Inclusion Project paves way for newcomer experience

March 13, 2019
Lisa Weighton
Ruth Mojeed
The Inclusion Project happens March 30 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Royal Roads University.

Parting ways with friends, family, colleagues and your community can leave you wondering who you are and where you belong. That feeling of isolation, difference and exclusion is perhaps even greater when settling in a country far from home.

It’s a familiar feeling for Ruth Mojeed.

The Royal Roads University Master of Arts in Intercultural and International Communication grad came to Canada from Lagos Nigeria for school in 2015.

“It’s a different culture, it’s a different climate, it’s a different everything,” she says.

Mojeed quickly learned that success was something she could carve out for herself. She went after what she wanted and convinced the Victoria Foundation to hire her as an intern—the first they ever had. She later landed a role with the BC public service as a communications coordinator for cabinet priorities for Government Communications and Public Engagement (GCPE).

“I was not a permanent resident at that time but they looked past all of that and said, ‘there’s potential here,’” she says.

The community organizer, equity and communications consultant, Shaw TV talk show host, and self-proclaimed Victorian-Nigerian credits her success to the opportunities she found within her new community.

“Sadly, that’s not the case for all newcomers,” she says.

From institutionalized racism to social exclusion and language barriers, Mojeed says immigrants, newcomers and international students face unique challenges integrating into the workplace or community.

That’s why she started The Inclusion Project.

The one-day strategic dialogue builds on Mojeed’s mission to promote cultural understanding and inclusion through collaboration and storytelling.

The March 30 event brings together stakeholders from civil society, and the public and private sectors to discuss issues such as workplace inclusion, migration opportunities and the business case for positive newcomer workplace experience.

“At the crux of The Inclusion Project is spotlighting the power dynamics in the room. It’s about connecting people with lived experiences with the people who have the power to move the dial.”

Presenters include Dr. Chris Kilford, president of the Canadian International Council, Mitzi Dean, parliamentary secretary for gender equity, Catherine Holt, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Mark Lovick of the Royal Bank of Canada and Sangeeta Subramanian of the Immigrant employment Council of BC. Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps will give the keynote address.

Ultimately, Mojeed says she would like to see stakeholders engage on topics of diversity and equity and work together to increase opportunities for newcomers.

“Just as the community saw potential in me, I also see the potential for us to be a global, world-class, leading community where everyone is included and we’re meeting our potential for equitable access to opportunities for all.”

Learn more or register for The Inclusion Project.