Walk of Fame Awards
Each year, ACCES Employment is proud to honour a select group of employers that work closely with ACCES Employment to support our mission of helping newcomers and jobseekers to find employment in their field.
This year’s Walk of Fame Awards honour influential individuals representing employers that have contributed to the development and growth of ACCES over our 30-year history. During this time, we reached many milestones and achievements that reflect who we are today.
Congratulations to each of our winners and thank you for your continued commitment to ACCES!
Sheila Armena, Assistant Branch Manager, RBC Newcomer Meeting Place, Financial Services Connections Program
Sheila Armena credits ACCES Employment’s Financial Services Connections program (FSC) with changing her life. Before joining the program in 2010, she was lost as to where to start her career journey as a newcomer in Canada. Through a chance meeting with another ACCES alumni in an elevator, she joined the FSC program which would eventually shape a part of who she is now. With the help of ACCES’s networking opportunities and interviewing skills sessions, she was able to secure her first job from her very first interview after arriving in Canada. As an ACCES alum, she believes that once one newcomer succeeds, we all succeed and therefore continues to give back through mentorship and by hiring other ACCES Alumni. She is proud to state that two ACCES program alumni are currently working on her team!
After migrating from Nigeria in 2015, Oviemuno Ukeko joined ACCES Employment’s Leadership Connections program which he credits with making a big difference in his transition into the Canadian labour market. Oviemuno credits ACCES Employment with helping him to package his overall experience and improve his networking skills. As a result, his first role in Canada was at the management level. He is now the Manager for High Risk/Enhanced Due Diligence at CIBC. As an alum, he gives back to the ACCES community through mentorship. He has helped four ACCES alumni to secure jobs in their fields. He also shares his experience and knowledge through guest speaking events.
After migrating from Jordan in 2017, Mais Arab was trying to navigate the Canadian environment and to understand where she could fit into the local job market. She joined ACCES Employment’s HR Connections program (Class of 2017) and was impressed not only by the practical knowledge she received, but also by the emotional support they provided to her as a newcomer. With years of experience from her previous country, ACCES was able to put things into perspective and provide the proper guidance needed. She is now a Senior HR Generalist at Matrix Logistics Services. As an ACCES alum, she continues to give back to the organization through mentoring, speaking events and the hiring of ACCES clients.
William Garcia, Manager, Change and Release Management, Allstate Canadian Group, IT Connections Program
William Garcia joined ACCES Employment as a participant in the IT Connections program in March 2016. Upon completion of the program, he found employment directly in his field as an IT Operations Manager for a leading Canadian travel company. He later moved on to AllState Insurance Company of Canada where he currently holds the role of Change and Release Manager. Since completing the program and working in the field, William has remained actively engaged with the ACCES network as a mentor, guest speaker and connector.
Matt Poya, Civil Engineer, Transportation Services Division, City of Toronto, Engineering Connections Program
Matt Poya is a Civil Engineer for the City of Toronto’s Transportation Division. Matt is a graduate of the Engineering Connections program in 2015. Upon completion of the program, Matt found full-time employment directly in his field at an engineering firm, and through his proactive approach, Matt has advanced in his career in Canada very quickly. As an ACCES alum, Matt is actively engaged as a mentor, as well as a speaker and panelist, sharing his experience and insights at various events for ACCES.
Originally from Brasilia, Brazil, Shand Santos is an alum of ACCES Employment’s Entrepreneurship Connections program (Class of 2016), which provided him with a launching pad to start his own business that same year. Now the owner and proprietor of Baru Baron, a Torontobased company that imports and sells baru seeds, a superfood native to Brazil, and related products into Canada, Shand gives back to the ACCES community as a mentor and as a speaker, sharing his experience as a newcomer entrepreneur.
Mohammad Bajwa joined ACCES Employment’s Financial Services Connections program in 2007. He shares that the program was the catalyst to the start of his Canadian career journey. Now a Commercial Account Manager at RBC, he credits ACCES with providing him with the resources, proper guidance and sense of direction needed to boost his confidence and guide him to his current career. Mohammad believes that he should now give back to the ACCES community through mentorship, as a speaker and by sharing his experiences as a newcomer.
An alumni of ACCES Employment’s Sales and Marketing Connections program (Class of 2012), Ajai Datta, is the President of Pinnacle Digital Solutions Ltd., a Mississauga-based company offering customized solutions in Audio Visual, Electronic Security and ICT Systems. Despite his busy schedule as a business owner, Ajai frequently contributes his time and energy as an ACCES alum in various ways, including mentoring, coaching, speaking at events, and even recruiting ACCES alumni to work for his company.
As a newcomer to Canada and former senior employee in the banking sector in Nigeria, Grace Jolaoso was excited about the prospect of relaunching her career. Highly skilled, educated and experienced in the banking sector, Grace was not sure how to begin her job search, so she joined ACCES Employment’s Empowering Women program in 2016. Grace learned key job search skills, including the importance of effective networking. This helped her to launch her job search in Canada and to find work directly in her field. Now employed at one of Canada’s top financial institutions, Grace volunteers her time as a mentor and speaker for ACCES Employment. She believes in the importance of giving back and sharing her story to help other newcomers remain hopeful and gain confidence as they begin their career in Canada.
Angela Yang arrived in February 2017 from China and quickly began searching for a job within her field. She knew that she needed help with her search so she joined ACCES Employment’s Supply Chain Connections program to learn more about her sector in Canada. Angela greatly appreciates ACCES for the support that they provided to her as a newcomer, and also, for introducing her to a multicultural environment where she was able to connect with other professionals from around the world. Here, she developed her leadership and language skills and also formed lifelong bonds with other new Canadians through networking – she is still in contact with many of them. Now as an alumni, she continues to give back to ACCES through guest speaking and volunteering in what she describes as a win-win situation. She has recently helped a fellow alum to secure employment using the skills and knowledge she gained at ACCES.