Business - Marketing Stream
International Commodities Trader
Ronald A. Chisholm Limited
From working in hospitality and trade to promoting civic participation in Armenia to his current role as international commodities trader in Toronto, Kamo Mailyan has come a long way. In a short time.
Things were not rosy when Kamo landed in Canada in 2012 with his wife and his one and a half year old daughter in his arms. He has worked smart and hard to turn around a future that looked bleak, by making good of every difficult situation. It’s all about hard work, perseverance and positive attitude, he says.
“I arrived thinking that I would continue building my ‘career house’ from the same ‘floor’ where I left before immigrating.” The biggest challenge he faced, like most other immigrants do, was the expression “unfortunately you are not a good fit,” which implied that he did not have Canadian experience.
“You know the best way to get a job, integrate into workplace,” he asks with a twinkle, “is to stop being a newcomer!”
“Canada is a land of opportunities. It is for us to tap those opportunities.” Those opportunities came to Kamo in the guise of survival jobs, where he delivered pizzas, supplied medicines in snow and sold products as a call center agent.” There were many times that I felt down, but I never regretted anything I did, and never said that I was unhappy. In everything I did I found something interesting, a bright spot.” He remembers proudly how he made a sale to an executive of Coca Cola Canada. “You know who you are trying to sell to,” he asked Kamo when he got him on phone. “I was shocked, but excited! And I managed to engage him in the conversation.” In the end, Kamo succeeded in making a sale to him. “I was never without a job.” That speaks to his entrepreneurial spirit. “These ‘survival’ jobs taught me multiculturism, English language, communication skills and an understanding of the Canadian workplace.”
Kamo credits York University’s bridging program for the support he received in upgrading his sales and marketing knowledge. When I was stuck in survival jobs, I looked at opportunities where I could leverage my language skills - I speak four languages - and my experience in sales from my survival job and from back home, he said. “I identified my transferable skills and short comings, and upgraded my knowledge through York University’s bridging program.”
A passionate human rights activist, Kamo holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Russian-Armenian Slavonic University in Yerevan, Armenia and is an alumni of the School of Political Studies of the Council of Europe. He was an active freelance journalist focused on human rights issues and has pursued his passion here too (Read his article here). He holds a certificate in human rights and genocide studies and is working as a co-author of a book on missionary life in Ottoman Empire and the life story of a brave missionary who risked her life to save 3,000 orphans from massacres.
“York University’s IEP program played a big role in my success,” he says. “It gave an opportunity to network with other students, learning from their experiences.”
I networked outside too and found that people were willing to help. “A Canadian friend, in particular, has been very kind to walk me through everything from my day one in Canada.”
“It gave me practical skills and experience through group work and mentorship program.” What I liked best about this program is that you are learning with and from the native young students, and it gives every student an opportunity to tailor his program, he said.
“Many of our professors were experienced professionals, and they helped us to get hands-on experience through group works in almost real environments.” One group project that he will never forget is something that helped him get a firm foot in his company. “A couple of weeks after finishing a particular assignment in my communication class, I was assigned a similar project at work. I didn’t have to think how to go about this project; I completed it with success.” Another example he has is the skills he got from marketing and International Business classes, which he is using in his day to day job. “The IEP program made us really strong and ready for the job market in Canada.” More over the University is very flexible in its approach to IEPs’ needs. It works with us to identify our best chances to succeed and helps us achieve it.”
Kamo is a staunch believer of acquiring new skills and upgrading education. Canada offers professional development and designation opportunities for every profession, which are important for one to succeed, he says. He is currently pursuing professional designations such as PMP for Project Management and FITT for international sales and trade.
And if you ask me “what would you change if someone dragged you back to the time you arrived, and what difficulties would you take away from your path?” My answer will be ‘nothing’ – I would do it all over again in the same way I did first time around.”
The best way to get a job [and] integrate into workplace is to stop being a newcomer!