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IEP Conference – Toronto Convention Center

Posted on: February 12, 2012

On Friday, February 10 2012 I attended the IEP (Internationally Educated Professional) conference at the Toronto Convention Center.   I was invited to attend by Donna Messer and it had been a while since I trailed Donna on one of her speaking engagements.  So, being an internationally educated professional myself I gladly accepted the invitation.

The moment we arrived I could feel the electricity in the air and hear the “buzz” of excitement.  Donna went right to work getting to know the organizations that set up booths in the “market centre” at the conference; and of course asking every person she spoke with “how can I help you?”  Funny, this question always seems to surprise people; many do not have an immediate answer.   As I tagged along, from booth to booth, I realized not only was Donna networking but she was doing some last minute prep for her presentation.  The organizations present at the conference represent a program, process or association for international trained professionals and Donna in her very unique way was gathering information on the latest trends.  She is truly amazing; I knew I was in store for a day chalked full of learning.

Donna asked me to sit in the front row during her presentation.  I knew her intention was to introduce me as the Senior Recruiter from Ian Martin; and have me acknowledge certain facts about “the job search” – I’m always happy to help.   It is so inspiring to watch Donna work her magic; laughter filled the auditorium as Donna interacted with the audience.  Of course, there is never enough time and before we knew it Donna was given the signal to wrap up.   AHH – another great presentation; however; it was not over and I was pleasantly surprised at what happen next.   As I stood up to gather our purses and get ready to meet Donna back stage I noticed there was a crowd of people around me.  I glanced up at the stage and could not see Donna because she was engulfed in an even bigger crowd.  “OK, time to network”, so I turned my attention to the people waiting to speak with me and asked “how can I help you?”  An hour later, the crowd had dissipated and we made our way over to “coat check” and this time I was not only person trailing Donna.

It was truly an amazing day – on the ride home Donna asked for my opinion of the conference.  I stated it was an “eye opening” experience to see so many talented internationally trained professionals in one room – doctors, architects, accountants, lawyers, technical professionals (and the list goes on).  On the other hand, it was a bit frustrating when you realize each one is seeking employment in a province whose corporations still pin the “no Canadian experience” on newcomers.  It must be so confusing to the new Canadian when arriving in Ontario to try to figure out the best program, organization, association and/or training – where to start?

Donna has a new program which bridges the gap between education and employment which can help many of these talented individuals with the tools to build their bridge.  My hope is that more associations and organizations like IEP partner with Donna to get the word out about her systematic approach to bridging this very real gap.

To Donna I say thanks for doing what you do – you do it so very well.  To all the incredible people I met on Friday remember to get work you must network.

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