As we continue to celebrate outstanding women and discuss gender equity issues beyond International Women’s Day, TRIEC’s Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs) program hosted an event titled “Celebrating Inspiring Journeys: Immigrant Women’s Path to Leadership and Personal Empowerment” on March 26, 2024.

The event featured dynamic and insightful panel discussions, moderated by Preet Kiran Sandhu, Manager, Employer and Stakeholder Relations at TRIEC. The panel included Alma Arzate, Senior Director, Global Supply Chain Logistics at Apotex Inc.; Danielle Chen, Honorary President of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications Canada Alumni Association, which is a TRIEC PINs association; and Miryam Lazarte, CEO of Global Startups Accelerator.

The panelists shared their journeys as immigrant women leaders in Canada and insights on important topics such as navigating professional and cultural barriers, building a personal brand, and overcoming imposter syndrome.

In a video shown during the event, TRIEC’s CEO Gillian Mason shared that “at TRIEC, we are spearheading initiatives that amplify awareness about the vital roles that women play in both our workplaces and in our communities”, adding that “collaboration lies at the heart of our approach. We partner with organizations dedicated to women’s equity and employment which in turn expands our efforts and magnifies their impacts.”

Event learnings included discussion of various strategies immigrant women can apply to effectively navigate professional and cultural barriers. Firstly, cultivating self-confidence is crucial. This involves recognizing one’s abilities and strengths, while also acknowledging areas for growth. Secondly, rather than trying to persuade others to collaborate, focusing on individual contributions and letting actions speak louder can be advantageous. It’s essential to set oneself apart in the workplace by showcasing qualities such as a drive for results, perseverance in pursuing goals, and trust in one’s skills and abilities. By consistently delivering strong results, immigrant women can confidently advocate for themselves and secure a place at decision-making tables.

Building a personal brand can be a powerful tool for professional advancement. This may begin by conducting a thorough self-assessment, which involves seeking feedback from peers, colleagues, and supervisors to identify strengths, skills, and unique perspectives. Once strengths are identified, setting clear and authentic goals and visions is essential. Crafting compelling content that aligns with one’s personal brand is great for visibility. In addition, networking plays a crucial role, including participation in relevant events, connecting with like-minded individuals, and embracing opportunities for public speaking. Having mentors tailored to different stages of one’s journey provides invaluable guidance. Lastly, prioritizing continuous learning and investing in professional development ensures ongoing growth.

Moreover, actionable advice was provided for overcoming imposter syndrome. This involves mastering the courage to speak up and find one’s voice, particularly for women who face unique challenges in earning respect and advancing their careers. Despite initial discomfort, consistently speaking up gradually enhances confidence and effectiveness over time. Discovering the power of their voices through practice in safe environments helps immigrant women communicate more authentically and consistently, regardless of whom they’re speaking to or where they are in their careers.

The panelists also each offered one key piece of advice to guide immigrant women on their path to leadership:

  1. Recognizing the importance of making their talents and achievements more visible.
  2. Engaging in volunteer work within the community to expand networks and develop leadership skills.
  3. Preparing for success by surrounding oneself with supportive individuals who can offer guidance and support in reaching the next step of their career journey.

Other highlights of the event included recognizing the invaluable contribution from the event organizing committee. The committee was made up of PINs women leaders, including Citlalli Rios, Vice President of Hispanotech; Ximena Berecochea, Co-Founder of the Institute for Creative Exchange; Angela Buitrago, Board Member of the Latin Project Management Network (LPMN); Zinnia Abbas Bookwala, President of Networking Group for New Immigrants in Canada; and Veronica Seeto, Board Member of Winning Inclusive Solutions (WINS).

This event received overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees. They expressed feeling inspired and motivated to step out of their comfort zones, with one participant specifically noting the identification with panelists from similar cultural backgrounds, which served as a source of inspiration. Many first-time attendees were impressed by the representation of talented professionals and immigrants succeeding in Canada, expressing eagerness to participate in similar future events. Overall, the event participants were highly satisfied with increased knowledge of leadership and personal empowerment. As one newcomer described, “I’m glad to be here. As a newcomer to Canada, I know that I have to work hard to showcase my skills and talent. Connecting to this group is one of the best things to happen to me. I’m happy to connect with you all.”

For more information about this event or to learn more about TRIEC PINs, please email Celia Huang at