Career Mentorship Program Director, Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council (ERIEC)
On a chilly night in 2016, Azumme Degun stepped off the plane from Nigeria with her husband and two young boys. Jet lagged and with no knowledge of the city’s transit system, she found her way to a job fair hosted by the Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council (ERIEC), where she made a connection. She landed a position at a bank within two weeks of her arrival in Edmonton.
But this was only the first step on the road to Degun’s dream career. One year later, she left the security of her permanent position for a temporary opportunity to work in career development.
“My colleagues let me make mistakes and showed me the way. Without that kind of help, I’d still be struggling.”
Degun couldn’t have anticipated that she would eventually come full circle: She now leads the Career Mentorship Program at the same organization that helped her get her start. The pandemic posed new challenges for the ERIEC, but the shift online allowed Degun to connect an even wider network of immigrant professionals to mentors in Edmonton.
Her tenacity and dedication to easing the learning curve for new- comers has also put Degun in the running for this year’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards. “I’ve walked that path,” reflects Degun. “It’s like you’re moving through the dark, and you need someone to take your hand and tell you when to leap. What drives me is to be that support.”