Catherine Chen shares her immigration story on this week’s episode. She explains why was so important for her to be self-driven and how that attitude helped her to settle in Toronto.
Was it difficult for you to get a job in your field?
“I don’t think I was luck because I was driving myself. Like, ‘I need to get a job.’ So I was pursuing what I wanted to do.”
Was it easy to adapt to Toronto?
“The first two or three years weren’t easy. I used to work long hours but I made friends at work, and those people really supported me.”
“It’s not easy to make friends but if you do not step out of your comfort zone, people will not come to you. […] It takes two to tango, that’s my mentality. If you pursue what you want, nothing is impossible.”
How did you react to rejections?
“Nothing is perfect in life. If people say no to you, you just move on to the next. Maybe you cry for one or two minutes and then move on. […] I don’t know how many times I cried or got emotional like ‘why this does not work? what’s wrong with me?’ but I’m like, there’s nothing wrong with me, it was not a good match and I move on.”
Did having family in Toronto helped you?
“Having family members here [in Toronto] made a huge difference. They told me where to go, you need to go to a bank, this is what you need to do, they gave me a whole checklist, it made a huge difference.”
Is there anything you would do differently?
“I have no regrets of what I did on this journey. Although I have made some mistakes, but life is all about making mistakes and not repeating the same mistakes. So I have no regrets. It has been an amazing life journey.”
What is the best part of moving to a new country?
“The best part of moving to a new country without knowing anyone, is that I had to force myself to go out and meet new people, make new friends. If I had stay I would hang out with the same people, but now I have a new group of friends from all different countries.”
What is the best thing about Toronto?
“I really enjoy how multicultural Toronto is. You can just go to different part of the city and have greek food, italian food, chinese food, portuguese food. So living in Toronto, having experienced this multiculturalism is the best thing ever. Moving to Toronto is the best decision I’ve made in my life.”
Catherine Chen is the founder of a tech startup called MyShoperon
. She moved here from Washington DC in 2010 by herself without having a job. Within less than 2 months, she landed a job at one of the largest global law firms and later became the first non-lawyer leading a practice.
In 2018, Catherine decided to leave her job to pursue her own dreams: running her own startup — thanks to the Toronto startup ecosystem.
Toronto has been home to Catherine ever since. Catherine loves the multiculturalism here and has met people from all over the world. As a foodie, Toronto is so perfect: Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese and Indian.
Catherine is a hustler, and nothing can stop her from pursuing her dreams. Her favourite quote is from Michelle Obama:
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.“
Learn more about Catherine