Smart Connections

Smart Connect LogoERIEC is dedicated to ensuring immigrants are welcomed and participate in the economy to their full potential. Foreign-trained, experienced professionals now making the Edmonton region their home want to contribute their skills to our economy – but many lack the local knowledge needed for a successful job search.  ERIEC provides a unique and effective bridge between employers’ labour needs and globally trained new residents so they can work to their full potential.

SmartConnections is a model which helps Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) in creating sustainable career paths, whether within or outside their field of expertise. ERIEC usually offers these sessions once or twice a year.  This 3 hour event:

  • Increases IEPs knowledge of specialized sector-specific Canadian workplace opportunities;
  • Connects them directly to employer representatives from the local labour market who present the skills required to succeed in the sector;
  • Enables low ratio discussion and self assessment of core competencies needed for success in the sector;
  • Provides vital skills about how to repackage themselves to find and apply for a successful alternate/temporary career path while pursuing re-certification.

SmartConnections assists IEPs to find employment at a level commensurate with their skills and experience while providing social benefits through increased economic stability for their families.

Employers benefit from connecting with some of the international talent currently available in Edmonton and the global perspectives these professionals can bring to our market place.

This is a fantastic learning and networking event hosted by ERIEC at no charge and is open to internationally educated professionals with any background (Permanent Residents and Canadian Citizens)!

Smart Connections September 26, 2019

When: Thursday, September 26th 2019
Time: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm (Program starts at 9:00 am)
Where: Matrix Hotel, 10640 100 Avenue, Edmonton Alberta

This is a fantastic learning and networking opportunity at no cost and is open to internationally educated professionals with any background (Permanent Residents and Canadian Citizens).

Objective: Discussion on alternative career paths for Internationally Educated Professionals with background in Engineering, Science, Environment, Project Management, Health Care and more.

Discussion Topics:
Working in Project Management: A Growth Opportunity
From Global Engineer to Canadian Engineer
Life Sciences in Alberta
BioTech Industry in Alberta
Cannabis – Canada’s New Careers


COLIN KNOLL is a business specialist with various experience in industries such as oil & gas, financial services, environmental services, business and municipal government. Currently, Colin is a Director of Strategy at Firma Foreign Exchange, a financial services company, and he also operates his own consulting company specializing in business consulting for business clients and startups. Colin is an active member serving his community, as a Director at the Project Management Institute of Northern Alberta and as a mentor to professional immigrants through the ERIEC’s Career Mentorship Program. Colin holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary, is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP).

CLAUDIA GOMEZ-VILLENEUVE is a popular corporate speaker and university trainer specializing in Project Management, Engineering Studies and Gender Inclusion. Claudia’s passion is to explain complex concepts with positivism and creativity. In 2019 APEGA, the Association of Engineers and Geoscientist of Alberta, awarded her and the rest of the CCWESTT 2018 Conference team the APEGA Summit Award as Champions of Women in Engineering and Geoscience.

MARTHA VEGA-SMITH is a seasoned Career Coach with most clients being international educated professionals (IEPs). She supports others in their career advancement by combining a deep sense of empathy and knowledge that comes from her own path as immigrant, female engineer, and someone who’s struggled with depression. Over her 18-year career as a Pipeline Integrity Professional in Canada, she has mentored and / or coached more than 50 engineering professionals, and supported many Diversity and Inclusion workplace initiatives. In 2012 the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN) awarded her the RISE Award for Individual Achievement for demonstrating leadership and innovation in integrating IEPs in the workplace.

ROBB STODDARD has focused most of his career on working with organizations to fundamentally change the way they do business using technology. As co-founder of a successful consultancy, Robb has worked with health and technology companies of all sizes to build and execute business development plans and engagement strategies and advocate for policy and regulatory changes at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. He has also led business transformation initiatives as a former Corporate Chief Information Officer and Chief Strategist for the Alberta Government. Currently, Robb is applying this experience to Alberta’s life sciences industry as Manager, Memberships and Partnerships with BioAlberta.

CATALINA VASQUEZ is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Nanostics Inc. and the former Program Director for the Alberta Prostate Cancer Research Initiative (APCaRI), where she coordinated the translational goals of the team. She was also the lead at the Prostate Cancer Registry and Biorepository in Edmonton, Alberta. Prior to coming to Alberta, she served as Project Manager for Investigator Initiated Trials with the Lawson Health Research Institute at the London Health Sciences Centre, and as Laboratory Manager in Dr. John Lewis’ laboratory at Western University. Ms. Vasquez earned her MSc. in Medical Biophysics at Western University in 2011, and a post-graduate title in Food Microbiology and Quality Assurance and her BSc. in Microbiology and Medical Laboratory Science in Medellin, Colombia.

JESSE CHEETHAM is the Vice President, Human Resources at Fire & Flower Inc. holding a Certified Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation and is an honors graduate of the Bachelor of Management, Human Resource Management & Labour Relations program from the University of Lethbridge. Prior to joining Fire & Flower, Jesse was the Director of Employee Services at Peavey Industries LP, an agricultural retailer with 100 locations across Canada recognized by the prestigious Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures Award. Mr. Cheetham also held executive HR management positions with Skechers across Western Canada and the United States. He is an advocate for building organizations through checking ego at the door and creating a safe environment for unique people to bring unique talents.

This 3 hour event provides vital skills about how to repackage yourself to leverage your career!

Frequently Asked Questions:
What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?
Parking is challenging downtown so we encourage you to use the Edmonton Public Transportation. Matrix Hotel is located only one block south of Corona Station.
Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?
No, you do not need to bring your ticket.
Dress Code is business casual.
Registration starts at 8:00 and the program – at 9:00 am.
Please note there will be no breakfast served, just light refreshments.
We look forward to seeing you there!

For the previous Smart Connection events, please click the links below: