Building a Welcoming Community:
Empowering Immigrant Women in Calgary
Paula Calderon, a dedicated nonprofit executive, brings over two decades of leadership experience in workforce development, education, and socio-economic impact projects. An immigrant from Colombia, Paula's personal journey informs her passion for supporting successful integration into Canada. With a distinguished career in nonprofit leadership mainly in the immigrant serving sector, she has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Calgary Immigrant Women's Association (CIWA) since June 2022. Her leadership has solidified CIWA's status as a provincial and national leader in gender-specific settlement services, offering a holistic range of support including settlement, literacy, employment, health, and community development programs.
Oluchi Ubani, an Internationally trained and Licensed Optometrist with good leadership skills and a detail-oriented team player with seven years of experience in the eye care profession.
A young immigrant mother from Nigeria, who in order to improve her digital skills and integrate into the Canadian workplace she enrolled and participated in a Job Ready Employment Skills Program at Calgary Immigrant Women's Association (CIWA) which after completion she was able to secure an employment at Clearly which is a huge step to her achievements her long time goal of becoming a licensed eye care professional in Canada.
With the wide array of professional and networking tools with which she has been equipped with from the program, she keeps broadening her professional network and she believes strongly she would be able to create great impact in the Canadian society as she is willing to share her story to encourage other immigrants mothers that she comes across.
Immigration has long had a positive benefit to Canadian society, contributing to the country's social, economic, and cultural well-being. Between 2023 and 2025, Canada is projected to welcome 1.5 million new residents, aligning with the federal government's objective of expanding immigration targets. Coupled with inter-province migration, City estimates have Calgary growing by 62 new residents a day for the next several years, adding 110,000 people by 2027 — more than the population of Red Deer.
When arriving in Calgary, immigrant women face many challenges including language barriers, isolation and cultural adjustment, gender-based violence, access to education, employment discrimination, lack of recognition for foreign credentials, limited access to social services, financial dependence, and more.
As the CEO of the Calgary Immigrant Women's Association (CIWA), Paula has solidified CIWA's position as the largest gender-focused settlement agency in Canada. Last year, CIWA served nearly 16,000 immigrant and refugee women, girls, and families, with a broad range of support services including settlement, language training, employment support, counseling, and more.
During this discussion, you’ll hear an inspiring immigration story from one of CIWA’s clients, highlighting the tangible impact of CIWA's mission. Together, they will showcase how CIWA empowers immigrant women and fosters inclusivity within the community, ultimately making a significant difference in the lives of newcomers. Gain insights into the future of immigrant integration in Canada with us.
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