‘Folks take a look at you they usually really feel hope’: New CEO to guide Calgary Catholic Immigration Society

Fariborz Birjandian is entering into an advisory position to welcome the following CEO of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society

After main one of many nation’s largest immigration organizations for 28 years, Fariborz Birjandian is entering into an advisory position to welcome the following CEO of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society.

Like Birjandian, the incoming CEO, Gordana Radan, was a refugee to Canada who began working with CCIS shortly after arriving in Calgary and experiencing the group’s providers firsthand. Radan got here to Canada as a refugee from former Yugoslavia in 1995. Her first house in Calgary was at CCIS’ Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre.

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“From the primary second that I stayed there, I wished to work for the group. At the moment, the tagline for CCIS was ‘I used to be a stranger and also you welcomed me,’ and that’s actually how I felt,” mentioned Radan.

“Little did I do know that 27 years later, I’d be given this superb alternative to guide the group.”

The primary time she heard about Calgary was in 1984 on the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Video games in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, once they mentioned the following winter video games could be held in Calgary, Canada. She by no means would have guessed Calgary would turn out to be her house 11 years later.

She started working for CCIS in 1997 as an employment counselor and was promoted to the place of director of CCIS’ enterprise, employment and coaching providers in 2007. She’ll be taking on the position of CEO on January 1, as Birjandian assumes a brand new place as a strategic advisor.

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Bringing lived expertise to the management position is significant, Radan defined.

“I do know firsthand the significance of the work that the group does but in addition, I witnessed the affect the group has on the lives of newcomers,” she mentioned. “When individuals first come as refugees, once they keep at our resettlement centre, they’ve plenty of conflicting emotions. They will really feel excited and apprehensive, they really feel relieved and responsible, they really feel joyful and unhappy.”

When interacting with their shoppers, Radan mentioned she will inform them she is aware of precisely how they really feel as a result of she was there and went by the identical course of.

“Folks take a look at you they usually really feel hope. They see the potential, they see that shifting ahead they will obtain their objectives right here.”

Fariborz Birjandian
Fariborz Birjandian 

Radan mentioned she’s trying ahead to constructing on the legacy that Birjandian created to make sure CCIS continues to develop and prosper. In her first few months within the new position, Radan mentioned she desires to get extra engaged with the group’s resettlement challenge and go to their rural areas in southern Alberta.

“My purpose is for our applications and providers — once we are growing them, once we are designing them, once we are delivering them — to stay client-focused,” mentioned Radan. “Our mission is to acknowledge the worth of every newcomer consumer and to assist them on their distinctive settlement journey.”

Birjandian mentioned he’ll work intently with Radan to make the transition as seamless as doable.

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He joined CCIS 33 years in the past, coming to Canada as a refugee from Iran in 1988, and getting concerned with the group first as a volunteer. He turned CEO in 1994 with about 30 employees understanding of the basement of St. Mary’s college with an $800,000 price range.

As Birjandian leaves the position, CCIS has about 450 employees and a couple of,000 volunteers who work out of a number of buildings with a $40 million price range.

“Going by that journey, clearly you develop plenty of love. It’s not only a job, it’s your life to be part of constructing one thing,” mentioned Birjandian.

Throughout his time with the company, Birjandian established Calgary as a degree of entry for refugees and not too long ago helped to welcome almost 5,000 Afghan refugees by the Nationwide Afghan Refugee Resettlement Mission.

“Any job is an efficient job however while you receives a commission to assist individuals, that’s an incredible job. Lots of people would do it free of charge,” mentioned Birjandian. “You’ll be able to’t produce a very good program should you don’t have a very good surroundings.”

He’s proud to have led the CCIS group to construct an company that could be a acknowledged chief and innovator within the area of settlement and integration and isn’t absolutely reliant on authorities funds and donations.

“It’s the efforts of lots of people who did this, and I’ve been considered one of them, and I wished to be sure that once I go away, there’s no hole. So, for 2 years I might be working as employees and listening to my boss,” mentioned Birjandian.

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