Ana Peniche was a mentee in the 2017 cohort of the Collaborative Mentorship Program launched by Hispanotech. She talks about her experience in the program, how it helped her find success in her career, and why mentoring is useful for newcomers to Canada.
I grew up in Mexico City, where I spent 5 years in Law School training to be a trademark lawyer, while at the same time working part-time as a law clerk. Right after completing law school, my then fiancé, now husband, was offered to be transferred to Canada by his company. They had a sister company in Burlington and needed an engineer with his skills. I was supportive and on board right from the start. I thought I would come to Canada and pick my law career right from where I left in Mexico. I was wrong, young and naïve! That was 8 years ago.
Upon arriving in Canada, I contacted every single law firm I could find in the yellow pages, requesting an interview. Some replied thanking me for my interest, but most didn’t respond back to me. After months of unfruitful job hunting in the law field, I knew I had to change my strategy. I thought about the skills I had that could be marketable. I started looking for jobs that needed Spanish speaking individuals and finally landed a job as a business administrator in a multinational IT company.
It was a good job, and I was happy there for six years. After a while though, I wanted to go back into the law field, or something related to it, and so I enrolled in a Master’s program in International Business Law. Once I finished, I realized I had no idea of what I wanted to do or how or where I could fit in the job market. I had a law background From Mexico, administration experience in Canada, and a Master’s Degree in Business Law, but I was not qualified to practice as a lawyer. The question then became – how can I tie all this together?
That is when I heard about the mentorship program at Hispanotech and decided to give it a try. I had never had a mentor nor been in a mentoring program before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was matched with an amazing Data Governance professional who helped me clean up my resume, practice for interviews and tie all my academic and professional experience. We dived deep into what my strengths and weaknesses were, and explored opportunities in the job market that not only could be appealing to me but also where I could be considered a skilled candidate. That’s when we narrowed the search to Compliance.
By the end of the program, I was sure of what I wanted and confident that I had all the tools to be successful. After completing the things started falling into place. I applied to one position, went to a panel interview and got the job right away. Today, I am a Senior Manager for the Conduct Risk Office in the compliance department of a Canadian-based multinational bank.
Hispanotech was valuable in connecting me with an amazing mentor that I am today proud to call my friend. I was given invaluable guidance that played a key role in advancing my career. In my opinion, immigrant professionals should definitely consider joining a professional association, like Hispanotech, to build their network and find important resources for their career. They should also consider mentoring as it’s a great way to get advice from an experienced professional in Canada, who can guide them along their path.
Click on this link to find a PINs association for you – http://triec.ca/pins/directory