Winning advice for 2021 | Canadian Immigrant

A few of our Top 25 Canadian Immigrants from 2020 share their thoughts, wisdom and some inspirational advice with you as we take on 2021!

Mike Hurley, Mayor of City of Burnaby

2020 was a challenging year for us all, but I believe that there are valuable lessons to learn from the obstacles we faced. One thing that was emphasized to me was the value and power of human connection — with your friends, family and community. As we enter the new year, I encourage everyone to find opportunities to reach out: check in on your friends and family, volunteer with a local organization that serves your community.

There are brighter days ahead, and we will get through this together.


Adeola Olubamiji, Scientist and founder of STEMHub Foundation

Thanks to digitization, we can still fulfill our professional roles and conduct businesses remotely despite the COVID-19 pandemic. As we continue to work remotely, I am choosing to further embrace collaboration within and outside my workplace, leverage virtual conferences and LinkedIn to network and connect to more professionals within and outside my industry and prioritize the use of analytics tools to communicate my margins effectively. There are many opportunities that pass us by because we didn’t push or waited to be granted the keys to the kingdom. I am choosing to not let the COVID-19 pandemic stand in the way of these opportunities and to understand that a new opportunity has been presented. I hope you do the same as well.

Bruce Poon Tip
, Founder, G Adventures

Adversity has immense power to create change, so I hope everyone uses 2021 to grow and evolve and contributes their learnings to their communities as proud immigrants to Canada. As we look back on 2020, let’s celebrate the obstacles because they have given us the opportunity to do better and grow stronger, both individually and as a collective.

So much good can come of 2020 if we use it to do something special and great to build a fantastic future for the next generation.”

Shanti Johnson
, Dean, School of Public Health, University of Alberta

Be assured that you have the potential to make a meaningful difference in the world and for yourself. Be the one with the positive outlook of hope that starts the change that we need. The future holds great promise. These trying times can strengthen you, so have the humility to continue to learn.

Your resilience in the midst of challenges is going to be your greatest advantage.


Isaac Garcia-Sitton, Executive Director, International Student Enrolment, Education & Inclusion, Ryerson University

Leaving your home in search of a better life is never easy. I encourage newcomers to take the time to nurture the communities around them. Treat every door you open as an opportunity and build good relationships — professionally and interpersonally. Our strength as a society stems from coming together with other people, connecting and merging communities, and building lasting relationships. Remember that our diversity is truly our biggest power.


Serena Chan, Partner, IBM Global Business Services

It was an unexpected and unprecedented 2020, with everything each of us have had to adapt to and changes in our lives. I just wanted to start the year with a couple of my personal notes. Maintain a growth mindset. Learn new skills and practice new ways of working. I believe a person’s true potential is unknown and that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished. Always stretch yourself on every assignment. We always come out stronger on the other end. Don’t let anyone to define you. We define who we are. There is no need to compare with anyone. We only need to compare with the best of ourselves.

Fariba Pacheleh
, Director of Corporate Projects, BC Liquor Distribution Branch

A decade ago, I built a personal vision and short-term action plan for myself with two main behavioral aspects:
• To remove victim mentality, negativity and complaints
• To learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable

This mindset has helped me through my journey through the years and to express my unique ideas and perspectives. This year, my goal is to be more courageous and dare to use my brilliance, not hide it.