My name is Roxana Radulescu and I’m from Romania. I moved to Toronto with my husband and two kids in March, 2017.

Back in Romania, I graduated with a degree in philology and continued with a master’s degree in knowledge and project management. During University, I worked for a human rights organization as a translator and then got hired by one of the Magic Circle law firms – five of the highest performing international law firms headquartered in London, England. I started off as a receptionist, and slowly worked my way up as a legal secretary, know-how officer, and IT trainer. That’s when I discovered my passion for designing and delivering courses. So, in 2008, I switched to learning and development (L&D) and went from being a ‘one-woman show’ to heading the entire L&D department for seven countries.

This is my story.

My family and I found Canada’s immigration program very well structured, so we decided to start our Life 2.0 here. In retrospect, my first year in Canada was a rollercoaster! I had an entrepreneurial mindset but wasn’t an entrepreneur when we moved here. I knew that finding a job in my field would be challenging, but I wasn’t aware of just how challenging it would be! I wanted to get into an L&D role, so I started building my website and applying to jobs across various levels. Due to ‘limited Canadian experience’, I wasn’t getting a job, so I started to ‘cold-email’ training consulting companies to offer my services as a trainer.

The question that helped me most was ‘what can I do in this situation, right now?’ — do my best to promote and showcase my skills to build my Canadian experience. So I registered and was accepted to speak at TEDx in Chatham-Kent in October 2017. This opened doors to new opportunities.

In December 2017, I received a response to one of the ‘cold-emails’ I’d sent back in September and successfully converted that gig. It took me approximately ten months to find that first opportunity to deliver training as an independent contractor. As I worked with that organization I also focused on building my client base and kept looking for jobs in my field.

What helped me stay motivated during that time is that my husband had found a job and the kids were well settled in school. Today, I have my own training and coaching business, All Personal, through which I help corporate, non-profit and academic teams and individuals build essential soft skills for the workplace.

Some of the things I learned along the way:

  • Develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Whether you’re trying to start your own business or applying to jobs, approaching the situation as an entrepreneur gives your confidence a boost.
  • Don’t let minor setbacks disappoint you. Just like an entrepreneur, when you pitch your skills and services, not everyone will need them right then. They may reach out sometime in the future, so maintain that relationship and go create your next opportunity!
  • Meaningful connections matter. Whether you want to start your own venture or are looking for a job, build relationships with people in your industry.
  • Volunteering can help you find opportunities. Volunteer your skills and experience in your field. People need to see how good you are and trust you as a professional.
  • Have a strong social media presence. Decide which channels work best for you and use them to build a strong profile and network there.
  • Success takes time and effort. ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ Confidence comes from action, so be proactive rather than reactive, take consistent steps and stay focused.

Every newcomer journey starts with a ‘dream for the better’. Pursuing that goal, no matter what is what helped me get to where I am today.