It’s Been an Excellent Wave

by Jill Chesley

Well, I’m writing this on my last day of work at ERIEC. The last few days have been full of well-wishes coming my way from mentors, mentees, board members, colleagues and others. I’m going out on a wave of positive vibes!

I’ve been at ERIEC for 2 years plus a day, and it’s been an excellent wave. For me, the crest of the wave was working with the dozens of talented, intelligent, experienced, educated, hopeful and absolutely lovely women and men from all over the world – our mentees.  I first got to know them through their resumes when they applied to the Career Mentorship Program. I saw that folks with MAs and PhDs were working at grocery stores, liquor stores, and many were working as cleaners or security guards. It was hard on my heart.

Then I met the mentees, worked with them and attended ERIEC’s Intercultural Workshops with them – and I got to know them. I heard about the highs – finding work in their fields, and I heard about the lows – 2,3,4 or more years in Canada and still looking, waiting for that one employer to take a chance and hire someone different.  My colleagues at ERIEC and I shared in their excitement and their disappointment and frustration. This was definitely the low point on the wave.

Aaron from TD Canada Trust and Anani, Finance, from Togo via France at their Graduation

Then life continued and the wave would crest again when the mentors joined us, believing in their mentees –mentors demonstrated their belief with their time, their expertise, their hearts, their networks, their encouragement and their support.  There was no better moment in this job than when I got to watch mentors and mentees meet for the first time! Well, maybe except for the Graduation celebration.

Graduation was never hard on my heart!

And so I leave with my heart full and a fair amount of optimism that Edmonton can grow more fully into a community that welcomes the incoming waves of newcomers and diversity with open arms – socially and economically.

So on that note, I’ll leave you with this wonderful quotation I saw recently on Facebook:

… what keeps the earth turning are the thousands of immigrants walking to new destinations every day, pushing the planet around and around with their millions of footsteps.

Author unknown, Prudential Tower, Boston

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