Stella Igweamaka: A Mentee and Connectee Story

The Career Mentorship Program (CMP) matches newcomer immigrant professionals (mentees) in the Edmonton region with established professionals and local business leaders/employers (mentors) who share a similar occupational background and creates networks through real-life connections and experience.

Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” John Crosby

“This couldn’t be truer for me as a new immigrant, seeking to make Canada my new home and navigating the career journey that comes with new territories.”, says Internationally Educated Professional, Stella Igweamaka.

Stella is a Market Research professional who is originally from Nigeria and a participant in the Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council (ERIEC) Career Mentorship Program. This is her story.

“I had so many fears and emotions well up in me, as my family and I moved to Edmonton Canada, one of which was the fear of finding and continuing my career journey in a field and industry I was so passionate about.”, she recounts.

“These fears were abated as I listened during a newcomer orientation session held by ERIEC, where the career mentorship program was mentioned as a platform for new immigrants to learn about the work culture and behaviour in their new home, Canada.”

“I considered this as an incredible platform because, at that moment, nothing could be more impactful than talking with someone in similar or same industry, who could guide me and provide the right push as I navigate my career journey”, she recalls.

“Not long after the orientation session, I was matched to Lawrence Adekunle, a seasoned Business Development Leader and a fantastic mentor in the ERIEC Career Mentorship Program. Asides from the fact that Lawrence and I were from the same country, which helped in building a faster connection, he could relate with the challenges new immigrants faced and had the right words for each occasion. Lawrence was very instrumental in ensuring that I highlighted all my wins and achievements on my resume, by driving home the fact that “A win is a win anywhere, regardless of the location!”

“Despite having worked over 7 years in the market research industry with some reputable companies in Nigeria, I still somewhat doubted my capabilities and strengths, especially having to navigate a new clime. However, I am glad that I had Lawrence as a guide, encouraging and pushing me in the right direction. I recall one of his favourite sayings to me was, ‘You can be anything you want to be in Canada’. What empowering advice.

These statements, along with the several resume/interview preps truly boosted her confidence level going into interviews and then landed her first desired role in Canada with a research firm- Pivotal Research Inc., as a Research Analyst before proceeding to work with a US Based consumer insights company, Perksy as a Senior Market Research Manager, 9 months later.

“On May 7, 2022, after a year of virtual mentorship sessions, Lawrence and I met in-person at the Joey’s Restaurant, celebrating both our ‘wins and growth’. I need to say this, no meeting with Lawrence ever leaves you the same, so I came prepared with my notepad!”, she remembers.

“My sincere appreciation goes to Lawrence, an extraordinary mentor, and to the Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council (ERIEC) for the Career Mentorship Program, which I immensely benefited from”.

“I also appreciate and acknowledge the assistance of Sarah Tangan, April Zhang, Caterina Vaduva, all of whom in the words of the famous actress Whoopi Goldberg stated, ‘threw torches out’ to lead me in my career journey here in Canada”.

If you are an immigrant professional, Permanent Resident, currently in Edmonton, and interested in ERIEC’s Mentorship and/or Connector Program, please contact [email protected]

If you are an established professional or business leader looking to volunteer as a mentor or establish corporate partnerships, please contact the Program Director – Sarah Tangan at [email protected]