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The Langley LIP Immigrant Advisory

The Immigrant Advisory Council

In addition to the Langley LIP members, the work of the Langley LIP is supported by an Immigrant Advisory Council. The Council provides feedback to the LLIP and its work, shares and promotes promising practices and research, serves as a resource for community service providers and reaches out to ethno-specific communities to share committee information and encourage participation in its work.

The LLIP Immigrant Advisory Council comprises eleven immigrants who represent the two Langley communities, a range of countries of origin, length of time in Canada, occupational backgrounds, ages and genders. Members of the Advisory Council apply and are selected by a sub-committee of the Langley LIP membership and led by the Project Manager and the Project Coordinator. The term of membership is two years and can be extended if interest and commitments are demonstrated.

Art Fabian

Country of Origin: Philippines

Languages Spoken: English, Tagalog

Year of arrival in Langley: 1989

Carmen Lam

Country of Origin: Hong Kong

Languages Spoken: Cantonese, Mandarin

Year of arrival in Langley: 2020

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Cristina Naranjo

Country of Origin: Colombia

Languages Spoken: Spanish, English

Year of arrival in Canada: 1997

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Gurpal Dhaliwal

Country of Origin: India

Languages Spoken: English, Punjabi, Hindi

Year of arrival in Canada: 1993

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Isabel Cristina Kennedy

Country of Origin: Colombia

Languages Spoken: English, Spanish

Year of arrival in Langley: 2002

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Khushdeep Sidhu

Country of Origin: Canada

Languages Spoken: English, Punjabi, Hindi

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Mark Castillo

Country of Origin: Philippines

Languages Spoken: English, Tagalog

Year of arrival in Langley: 2019

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Mary Wang

Country of Origin: China

Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin

Year of arrival in Langley: 2016

Mei Chen

Country of Origin: China

Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin

Year of arrival in Langley: 2015

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Nardeen Dawood

Country of Origin: Egypt

Languages Spoken: English, Arabic

Year of arrival in Langley: 2013

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Shijing Wang (Sherry)

Country of Origin: China

Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin

Year of arrival in Langley: 2016

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Taejine (Kevin) Kim

Country of Origin: South Korea

Languages Spoken: English, Korean

Year of arrival in Langley: 2017

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Art Fabian

Country of Origin: Philippines

Languages Spoken: English, Tagalog

Year of arrival in Langley: 1989

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Biology

Occupation: VP Business Management

I migrated to Canada with my family more than 30 years ago for a better life and purpose.  I started working in an entry-level role and through hard work, passion and dedication, I moved up to the executive position for a global window manufacturing company based in Langley.  I enjoy traveling and crossing south of the border for business and pleasure.  I am also a church leader and an active member of the University Alumni Association in BC.

I joined the Immigrant Advisory Council of the Langley Local Immigration Partnership to give back to the community and help more newcomers integrate to the workforce. Over the years we have hired more than 150 foreign workers and new immigrants.  And hopefully, I can assist more immigrants and help more job seekers and skilled workers find employment.

Carmen Lam

Country of Origin: Hong Kong

Languages Spoken: Cantonese, Mandarin

Year of arrival in Langley: 2020

Education: Master's degree in Social Work

Occupation: Social Work

I start off working as a case manager at a foster care agency and psychiatric rehabilitation center after graduating in the US. To broaden my horizons, I moved to Asia, Hong Kong and managed numerous community programs for more than a decade. In this work, I helped thousands of ethnic minorities, migrant workers, refugees, asylum seekers, individuals with mental disabilities, as well as many others.

My husband Adrian and I chose to live in Langley because of its beautiful nature, friendly environment, access to all shops and restaurants which makes everything so convenient in the suburbs. As a new immigrant, there is always adoption and adjustment.  I am fortunate to have found LCSS and to have become more engaged in the community. Hopefully, I can serve and contribute to the growth of Langley.

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Cristina Naranjo

Country of Origin: Colombia

Languages Spoken: Spanish, English

Year of arrival in Canada: 1997

Education: Tourism Administration, Certificate in Community Counselling Skills

Occupation: Property Manager- BC Kinsmen Housing Society

I am very interested in the settling process for new immigrants, as I am aware of the many challenges they can face. In the past, I was involved in the community with ISSofBC by being a mentor to new immigrants, showing them around the area or helping to find different resources in the city. I have also helped interpreting through other organizations.

In my job as a property manager, I have had the opportunity to house many immigrant families and I can see first hand, how they are willing to make a life and integrate in the new place, but how easily the situation can change and become frustrating as reality hits.

In my case, the challenges we faced were mostly in finding agencies that could help us or guide us as we came to set up a business in the area. Any assistance we needed we found in Vancouver, but it would have been important to find support in the area we chose to live.

My vision for Langley in respect to immigration, is that the community continues to welcome newcomers and offer even more opportunities to learn the language, while looking for work.

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Gurpal Dhaliwal

Country of Origin: India

Languages Spoken: English, Punjabi, Hindi

Year of arrival in Canada: 1993

Education: Accounting

Occupation: President and COO of Western Community College

I am the President and COO of Western Community College. I majored in Accounting in 1999 and worked to become a Store Manager of Loblaws Companies Ltd. I gained a valuable experience in Senior Management for about 22 years overseeing 400+employees in a  $100 Million Dollars business. I became the CEO of Canadian Career College in 2009. Then took on the position of President and Chief Operating Officer of Western Community College beginning in 2011.

Throughout my journey, I have always exceeded institutions’ expectations and have been honored with an Academic Excellence Award, a Labour Solution Award and a Best Leadership Award. I am at the nucleus of the company’s culture and believe in the importance of strategic plans to uphold the effectiveness of the institution.

Through Western Community College, I have been contributing to the community by helping immigrants find skilled employment by supporting the acquisition of the required education and experience. His constructive approach has helped in filling the unemployment gaps in Langley society through professional and community development.

 

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Isabel Cristina Kennedy

Country of Origin: Colombia

Languages Spoken: English, Spanish

Year of arrival in Langley: 2002

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Special Education Assistance Diploma

Occupation: Special Education Assistant

My passion is working, supporting and advocating for people with disabilities and their families. Since 2012 I have worked at Langley Secondary School as an SEA. I am a Resource Parent with FSI (Family Support Institute) as a volunteer.

When I moved to Langley in 2004, I felt so welcome by my neighbours and the community that I decided to call this city my home.

I did need to advocate for my son who was diagnosed with Autism in 2004. I am still advocating and learning about services for him now that he is becoming an adult.

A challenge that I see in my field is that it is often hard for new Canadians to access the services for their special needs family members.  It takes more time for them to be able to get support if they just arrive to Canada.

My vision for Langley is for our students who just arrive to Canada to be able to get the services and assessments they need on time without the need to wait longer than normal.  For our students who struggle with the language, they need access to extra support. And to make sure special-needs adults are able to access all the services that they deserve.

 

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Khushdeep Sidhu

Country of Origin: Canada

Languages Spoken: English, Punjabi, Hindi

Education: Bachelor of Business Administration – Focusing on Human Resources

Occupation: Human Resources Generalist

I am currently a speaker and panelist for Immigrant Services Society of BC and a speaker for WorkBC. In both organizations I attend career talks in various industries providing newcomers with the knowledge and guidance on how to kickstart their professional careers in Canada. I speak at events on career development, networking, job search, and human resources. Volunteering through these platforms has allowed me to connect with numerous individuals and support them in achieving their objectives. I believe volunteering has had a huge contribution in helping immigrants and refugees build new lives in Canada.

Apart from the above, Khush is also a Business Mentor at Simon Fraser University. As a Business Mentor for Beedie School of Business at SFU, it has been my goal to share information with SFU students about different career paths, as well as provide guidance, feedback, and motivational support. I help students explore careers, set  goals, develop contacts, and identify resources in their chosen industries.

Volunteering to be a part of the Immigrant Advisory Committee allows me to bring in my knowledge, skills and experience from my other community involvement. It is also aligned with my overall purpose and passion for personal and professional growth and overcoming the roadblocks that would be encountered by newcomers.

I am very interested in this Advisory as I have a true passion for helping newcomers achieve their goals. Being a part of a council that will identify immigrant needs and service gaps and help fill them is exactly what I am looking to do. I am very interested in working cohesively with other members and strategically putting together a plan of action; a plan of action that is created to provide immigrants a smooth transition and welcoming arrival.

Creating a council that supports welcoming and inclusive communities where newcomers are connected and have opportunities to participate economically, socially, politically, and culturally is exactly aligned with my mission and objective.

My vision for Langley would be to see continued growth in terms of immigrants who have decided to call Langley their home. My vision would be to develop a welcoming and inclusive community where both long-term residents and newcomers feel a sense of belonging and attachment. I would like to explore different ideas to help newcomers settle in their new community. Building awareness among organizations in the benefits the new immigrants have provided us economically.

 

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Mark Castillo

Country of Origin: Philippines

Languages Spoken: English, Tagalog

Year of arrival in Langley: 2019

Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Occupation: Supervisor - Inclusion Langley Society

I am Mark Castillo. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in the Philippines in 2005. I obtained my nursing experience in the Philippines (1year) and Dubai (5years). I wasn’t really happy with what I was doing as a nurse and so I decided to move from Dubai. I chose Canada because my only other option was Denmark and I thought that learning a new language would be difficult. As an immigrant, I found myself unemployed for a couple of weeks and it was really challenging not just to make ends meet but because I was also paying for a property in the Philippines.

I moved to Langley more than a year ago because this is where we have always wanted to live in.  I and my partner have been working here for several years now and we find Langley small and quaint compared to where we used to live before. It has the city vibe and the fresh breath of the country as well.

In the future, I would like to see Langley maintain its peace and quiet (compared to other cities in Greater Vancouver) but also progress in terms of transportation and infrastructure.

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Mary Wang

Country of Origin: China

Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin

Year of arrival in Langley: 2016

My name is Mary Wang and my country of origin is China. I speak Mandarin and I arrived in Langley in 2016. I chose Canada as my home as I thought it would be a better place to live with my husband and three children. My occupational background is as a legal aid for the community.

I love Langley because it was easy to move into, the people here were friendly and I encountered barely any problems.

My vision for Langley is that Chinese immigrants should have a safe place to go to if they need to move and have a welcoming and friendly community to find. They also should find useful resources that can help protect them and give them a sense of safety while having police that can help solve problems quickly and effectively.

Mei Chen

Country of Origin: China

Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin

Year of arrival in Langley: 2015

Holding a Masters’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, I used to be a corporate executive with 20+ years of international experience in Global Fortune 500 companies. Now, I am a career development practitioner working in a government-funded employment service program supporting new immigrants to develop their careers in Canada.

The challenges of immigrating to a new country have many similarities to transplanting a tree. The bigger the tree is, the more difficult the process will be. Settlement takes commitment, effort, and time. But once they re-establish, they will bring prosperity to the communities they live in.

More than five years ago my family chose Langley as our first stop in Canada because of its proximity, convenience, and closeness to nature. Now Langley has become one of the fastest-growing municipalities. I hope it continues being the destination of choice for new immigrants while we continue cultivating the soil and environment for them to re-establish their roots and flourish.

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Nardeen Dawood

Country of Origin: Egypt

Languages Spoken: English, Arabic

Year of arrival in Langley: 2013

Occupation: Accountant

I was working as an Accountant in an industrial company in Egypt, I spent 5 years at that job. I was married in 2012 and spent one year in my home country after getting married, because my husband immigrant to Canada before we married. I knew I would move after marriage; the papers took about year and half. I landed in Canada in December 2013.

Since I arrived, I attended adult school in Surrey. After 3 years stay in Surrey, we looked to buy our own home. Because Clayton Heights and Langley at that time had reasonably priced townhomes, we chose to stay close to the border of Langley.

We find everything close to our home: shopping, the Mall, community center, Library and lots of organization helping newcomers. Langley also has a lot of friends from our community and it is easy to access the HWY to go downtown or to go to Hope as it is in the middle way.

The challenging things facing any immigrant is: How can I find job? How can I understand the culture? Can I find a job in my career? How can I live without learning English? Will the Government help me with my financials? And more questions. I passed through all this questions and found places that helped me in Langley and that is why I am ready to help anyone to answer a lots of questions.

The only things I am still missing is I am still looking for job in my career. After I prepared myself with the certifications they need, now they are looking for Canadian experience. I will not stop at this point; I will keep doing more volunteer work  as much as I can to build Canadian experience.

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Shijing Wang (Sherry)

Country of Origin: China

Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin

Year of arrival in Langley: 2016

I majored in pharmaceutical studies. In China, I worked in the field of work-related injury insurance, similar to WorkSafeBC. Right now I’m a pharmacy assistant. For most new immigrants, it is our dream to return to our professional work field. But we also know that the language barrier, degree credential, different work culture and other things always hold our steps. If we can evaluate ourselves properly from the basic- level work, when we decide to return to our field we should overcome all the challenges with all efforts.

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Taejine (Kevin) Kim

Country of Origin: South Korea

Languages Spoken: English, Korean

Year of arrival in Langley: 2017

It’s my pleasure to join the LLIP Immigrant Advisory Council. I did my post-secondary education at Kwantlen Polytechnic University from 2012 to 2016. At that moment, I received so much love and welcome from the local communities that lead me to immigrate to Canada. I am excited to give the love back to my city, Langley, and will look forward to contributing further.