Gobinder Gill To Be Keynote Speaker At Vancouver Immigrant Expo


VANCOUVER – Everyyear, thousands of immigrantsarrive in Metro Vancouver withgreat ambitions for their family’sfuture. However, many ofthem face culture shock aboutthe realities of Canadian living— from obtaining employmentto getting settled into day-to-daylife. Canadian Immigrant magazineis hosting a free immigrantexpo to help newcomers gaininformation and inspiration tosucceed.The Career, Education andSettlement Fair will take placeon Monday, December 16,2013, at the Vancouver PublicLibrary, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.Along with various exhibitorbooths, including colleges, settlementagencies and employers,there will be several interactive,speakers’ workshops.Renowneddiversity expert and bestsellingauthor Gobinder Gill will offera keynote address on the “8 KeySteps to Getting Hired.”Gill was born and raisedon a picturesque farm in India’snorthern Punjab state, but immigratedto Canada at just eightyears old under tragic circumstances.“My mother and fatherdied, and I essentially becamean orphan,” he says. “My relativesagreed to take care of me,so I immigratedto Canada to livewith my aunt. I rememberthinkingthat everythingwould be fineonce I got to Vancouver,but thatwasn’t the case.”Without anyknowledge of theEnglish language,Gill was shunnedand taunted by hisCanadian cousins.“I was not acceptedat homefor a number ofdifferent reasons,”he says. Schoolproved to be nodifferent. “HereI was, this littlekid trying to dealwith the loss ofmy parents, myculture — everythingI had everknown — and Iwas thrust into atotally foreign environment andexpected to fend for myself. Isuffered all kinds of abuse —you name it, I experienced it.”A determined optimist witha strong work ethic, he ignoredthe people who told him that hewould amount to nothing. Instead,he followed his vision andpursued his dream of a career inthe media, and landed a job inradio. “My skin was stillbrown and my English wasn’tperfect,” he says. “On top of allthat, I was very shy and nervous,but I had these goals that I wasdetermined to fulfill. It was almostlike life was so bad, I hadno choice. I used to have to tellmyself, ‘You’re going to succeed,no matter what.’ After all, whatdid I really have to lose?”After working in radiofor several years, Gill movedover to television, researchingand reporting stories for a halfhourCBC program called Diversity.His next career move tookhim to print, writing a weeklysyndicated column for MetroValley Newspapers on business,cultural diversity and other issuesinvolving ethnic communitiesin the Lower Mainland andbeyond. As a freelancer, he alsowrote about diversity issues forthe Vancouver Sun.But Gill considers hismost recent line of work to behis most important. As founderof Diversity Training Inc.and author of a book entitledAchieving Prosperity throughDiversity, Gill provides cultural-awareness training for businessesand other organizationsthrough private consultations,public-speaking engagements,seminars and workshops. Healso teaches immigrant integrationat BCIT, which has helpedhim develop his speech “8 KeySteps to Getting Hired.”“Helping newcomerssucceed is a particular passionof mine, since a lot of the issuesthey are dealing with I’ve beenthrough myself,” he says.In addition to Gill’s keynote,the fair will also feature an interactiveAccent Reduction Workshopwith expert Andy Krieger,who has helped the likes ofJackie Chan reduce his accentfor Hollywood film roles.Other highlights includean onsite resumé clinic run byImmigrant Services Society ofB.C., where attendees can seekone-on-one help on how towrite Canadian-style resumés.There will also be speed mentoringsessions to help newcomersget some face-to-face advice ontopics like starting a small businessand as careers in IT, healthcare and marketing, and more.Scotiabank is the presentingsponsor of the fair, and Raj Uppal,Scotiabank branch manager,49th and Fraser, will also bespeaking on the topic of financialliteracy for newcomers. Otherspeakers include Afshan Basariafrom Back in Motion whowill talk about making the mostof your foreign credentials, andemployment counsellor Silvia DiBlasio, who will talk about strategicvolunteering.For more information, see canadianimmigrant.ca/careerfair/Vancouver.