“What is the best way for a new immigrant to build a new life in a new country? Reimagine. Redefine. Reinvent.”
Immigrants leave their entire world behind and move to a new place where they start life on a clean slate. Chances are the challenges will present themselves with opportunities.
Pamela Easterbrook moved to Canada from England. A designer by training, she took the opportunities on that path, built her network, fueled her passion, and turned that into a successful business.
She came to Calgary, following love, and fell in love with the city – the nature and mountains surrounding it and with the way life and work is mostly balanced in Canada. “I loved the little perks here and there,” she says. Coming with just personal belongings and buying old items from a downsizing couple to running her own business, Canada is home for her.
When she was thinking of coming to Canada in 2008, Pamela started her job search even before she landed in the country. Her remarkable thought about finding work much ahead of her move, landed her a job within a month of arrival. “A certain amount of luck is made, I applied for a lot of jobs.” That luck, however, ran out when recession hit and she was laid off. Her quick thinking to look at her skills and apply them for a job that matched it earned her another job swiftly.
“As new immigrants you might be able to do it all by yourself but having a community that is there to help in a non-judgemental and friendly way will make it easier.”
“I was devastated but I picked myself up and started looking at what skills do I have?” she says. Her new job was a deviation from her earlier job but it used the skills she had. She is quick to point at the importance of having the network and community of people willing to help. “The community and the people you surround yourself with is very important. Network is an asset and people don’t mind helping even if they don’t know you well.”
When it comes to pivoting your career, one has to take a good look at what they can bring to a new place and find their strength and transferable skills because businesses, organizations, government or a company have a common way of functioning and you can find where you can plug your skills in. “A project management personnel and a business analyst are similar in the way that they are trying to provide the help required in a certain environment. Understanding the needs of another person or an organization is a transferable skill.”
Pamela’s passion was designing. Find an old place and create something new. A passion she had been pursuing while working on fulltime jobs doing designing work for friends and family on the side lines. She decided to turn that passion to pursuit with Reimagine Home and helps people rediscover their homes, work spaces, nooks and crannies. “My interest is to see what you have and we can transform it to something new,” she says. “I enjoy redesigning and helping people see what they would not normally envision, how small changes can light up a space, how colours impact a design or bring out a shade.”
Through her business Pamela makes an effort to promote other small businesses such as herself creating opportunities for everybody. She has tips for those who intend to redesign their spaces – a simple touch up here and there can make a huge difference, lights can set the mood per preference – and if you have a plan for drastic change, take small steps toward that direction.
Starting the business has been a good confidence boost to Pamela. “I have learned to have confidence in myself. With a little encouragement from family and friends I know that I am capable of providing something of value to people – to bring that to people has been wonderful.”
“When it comes to pivoting your career, one has to take a good look at what they can bring to a new place and find their strength and transferable skills.”
Pamela is a part of the Immigrant Life community and recommends new and settled immigrants to connect and be there for one another. “As new immigrants you might be able to do it all by yourself but having a community that is there to help in a non-judgemental and friendly way will make it easier.”
Her advice to any new immigrant trying to find a footing in Canada is: “Be open to others and advice. Don’t give up. Above everything else be in it for others as much as you are in it for yourself. Helping others helps you. You are going to feel good if you help someone and they’ll also feel good. What’s there to lose?
Pamela is open to responding to questions and queries you have about designing or redesigning. You can reach her through https://reimaginehome.ca