“I'm thankful I had a sponsor who was willing to invest his time in me.”
Imagine arriving in a country for the first time without a job or family connections. This is the reality for many newcomers to Canada, including Zeshan Saghir. He moved to Canada from Saudi Arabia but struggled to find employment. Zeshan felt isolated. “My biggest challenges coming to Canada were building my network and getting my skills recognized. Even though I had a bachelor’s degree in accounting, many employers required a Canadian professional designation,” he says.
Zeshan was persistent and studied for his chartered professional accountant (CPA) designation. He also learned about The Mentoring Partnership provided by one of CIBC’s partner organizations, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) Opens in a new window.. The Mentoring Partnership connects skilled immigrants with established Canadian professionals. Through this program Zeshan met his mentor, a senior manager in Internal Audit at CIBC.
Zeshan’s mentor helped him better understand Canadian corporate culture, and together they worked on his resumé and interview skills. “I learned a lot about myself and gained confidence. I was very excited about CIBC as it was a close-knit work environment, which seemed to be a really a good fit for me.”
In 2015, after Zeshan earned his CPA designation, his mentor helped him land a role in Internal Audit at CIBC. The mentoring relationship continued and eventually flourished into a friendship. “It was a very natural relationship. I was able to learn all about the business, talk about my challenges, and ask for advice. Through the experience, my mentor became my friend and I'm thankful I had a sponsor who was willing to invest his time in me.”
Zeshan believes an inclusive workplace helps employees thrive in their roles.
“I work on a team with people from many different backgrounds. This adds a lot of value because you get different perspectives, new ways of thinking, and it challenges you. Ultimately it helps us to better serve our clients.”
Zeshan is passionate about carrying on the spirit of giving back. He became a mentor for TRIEC within 3 months of joining the bank and has mentored 3 newcomers himself. “Mentoring is important for me because I feel I have a lot to give. I want to connect and help others, too.”
For other newcomers searching for employment in Canada, Zeshan offers this advice: “The most important thing is to build your connections with others and to take advantage of different networking opportunities, like TRIEC.”