Global Talent Conference 2020: Succeeding Professionally in Canada

The 10th Edmonton Global Talent Conference drew an impressive gathering of 257 of the best and the brightest, internationally educated professionals at the Fantasyland Hotel & Conference Centre on Monday, February 24th, 2020.

ERIEC’s Executive Director and conference host, Doug Piquette, welcomed the gathering and introduced the Honorable Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration who opened the Conference by acknowledging the wealth of experience immigrant newcomers bring to the province and emphasized the provincial governments platform that welcomes internationally trained, skilled and professional talents to the workforce.

Kevin Kleininger, Regional Vice President of RBC and ERIEC’s Board of Director introduced the keynote for this year’s conference theme, Succeeding Professionally in Canada.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Lionel Laroche. Lionel has provided cross-cultural training and coaching services to over 50,000 people in over 15 countries. Dr. Laroche emphasized that most immigrants in Canada think of themselves as generalists and have based their career search accordingly. He stated that this approach yields limited results because of the fact that Canada is country of specialists. In his presentation he encouraged the participants to examine the difference between being a specialist from being a generalist and he provided recommendations in order for immigrants to adapt their job search strategy appropriately to the Canadian labour market. Lionel then challenged everyone to modify their approach from a “Jack of all trade, Master of None” to be more focused to their specialized strengths which will eventually lead to better opportunities as professionals in the Canadian labour market.

Dr Laroche, together with Tonya Holowitski, Career Services Advisor with CPA (Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta) facilitated a Coffee Talk with Adam Oszuer and Abdul Mohammed. Both Adam and Abdul are graduates of ERIEC’s Career Mentorship Programs and shared their mentee stories and various lessons they’ve learned and experienced in their career journey. Adam emphasized the importance of networking and staying active in meeting new people. He inspired everyone to smile and leave a lasting good impression to everyone they meet. Abdul highlighted the importance of connecting with people who are associated in a mentees field of interest and the advantages of building relationships and friendships with these individuals. He also stated that it is important to genuinely establish rapport and maintain these personal and professional relationships.

Javier Vinsome, Career and Diversity Advisor with CPA, moderated an interactive and insightful Human Resources panel discussion focusing on perspectives and tips regarding the hiring processes in Canada. The panelists represented a range of different business sectors: Sumira Duggal, Talent Acquisition Advisor for Canadian Western Bank; Craig O’Connor, Talent Acquisition Specialist for nVent; Violet Poon, Human Resource Consultant for Edmonton Human Resource Cluster and Cheryl Probert of River City Recruiting. The panelists shared their experience and knowledge and how professional newcomers should prepare themselves in their professional job search. They all stressed the need for planning and research during the hiring process.

The participants in the 2020 Edmonton Global Talent Conference who responded to the post conference survey, rated the event as Excellent (51%) or Very Good (49%).
The keynote speaker’s level of competency and engagement was rated Excellent (80%) and Very Good (20%).

What participants said: What was the most valuable thing you learned today?
• “You must identify yourself as a specialist and not as a generalist”
• “I need to develop my soft skills!”
• “I must have a Mentor in my career journey and need to prepare different resumes during my job search for each position I apply for”.
• “I must be good at research, and to be current in when it comes to current news and opportunities”.
• “Network building is important! One needs to be ready to change, adapt to change, be a team player and be creative and innovative”
• “Learning what is the meaning of ‘Canadian experience’ from the employer’s point of view”
• “The realization even though companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that in many cases there are still real people looking at our resumes”.

In addition to the survey, we received many ‘thank you’ emails and messages. One comment from a participant said, “The information and messaging from the keynote today was really mind-blowing and revolutionary. In my own opinion, there is no one across the length and breadth of Canada that has broken down the complexities of immigrants’ job search like Dr. Laroche!”.
We would like to thank this year’s deluxe corporate sponsor, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), as well as EMCN (Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers) and Bredin Centre for Learning for their sponsorship contributions and special thanks to all the exhibitors who showcased their services at this year’s Conference Marketplace, to all the participants, community partners and volunteers for helping us to make the 10th Edmonton Global Talent Conference a success.