MOSAIC wins leadership recognition award for the MentorConnect Program

During the annual Leadership Recognition Awards held on April 9th at the Terminal City Club in Vancouver, the Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia (IEC-BC) gave the Immigrant Serving Organization Leadership Recognition Award to the Multilingual Orientation Service Association for Immigrant Communities (MOSAIC) for participating in its MentorConnect program.

Eyob Naizghi, the executive director of MOSAIC, was on hand to receive the Immigrant Serving Organization Leadership Recognition Award from IEC-BC. A refugee from Eritrea, Africa, Naizghi came to Canada 30 years ago and joined MOSAIC in 1993 as Director of the Settlement Services Department. He eventually became the Executive Director of MOSAIC in 2000.

MOSAIC and the MentorConnect program

Founded in 1971, MOSAIC provides various multilingual programs, such as English language training, that help immigrants address settlement and integration issues in neighbourhoods and workplaces. The organization’s objective is to help immigrants and refugees become more active participants in society. Naizghi believes that MOSAIC’s objectives fit well with IEC-BC’s aims, which is to help immigrants and refugees obtain employment.

“IEC-BC is an organization that is geared towards employers so that they are connected with immigrants looking for jobs,” says Naizghi.

MOSAIC became one of the founding partners of IEC-BC’s MentorConnect program. Established in 2011, it provides skilled immigrants in B.C.’s labour market with 24 hours of mentoring over a four-month period. Naizghi sees the partnership as a success since MOSAIC has paired 42 mentees with organizations.

“The MentorConnect program connects immigrants and refugees with mentors so that they can start working in their professions in Canada. We provide referrals and IEC-BC provides mentors. The MentorConnect program helps mentees learn about Canada’s working culture,” says Naizghi.

From left to right: Queenie Choo, Patricia Woroch and Eboy Naizghi. | Photo courtesy of IEC-BB

From left to right: Queenie Choo, Patricia Woroch and Eboy Naizghi. | Photo courtesy of IEC-BB

Leadership Recognition Awards

Naizghi notes that there are benefits of the mentoring program that go beyond employment as mentees have formed lifelong friendships with each other. It has also provided opportunities for employers to learn about business practices from all over the world, which Naizghi believes is an asset in a diverse city like Vancouver.

MOSAIC was awarded witha Leadership Recognition Award for this work. The awards were founded in 2015 by IEC-BC with the goal of recognizing the innovation and commitment of its partners, employers, immigrant service organizations and professional members. Leadership Recognition Award recipients are selected on the basis of three criteria: leadership, impact and sustainability as related to immigrant inclusivity.

“Tapping into the expertise of skilled immigrants is critical to the province’s economic growth and to the successful settlement of new Canadians who make B.C. their new home,” says Philip Steenkamp, IEC-BC Board Chair and Vice President, External Relations of Simon Fraser University, who announced the award winners.

MOSAIC is only one of three organizations that were recognized for their partnership with IEC-BC through the MentorConnect program, with the other two being Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISSofBC) and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. ISSofBC and S.U.C.C.E.S.S, like MOSAIC, are social service agencies that provide services to new immigrants. Naizghi says that the award is not just about the success of individual organizations but the success of a shared effort.

“It is very interesting that it is bringing employers and immigrants together to work for the success of newcomers and the country’s economy,” says Naizghi.

In reaction to winning the award, Naizghi says he feels honoured to be recognized for supporting immigrants. He is glad to see many employers recognized as leaders, for they all share the same goal of encouraging other employers to help immigrants and refugees.

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