President Ana introduced our two speakers this morning.
 
Thandi Nkole (said as Tandy eNkolay) is a Quality Improvement Specialist Lean Six Sigma yellow belt by profession with several years of work experience in health, manufacturing, education and the non for profit sector. She’s been in Kingston for 8 years and is an alumna of Queen’s University, Health Care Quality program. Thandi also holds a prior degree in Parasitology from the University of Zambia. Thandi was also an Interactor during her high school years in Zambia.
She is passionate about quality and equity and enjoys working with teams and implementing new initiatives. She was also the first participant in Newcomers Empowering Business Collaborative Conversations, partnering with HARS (HIV/Aids Regional Services) help them initiate a health and safety policy. She now works at KEYS to help implement the Workplace Inclusion Charter.
Carla Arias had connections to the Rotary club in Bolivia but moved to Kingston in 2016 with her Canadian husband. With a Bachelors in Business Management and a Masters in Corporate Finance, Carla worked for nearly 25 years in finance in Bolivia. Her positions have included seats on two Boards of Directors, auditing for NGOs, United Nation projects and other institutions, Senior Auditor of Price Waterhouse Coopers Bolivia, and CFO of Ernst & Young Bolivia.
After moving to Kingston, Carla found work as a financial clerk and volunteered at ISKA (Immigrant Services of Kingston and Area) to help newcomers with tax returns.  Rather than continue to seek local jobs in finance, she has felt a desire to be involved in community work and is passionate about helping newcomers in Kingston. Through her own experience as well as volunteer work and personal interactions, she is very sensitive to the needs and situations of immigrants and refugees in Kingston.
A former client of KEYS, Carla recently completed her training as an intercultural inclusion coach through Newcomers Empowering Business.
Thandi and Carla then took centre stage
 
Carla talked about her personal experiences on being a newcomer to Canada, and Thandi presented information about the different things that KEYS is doing to welcome newcomers to Kingston.
 
Carla came to Canada just over 3 years ago with her daughter, and married a Canadian.  In Bolivia she had a career that she had built over many years.  Her parents were part of Rotary and she experienced  hosting a Rotary Youth Exchange student with her family.  Later, she went to Michigan as a youth exchange student herself!  On arrival in Canada as an adult, she felt like a nobody, no one knew her, and life was so different from her life in Bolivia.  Her experience and credentials didn’t count here.  She started to do taxes for immigrants, feeling fortunate to get a job after trying for many years to get one.  She was really happy about this but people didn’t seem to trust what she was doing because she was an immigrant. so it took a long time to prove herself.  She always had someone supervising her which wasn’t easy.  Carla feels that immigrants come with a lot of knowledge as well as dreams and only need an opportunity to show what they can do.  They do feel an undercurrent of not actually being welcome.  People aren’t ready to deal with someone different.  As a result, many immigrants are not working in their area of expertise. 
 
Thandi reported that a study was done this year at KEYS.  In Kingston, 95% of people surveyed actually see immigrants positively.  Thandi showed stats from the study.  Few residents actually have any intercultural knowledge in spite of their wanting to welcome newcomers.  So, how can you help?  You can contribute to Refugee Resettlement Services, donate goods and services, hire a newcomer, volunteer, for example with English language tutoring.  Or, be a mentor, and help them to connect with other people who can be helpful, and help them to network.   And especially embrace the Inclusive Workplaces Charter.  Champion inclusion in your community and workplace. (ed. note - for more on the charter, go to https://www.cityofkingston.ca/-/keys-and-the-city-host-the-inclusion-charter-launch-promoting-inclusion-and-diversity-in-the-workplace)
 
Questions?
Have the programs that you have introduced been going long enough to understand their effectiveness?  No.  It is too soon.
Is KEYS a city of Kingston initiative?  Yes in collaboration with other organizations..
Can immigrants call Keys and ask for help?  Yes.
 
John Gale commented that as an immigration lawyer he hired a refugee a couple of years ago.  She had come from Rwanda and was a lawyer there.  Actually, she escaped from there.  Failures were his not hers as he didn’t really know how to use her talents.  In terms of this presentation, the problems are with the local employers not managing them well.  Now he feels that she was a missed opportunity. 
 
President Ana announced a networking workshop to be held at the Odd Fellows Hall.  It will take place on Saturday, November 23rd 9 – noon.  The 4 Rotary Clubs are involved, and it is part of the Supporting New Canadians (SNC) initiative.  The purpose is to allow newcomers to Canada to be able to network with Rotarians, and be able to benefit from their expertise in different areas, and in doing so, perhaps find their own place in Rotary.  Please come out on November 23rd. The KEYS mentorship program for youth is going to be used in our Pathways program.
 
President Ana decided that she would like to do something in her retirement and she has been mentoring Sam and Sam has a job now.  Ana and Sam should be an example for us all.
 
Thandi and Carla were thanked with the traditional loaves of bread.
 
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