services currently offered so PINs leaders know where to refer their members should they need support.
- PINs continued to support the Drs2Drs project, jointly undertaken with our doctors’ associations and our partner Community Matters. One of the participants in the Job Club at Community Matters used his learnings and landed a position commensurate with his skills and experience.
- PINs, with support from TRIEC’s The Mentoring Partnership program, helped PINs association Hispanotech in launching their own mentoring program.
Two networking events were scheduled for PINs members in 2015-16.
- Held in November 2015 at Metro Hall with representatives from PINs Partner, Scotiabank, and PINs Leaders as employers, providing advice on networking.
- Held in February 2016 jointly with PINs Partner, Modis Canada, where PINs members had an opportunity to meet with recruiters from the IT industry and learn about trends in the IT industry in 2016 and resume building skills.
PINs also facilitated speaking opportunities for leaders at events organized by TRIEC or other PINs partners.
- Immigrant Talk – an initiative of M-Bridge – has been a platform to showcase PINs leaders, their stories and their work.
- PINs leaders in regulated professions also participated in consultations with the Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) to inform their work with regulatory bodies.
In addition to the above, PINs supported the launch of Volunteer Toronto’s Grassroots Growth project – through which they will develop tools and resources for volunteer-run groups such as PINs associations. PINs leaders were provided the workshop schedule for the upcoming months.
For the next fiscal year, the PINs program will be focusing on these areas:
- Increase outreach activities to promote PINs associations, and also equip others with the tools to promote the PINs program
- Enhance collaboration by fostering better knowledge and skills sharing within the community
- Continue to provide speaking and leadership development opportunities for PINs leaders
Solutions Focused Coaching as a tool for PINs leaders to help their members
Haesun Moon from the Solution Focused Brief Coaching Certificate Program at University of Toronto provided an introduction to solutions focused coaching and how it can be used as a tool to help PINs members. Through an interactive session, Haesun introduced PINs leaders to solutions focused coaching and encouraged participants to think about how this could be applied to their own associations as well as the PINs community.
Here’s what one of the participants had to say about the presentation:
“Solutions focused coaching is a great tool to be utilized at work and in life. Taking on solutions focused dialogue is a good practice when interacting with members and program participants.”
PINs Partner and Sponsor, Scotiabank, talks to PINs leaders about its products and services for their newcomer members
Fabiola Sicard, Director, Multicultural Banking, Scotiabank, gave a short presentation to PINs leaders about its current products available for newcomer members. Scotiabank’s Startright program offers all the help needed to newcomers to make settling in Canada easier for them. Visit www.scotiabank.com/startright to learn more.
PINs leaders learn about resources, best practices and tips that can help support their members
PINs leaders also participated in two rounds of breakout sessions to learn about the best practices and resources available in different topics of interest to them. The sessions were hosted by PINs leaders and were as follows:
- Employer Engagement, hosted by Emiliano Mendez, Latin American MBA Alumni Network (LAMBA): PINs leaders learned about how to connect and engage with employers. Emiliano shared his own tips on approaching employers for sponsorship and leveraging existing contacts already at organizations to facilitate a connection.
- Marketing and Outreach, hosted by Gerard Keledjian, New Canadian Media Professionals’ Network (NCMP): Gerard spoke to PINs leaders about marketing their associations to potential members and employers. Leaders learned about the benefits of connecting with media and attending outreach events in raising awareness of their association.
- Staying Relevant for Members, hosted by Elizabeth Mansouri, Leadership in Project Management (LPMN): Keeping members engaged with the association was identified as a key challenge by PINs leaders. Elizabeth shared the importance of demonstrating the association’s commitment to members and staying connected with them continually as key to keeping them engaged.
- Employment Support for Members, hosted by Miguel Abascal, Unstoppableme.ca: Miguel explained how his 90-day game plan can help members network develop a strategy for gaining employment and staying focused on advancing in their careers. He also shared tips and techniques on how members can build and maintain their professional connections.