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Toastmasters International - Member Spotlight
Interview with Toastmasters International

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This week's member spotlight features #D123 member Dinesh Sharma!

Q: What prompted you to Join Toastmasters?
Dinesh: I came to Canada in 2002. Like any other immigrant, I learnt that communication plays a very important role for early integration in Canadian culture as well as growth in life. I also learnt that Toastmasters is a great place to build your communication and leadership skills. So I visited couple of Toastmasters clubs in my neighbourhood to get the feel of it and ended up choosing Hershaw Toastmasters, as it was not only in my neighbourhood, but was a very professionally managed club.

“Do you have safety shoes?”:
My immigrant journey and pursuit of a fair shake

Interview with Canadian Immigrant

It was March 2002 and I have just landed in Canada with my wife. Spring was just around the corner. My wife and I were eager to start a new life (and family) in our new home. In India, I was told “Canada is the land of opportunity – whatever you can dream of, you can achieve it.” In that moment, we felt that not even the sky was our limit.

Why family time is so important during this COVID time

Dinesh Sharma Interview 

Here are some of the things that we have done during this period:

  • We celebrated a virtual birthday for our niece and mother (through Zoom), which was attended by all relatives from Canada, India and Australia.

  • We are making sure that we connect with everyone (in person connection through phone, video calls etc.) connected with us at least once per week to know their well-being and asking open ended questions so that everyone shares their feelings rather than just saying "I am fine".

  • At work, we have organized a weekly social for every Friday, where all team members across Canada participate and share successes and challenges during the week.

  • Lastly, while at home, have made it mandatory to have one meal together as a family and, at the dinner table, asking everyone to share every day 3 things that we are grateful for. This has helped in building a culture of positivity, information sharing and, more importantly, open communication in the family. The results of this exercise have been amazing

I made my place: Dinesh Sharma #immigrantstories

Interview with Partly Motley

Dinesh Sharma moved to Canada in the year 2002. In the past 18 years as an immigrant, he has faced several challenges and struggles. However, he remained resilient and was persistent about establishing a strong career. Today, he works with Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and runs his own HR consulting firm. He has also been sincerely supporting the people of his community and helping immigrants build their careers in Canada.

Below are his responses to some of my questions about his journey:

Work Experiences During the Pandemic

Dinesh Sharma Interview 

The transition into the new remote environment been both challenging as well as exciting.  When COVID-19 hit in March & we were asked to go home from our work, I was very anxious on what the next steps of the process would be.  This made it more complicated as due to COVID-19, we could not go out. So realistically speaking, we didn’t had much to do and our mind could not get involved in any other activities due to being so anxious. Social interaction with people we loved became big key challenge as earlier, whenever we wanted, we would go to their place to meet them. We now had to either call them or send them the whatsapp messages. More importantly, human are a social creature.  We all like to do things together. So we missed the social interaction not only with our immediate family but with our friends and extended family members.

However, the things that I don’t miss in COVID-19 is my commute time.  I now save approx. daily 3-4 hours of commute time to and from my work and close to $300 per month on travelling cost.  All this time and money that I am saving, while still getting the same work done and/or infact having increased productivity, I am able to do things that I always wanted to do but was not able to find time.  I am doing a lot of community work, developing new hobbies, learning new skills and more importantly spending more quality time with my family.

Some of the challenges that I face is internet bandwidth issues, social interaction with other family members, ergonomics issues while working from home, no structured breaks, frequent trips to the fridge, the feel of working in the office environment.  However, when I look at the positives of working from home and compare it with the challenges that I have, I feel very positive about working from home and am able to find solutions to the challenges mentioned above.

Secrets of HR success from an IEP

featured in Canadian HR Reporter

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