As I approach my last day as Executive Director of TRIEC, I find myself reflecting back on where it all began. It was September 11 2003, and the excitement in the meeting room at Manulife Financial that day was palpable. Three federal ministers, corporate executives, college presidents, and leaders from all sectors had come together through the then Toronto City Summit Alliance (now CivicAction) with one purpose: to convene the Toronto Region to find solutions to better connect skilled immigrants to the right jobs more quickly.
We knew then, as we know now, that skilled immigrants make a vital contribution to our economy, and our future competitiveness and prosperity is tied to how well we include them in the labour market. My involvement in TRIEC since that first day has been a remarkable journey working towards that goal.
We have seen leaders from across sectors come together to identify where and how they and their institutions could act, adopt new strategies and forge new relationships. From mentoring to professional immigrant networks, awareness campaigns to employer awards, employer workshops to roadmaps, and from policy options to systemic change, TRIEC has been able to make inroads and progress on complex challenges because of these leaders and partnerships.
At its core, TRIEC has been a catalyst for bringing ideas to fruition. As the executive director it has been my privilege to help shape these ideas, lead the discussions and negotiations that have resulted in tangible programs and opportunities for immigrants, and share the story of the Toronto Region’s success in immigrant inclusion with other cities and countries. And so it is both with pride and sadness that I have made the decision to hand TRIEC over to its next chapter of leadership.
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincerest thanks to all the corporate and community partners, leaders, volunteers, mentors, network leaders, sponsors and funders, who have made the successes of TRIEC possible.
To the council co-chairs, Gord Nixon and Zabeen Hirji of RBC, the TRIEC Board of Directors, and the Maytree Foundation, which seeded TRIEC and helped it to grow, thank you for your leadership and trust in the work of the organization. In particular, a special thank you to Ratna Omidvar, the Chair of the Board and founder of TRIEC, and President of the Maytree Foundation, whose leadership, conviction in the mission of TRIEC and high ambitions for what could be done, have made so much possible.
To the staff of TRIEC, a very special thank you. They are the ones who take the ideas and transform them into the opportunities and outcomes that make a difference. It is their commitment, dedication and focus that have set the bar so high for everything we do.
And finally, and most importantly, to each and every immigrant who has participated in our programs, shared their story, provided advice, seeded new ideas, and helped us to understand how we can be useful and make a difference – thank you.
It is my sincerest belief that TRIEC is well positioned to further its mission as a catalyst for new ideas, and will continue to generate solutions that work for immigrants and for the Toronto Region.
All the best,
Elizabeth will begin her new role as Executive Researcher, Not-for-profit Sector Policy at the Mowat Centre, School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto, in June 2012.