Filipinos’ Success Stories:
Kaya Ko; Kaya Mo!
If I can; You surely can!
1. When did you realize what your dream job was?
Answer. I still remember how fun it was when my Mom was arranging and moving furniture around our home. I was very young and yet I already felt how enjoyable it was when she asked me to help her. The trips to the furniture store were a treat! I think this experience started my love for Interior Design. Growing up, I always dreamt of being involved with Interior Design and of eventually becoming a Professional Interior Designer and owning my company.
2. What did your career path look like?
Answer. I had many different jobs in the past before I immersed myself into starting my own Interior Design company. I studied Interior Design in the Philippines and eventually worked in Saudi Arabia in the same field. I came to Lloydminster, AB Canada as a Graphics Designer through the Skilled Foreign Workers program then successfully obtained my Permanent Residence then Citizenship. Through the years, I took on many jobs just like any other immigrant. I worked at Tim Horton’s and McDonald’s, I did manual labour jobs with plumbing and drywall companies, and I did landscaping work and oil field work in Fort McMurray. While I was working as part of the maintenance staff at a welding shop, I tried welding and became a welder. I thought I would stay in that job for a long time until the company hit difficult times and had to let us go. The rest is history. I made it to Edmonton and met many different people who introduced me to friends. All my past job experiences made me better and stronger for the next opportunity. I worked at a furniture store and my love of Interior Design ignited once again. I have designed for builders, private homeowners and business owners. The more I got involved with home designing, I became more excited about pursuing Real Estate as a career. The ability to combine my background in Interior Design with assisting home buyers and home sellers is a win-win for everyone!
3) What goal do you have in mind?
Answer. While enjoyed my Interior Design job at the furniture store, I kept on dreaming of becoming a Real Estate Agent. I met a Realtor who inspired me and encouraged me to study to get licensed. I took the course and I am now a Licensed Real Estate Agent in Alberta. I am excited to assist my clients with their home buying and selling. The positive work ethics, excellent customer service skills and people skills I learned from all my previous jobs as a new immigrant, plus my passion with Interior Design are all applicable valuable strengths to my new career.
4) What struggles did you have to go through?
Answer. I am fortunate that in Alberta, I met many amazing people who are willing to help a struggling Kababayan. I had to work many different jobs while attending school at NAIT in Digital Media Information Technology. I worked shift works at fast food places and did labour jobs to support myself and my parents. Money was tight but I had to sacrifice to improve my education and job prospects.
5. What schooling did you have to take?
Answer. I did my International Qualification Assessment here in Canada and I have the classification as a Professional Interior Designer. To become a Realtor/Real Estate Agent involves more schooling. I focused my time and concentration last year on understanding the new career I was getting into. I studied seriously and passed the exam. I am now a Licensed Realtor/Real Estate Agent in Alberta.
6. When did you decide to come to Canada?
Answer. In 2004 while I was working in Saudi Arabia as an Interior Designer, my two sisters moved to Lloydminster. An opportunity arose and I was able to join them as a Foreign Worker through the Skilled Program. My parents and sisters are still living in Lloydminster but eventually I would love to move my parents here to Edmonton.
7. What is your advice for your younger self?
Answer. Believe in yourself, do not compare yourself with others as everybody’s journey is different. Follow your passion and never give up even when things get tough. Stay focused, work hard, and most of all, be humble and remember where you came from.