As a young First Nations professional, I have been so fortunate to travel the world, make a difference in my community and pioneer a career into uncharted territory. As the first in my family to earn a university education, I have worked hard these past four years in order to make a lasting impact on society.
When it came time to pursue permanent employment following university, I thought my chances were quite good. Over the course of my academic career at the University of Saskatchewan, I had been fortunate to be blessed with a number of amazing opportunities, including:
- Being selected as a First Nations youth delegate for the Junior Team Canada program
- Leading missions to Peru, China and Malaysia
- Attending the G8/G20 MY SUMMITS program in Muskoka and Toronto
- Attending APEC as the only First Nations youth delegate in Canada’s history
- Completing university in the top five per cent of my college, with High Distinction
- Travelling to 18 countries, spanning five continents in four years
- Attending the University of Canberra in Canberra, Australia for a semester abroad
- Paying for university primarily with scholarships and bursary funding.
Armed with a solid resume, years of experience and having lots of value added components to bring to the table, I thought my chances were pretty good at getting meaningful employment after my degree.
I soon learned I could not have been more misguided.
I had started to apply for jobs eight months prior to finishing my degree but hardly a thing came back. As fate would have it, however, early in 2010 I had been selected to attend the Aboriginal Human Resource Council’s Inclusion Works ’10 event in Toronto, Ontario.
What happened there, I can only describe as a whirlwind experience. I was given interview and resume building skills, on top of media and network training. Over the course of Inclusion Works ’10, I was able to become connected to employers from across the country and, by the week’s end, I had four competitive employment offers to sift through.
Today, I find myself employed in one of the most competitive post-graduate programs in the country, as an associate in the Royal Bank of Canada’s Graduate Leadership Program. The Aboriginal Human Resource Council provided the only forum in Canada to make this even a possibility. What the council has done for me, it has also done for many; connect young Aboriginal professionals with employers who value diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
At the risk of sounding dramatic, the council has without a doubt, changed the course and direction of my life forever. However, because my life has been changed, so have the lives of those in my family and, of course, the lives of those in my community.