In honour of Women’s History Month, we are thrilled to shine a spotlight on Felisha Ali, a dedicated Learning and Development Specialist committed to career development and project planning. Felisha is a ten-time mentor in the TRIEC Mentoring Partnership program. Her connection with her mentees is deeply rooted in her own experiences as an immigrant in Canada and firmly established through her personal journey.
I wanted an opportunity to provide new immigrants with the knowledge to navigate the workforce here in Canada. I also needed something to fit my personality and strengths. I learned about TRIEC through their affiliation with the organization I work for.
Can you tell us about your career journey as an immigrant woman in Canada?
I came to Canada as a permanent resident, and soon after arriving, I was a new college student. I was fortunate to find a part-time job on campus. The individual who hired me turned out to be an amazing mentor. She taught me how to navigate the college system and the Canadian workforce. I always felt like I had to work twice as hard as most colleagues to prove myself. But I had a genuine love for each role, and by maintaining a positive attitude and devoting myself 100%, I excelled.
Despite more women breaking the glass ceiling, many immigrant women are often underemployed. How have you been able to overcome these challenges to be successful in your own career?
With my commitment to lifelong learning, I pursued various learning opportunities, including training as a career development professional. Using my expertise in career development allowed me to secure various roles where I could utilize my knowledge and skills in adult education pedagogy, project management, accounting, and educational leadership. It was certainly not an easy road; however, with drive and dedication, I created my own opportunities.
How has being a TRIEC Mentor helped you become a leader in your community?
Being a TRIEC mentor provides me the opportunity to be a role model and a teacher to my mentees. Personally, I’ve grown a lot since becoming a mentor. For example, my communication skills have progressed significantly, mainly thanks to my interactions with unique individuals with remarkable skills and perspectives. My experience of being a mentor taught me the importance of active listening. I learned to provide a safe space to make them feel understood and heard. I continue to apply these lessons to all aspects of my life. I can be a leader in my community as an advisor, a coach, a challenger, and an affirmer.
What advice would you give to immigrant women seeking to advance into leadership roles in Canada?
Do your research! Learn about the labour market in your industry and thoroughly read through job postings of interest to identify any requirements needed. Upgrade your skills to meet those requirements or to re-certify in your profession. Seek out communities, associations, or programs that provide access to current and relevant resources, a safe space where you can share your needs and aspirations and build a network of quality, like-minded allies, and connections.
Are you looking a volunteer opportunity to give back to your professional community? We are recruiting professionals in several occupations to mentor newcomers. Find out more and how to apply here.