“I’ve always been a believer in the power of connections,” says Anthony Khisa, Import Freight Coordinator at DB Schenker of Canada.This sole belief fueled his optimism he would find a job in his field of expertise – supply chain management and logistics – after he, his wife and their children moved from Nairobi, Kenya to Halifax in 2008.
Anthony’s wife, Johanna, grew up in Lower Sackville and the two met while working for international aid organizations in Kenya.
Anthony knew first hand how important building relationships were through his work with Vétèrinaires Sans Frontières Belgium and Merlin, an international health charity, in places like Somalia, the Sudan and Ethiopia.
“I’d worked with a lot of people under a great deal of stress and trauma in war zones. Good rapport was critical in these fragile communities,” says Anthony. He hoped he would find supportive connections here in Halifax. He did, after much patience and perseverance.
Initially, Immigration Settlement & Integration Services (ISIS) linked him to The Partnership’s Halifax Connector Program, a simple but effective referral process that helps immigrants, international students and young and emerging talent build a professional network, and connect with job opportunities to help them settle successfully in Halifax.
At the time, Anthony was linked with other professionals in a few areas, but nothing emerged in his field. He took a string of jobs that would pay the bills but leave his career experience virtually untapped.
Anthony decided to return to the Partnership for another boost of help in 2012. The timing couldn’t have been better. The Partnership had found a new Connector who possessed a wealth of relationships in the logistics industry – Randy Penney, Business Development Representative at Cole International, one of Canada’s largest privately owned custom brokerage, freight forwarding and trade consulting companies.
“The team at the Partnership noticed I had a lot of connections and asked if I could use them to help them out,” says Randy. “It wasn’t a pressure thing. It was a ‘when you can help’ to get foreign students who were graduating and newcomers into the Halifax marketplace.”
Not long after, he met Anthony. “Anthony was very nice. Genuine,” says Randy. “And he had experience with logistics and freight forwarding from his home in Kenya which made him a good fit for Cole.” Except Cole wasn’t hiring.
“I knew one of our competitors, DB Schenker, was short-staffed. With Anthony’s background in logistics and his knowledge of our industry, I figured he would have a good chance of landing a job. So I helped connect him to their manager,” says Randy.
“Randy made it very clear there was no guarantee I would get a job,” says Anthony, “and I understood that.” Now, at least, there was an open door to walk through and the opportunity to submit a resume.
DB Schenker called him back right away.
“They interviewed Anthony and kudos to him, within a short time, he got the job,” says Randy.
“My boss keeps saying, ‘Where were you all these years? We needed you!’” says Anthony with a great smile on his face.
Today Anthony is happily settled in his new company, doing work aligned with his interests and expertise – exactly what makes the Connector Program so effective in strengthening Halifax’s workplace and helping people succeed.
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Kelly Hennessey, ABC, is an accredited public relations writer and consultant.