Our LYP series titled “Stories from Successful Immigrant Women” features women from diverse backgrounds and industries who share powerful insights and advice they have learnt from building their careers in a new country.
To kick off the series, I had a chat with Leticia Sanchez, and this was one conversation that turned into a mentoring session, and I am sure everyone will enjoy reading it, regardless of if you are an immigrant or not.
Q1: What's your story and professional journey as an immigrant to Canada?
A1: I emigrated from Mexico to Canada some years back.After completing my education in Mexico City, I made the life-altering decision to relocate to Canada, with the invaluable support of my brother. Upon arrival, I faced the challenge of building a professional network from the ground up, compounded by the fact that I didn't speak English at the time. To sustain myself, I took on various roles, including eight years in a factory and several odd jobs. However, my determination to secure a better future was unwavering. My breakthrough came when I enrolled in the LYP program, which opened the doors to a more promising career path. Within a month, I found a rewarding position at a reputable company, and I've cherished my journey with them ever since. Over five years, I've continually advanced my professional capabilities, culminating in my current role as a Customer Operations Manager for a company specializing in the distribution of dry grains and fruits.
Q2: How did you arrive at your current career role, and what significant principles have you learned from your journey?
A2: My educational background is rooted in accounting, and I initially believed that an accounting career was my destined path. However, my relocation to Canada prompted me to consider other options to cover my living expenses, which led me to diverse odd jobs—a situation I hadn't anticipated given my accounting background. Nevertheless, I remained steadfast in my pursuit, driven by the unwavering desire to create a better life for myself.
To navigate the transition, I sought the guidance of a career coach in 2017, realizing that returning to accounting was not the best fit for me. While working as an accountant, I concurrently engaged in volunteer work, networking, and job seeking opportunities. It was through this journey that I had an epiphany—my experience in factory operations could pave the way for a career in supply chain.
Participating in the LYP program broadened my horizons to various possibilities. It wasn't long before I seized an opportunity as a logistics coordinator, a role that harmonized my academic background with the Canadian experience I had accumulated from working in a factory and other experiences. Thriving in this position relied on my unrelenting commitment to learning and succeeding, despite financial and time constraints that precluded further education.
The fundamental lesson I've gleaned from my journey is the significance of unwavering determination. It's essential to define your goals and ardently pursue them, even when faced with daunting challenges. For me, it was about achieving a better quality of life and realizing both personal and professional success. My journey hasn't stagnated; I've continued to bolster my skill set through certifications and learning opportunities like Six Sigma, leadership and management programs, and participation on boards. In essence, my path to my current role has been marked by a deep desire to succeed, adaptability, and a continuous commitment to growth.
Q3: What principles have been most useful for your career development?
A3: For me, the most valuable principles in my career development are a relentless desire to achieve my goals, maintaining a positive mindset, and unwavering perseverance. As an immigrant, the journey can be challenging and rarely linear, but having a strong drive to pursue your career goals, combined with a positive and resilient attitude, can make a significant difference. The power of positive thinking cannot be underestimated, as it often aligns with the "law of attraction," where our thoughts can shape our reality. When faced with moments of doubt and potential setbacks, a positive mindset helps navigate those tough seasons and reminds us to keep moving forward.
Stay tuned for part 2 where Leticia shares on how lessons she has learnt from failing as she built a brand new career in Canada.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adetola Oladimeji is a medical doctor and a global health leader who is deeply interested in the use of digital health technologies for optimizing population health outcomes. She is committed to lifelong learning, continuous personal development, and intentional community building. Check out her research and other publications here.