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Empowering Immigrant Career Transitions: From Speech Pathology to Finance – Andrea D’Souza’s Inspiring Journey

For many individuals, immigrating to a new country often involves not just a change of location but also a change in careers. Andrea D’Souza’s journey is a testament to the adaptability and determination of immigrants in Canada. Having moved from the Middle East to Canada, she transitioned from her career as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) to a Partnership Liaison in the finance industry. In this insightful interview, Andrea shares her experiences and the invaluable insights she’s gained during her career transition.

A Purpose-Driven Transition

Andrea’s career shift wasn’t merely driven by a change of scenery. Her deep-rooted commitment to helping fellow immigrants played a pivotal role in her transition. When she first moved to Canada, she recognized the challenges that newcomers face and wanted to make a difference in their lives. This led her to Windmill Microlending, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to assisting immigrants and refugees.

The Role of a Partnership Liaison

In her current role as a Partnership Liaison, Andrea offers one-on-one support to clients who come through Windmill’s partner organizations. Her responsibilities include providing clients with insights into the services offered by Windmill, assisting them in creating job bank profiles, helping them understand the Canadian financial system, and connecting them with various educational institutions to achieve their career goals. Her background in speech pathology prepared her for this role in a unique way.

Transferrable Skills from Speech Pathology

The skills Andrea honed as an SLP, particularly patience and active listening, have been immensely valuable in her role as a Partnership Liaison. While the clients she assists share the immigrant journey, each individual’s experience is unique. Her capacity to listen and understand their specific personal and professional barriers enables her to create personalized pathways for their success.

Navigating Challenges

One challenge Andrea faced was understanding the Canadian financial system, as it differs significantly from what she was accustomed to in the Middle East. Learning about credit scores and interest rates in Canada allowed her to impart this knowledge to her clients effectively. Her familiarity with the financial sector’s nuances in Canada is now a valuable asset.

Staying Informed in the Finance Industry

Despite her non-traditional background in finance, Andrea keeps herself updated on industry trends through various platforms, including social media, where many financial institutions share informative posts targeting newcomers. She also actively participates in information sessions on financial literacy. Windmill, her employer, provides resources on financial literacy that she utilizes to stay well-informed.

Fulfillment in the Current Career

Andrea finds a sense of satisfaction in both her previous career as an SLP and her current role as a Partnership Liaison. In both cases, she goes home knowing she has made a difference in someone’s life, whether by helping individuals communicate or by guiding newcomers towards realizing their Canadian dreams.

Advice for Career Transition

To those contemplating a similar career shift, Andrea offers valuable advice. She underscores the importance of putting pride aside and understanding that starting anew might be necessary. “Embrace a career that resonates with you and make use of the resources provided by settlement agencies, even if you think they don’t directly relate to you. These agencies can help newcomers adopt a Canadian mindset and start building their professional network.” – Andrea

The Future of Andrea’s Career

Andrea’s current role is a transitional one, as she aspires to return to school full-time to become a Counselling Psychologist, with a focus on mental health. Nevertheless, her commitment to working with immigrants remains constant, and she hopes to continue supporting newcomers, no matter her career path. Windmill Microlending holds a special place in her heart, and she’ll always advocate for its mission.

Valuable Resources for Immigrants

Throughout her journey, Andrea has encountered and been in touch with various valuable resources and professional networks. These include organizations like Directions for Immigrants, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS), Immigrant Services Calgary, Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA), Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC), and more. The resources available on the IRCC newcomers guide can also be extremely beneficial to immigrants seeking support and guidance in their careers.

Andrea D’Souza’s story is a testament to the power of determination, empathy, and adaptability. Her journey from speech pathology to the finance industry is not just a personal transformation but also a beacon of hope for immigrants seeking to make a meaningful career transition in Canada.

Andrea D’Souza

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