In this episode, I’m interviewing Norma Marin. She moved from Mazatlan, a city on the west coast of Mexico to Toronto in 2002..
Why did you decide to migrate?
“I came to Canada because I wanted to explore, you know, other cultures. I wanted to see how it was outside my bubble.”
After Norma visited the first time, she decided to migrate.
“During the time I was here [in Toronto] I realized all the great things I could do, not only as a young person but also as a woman and I decided to come back and explore a career.”
Was it difficult to adapt to the new culture?
“When you’re an introvert and you’re not that confident, you’re always thinking, what could they possibly want from me? How can the possibly look at me if I don’t have anything to offer?”
She explored different paths, including sales and marketing.
“I went into Sales and Marketing which taught me quite a few things, it actually gave me that confidence to sell and helped me to get that confidence to network.
“As an introvert, it was really hard for me when I was given the direction of “ok, you have to sell more.” I didn’t feel comfortable just selling, selling, selling.”
Did you find any challenge validating your degree in Canada?
“I was getting frustrated that I wasn’t been taken as seriously as other professionals because back then they didn’t really value that I had a bachelor’s degree.
“They were like ‘oh, it’s Mexico, it should be equivalent to a high school diploma.’ So, I faced that challenge as well, so I had to prove myself that I was as good as any other university graduate here.”
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
“One thing I would recommend to people is to come and visit. Not to work, just to see what it’s like. Try to pursue a hobby here, try to make some friends here. It will tell you more about the city and about the country.
“Pursuing a hobby here is the easiest way to connect to other people because it’s something you like at the core. Because at least you have something in common from the get-go.”
It’s also very important to meet new people and start networking as soon as you land.
“Don’t be scared to say hi, don’t be scared to network. Because the good part of Canada and especially about Toronto it’s so multi-cultural that is a very open society.”
What is the best thing about Toronto?
“Toronto opens a world of new perspectives; it shifts your paradigms. If makes you less judgmental and it breaks ideas you had about different cultures, it breaks stereotypes, it helps you become a wiser person. And that’s something that is priceless.”
What is your proudest achievement?
“My proudest achievement is that I was able to build a whole life and I was able to get to where I am, although I don’t think I’m done yet. I have a house, I have a family, and friends that value me for who I am.”
Norma Marin moved from Mazatlan, a city on the west coast of Mexico, to Toronto in 2002.
Since then she has worked in sales, marketing, hospitality, and holds an MBA degree from Schulich School of Business.
She currently works in accounting, owns a Spanish language school named Spanish in Durham, and she’s the co-founder of My 1st Business. She also volunteers in different non-profit organizations.
Learn more about Norma