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NCON Professional Development Series

The Peel Halton Workforce Development Group was awarded funds to deliver professional development (PD) training to the membership of the NewComer Organizations Network. Funding granted by the Ontario Trillium Foundation allowed PHWDG to deliver three, day long, professional development conferences over the three years from 2009 to 2011.

The success of these conferences prompted the Ontario Trillium Foundation to increase its funding. It granted funds to provide for three more full day conferences plus three half day conferences dedicated to labor market information over the three years from 2012 to 2014.

The main objective for the NCON PD Series is:

  • To develop capacity of the front line staff of newcomer serving agencies in Peel and Halton
  • Empower front line staff of newcomer serving agencies in Peel and Halton
  • To promote collaboration amongst newcomer agencies

September 2014, PD Conference

Peel Halton Workforce Development Group (PHWDG) hosted its sixth annual NCON Professional Development Conference on September 26th, 2014 at the Novotel Toronto Mississauga Centre Hotel in Mississauga. Ninety-three people attended, primarily front-line workers from immigrant serving agencies.

Ravi Jain, certified specialist in citizenship and immigration law, opened the conference with a keynote address titled “An Overview of the Overhaul of Canada’s Immigration Laws.” He was followed by two workshops, delivered simultaneously, each to half the audience in the morning, half in the afternoon.

Pamela Paterson taught her audience how to adjust their resumes to the new automated resume-review systems that many employers are using. 
Murali Murthy presented five proven strategies for unlocking potential, maximizing talents and leading teams. 

Nina Spencer closed the conference with her keynote titled “Getting Passion out of Your Profession: How to keep Loving your Living” in which she presented interactive exercises and strategies for reconnecting with your early love of your work plus techniques for boosting your passion and giving your best.

A hot breakfast, a hot lunch and coffee breaks completed the day.

  • Some quotations taken from survey forms completed by attendees at the end of the 2013 conference.
  • I found this conference to be extremely helpful and informative! I’ve been to many conferences and this is by far the most engaging and relevant conference that I’ve been to in the last five years. The information was relevant and presented in an exciting and engaging way. The speakers were dynamic, engaging and passionate in presenting their material. I learned a lot and am going to bring a wealth of information back with me. I especially liked Nina’s presentation and it really spoke to me.
  • NCON conferences have always come up with good speakers and this is one workshop we all look forward to. NCON has always provided quality workshops and we always come back with good moments and learning experiences. We would like to see NCON conferences in the near future.
  • For non-profits on fixed budgets these conferences allow for continued skill development which in turn is spread to the clients – leading to increased skills possibly better chance of getting jobs which means service provider reaches outcomes which also means the funder looks good as well.
  • Today’s session illustrated that “old-school” methods are out the door! Service providers need to stay cutting edge in order to support the clients – which supports the funder.
  • I would like to stress how important and valuable these workshops were for me as a front line worker, assisting individuals in need. It was refreshing and very much needed. These professional development events offer the opportunity for much needed networking, information gathering and learning. A lot of our organizations have no funding for training and this posed as an alternative to assist in our professional development. I am thankful for the opportunity. 
  • Settlement workers are already facing barriers to professional development opportunities and the nature of our work calls for frontline staff and managers to be exposed to the most current and up-to-date information. Effective settlement leads to immigrant success, which essentially leads to Canadian economic and social success. Newcomers need the support to quickly transition into life in Canada which they cannot do effectively without settlement services; therefore our settlement sector needs investment in professional development to further catapult Canada’s future toward success, where immigrants are the future!

October 2013, PD Conference

Peel Halton Workforce Development Group (PHWDG) hosted its fifth annual NCON Professional Development Conference on October 4th, 2013 at the Delta Toronto Airport West Hotel in Mississauga. Ninety-one people attended, primarily front-line workers from immigrant serving agencies.

Dr. David Posen delivered the opening keynote address titled: “Stress Mastery – You Have More Control Than You Think.” He was followed by two workshops, delivered simultaneously, each to half the audience in the morning, half in the afternoon.

Richard O’Brien taught his audience members how to adjust to the impact of trying times by increasing personal stamina and flexibility in a presentation titled “Personal Resiliency in Challenging Times”.

Vito Marchese of Whiteboard Studio explained how LinkedIn can be one of the most powerful online tools for today's professional in a workshop titled “The 5 C’s of LinkedIn – Making the Most of Your Online Presence.”

Trey Anthony closed the event with her keynote, “Coming Out of Your Box”, in which she emphasized original thinking and belief in yourself. A hot breakfast, a hot lunch and coffee breaks completed the day.

Some quotations taken from survey forms completed by attendees at the end of the 2013 conference.

  • It’s an amazing event and am honoured to attend the event. I learn a lot about myself.

  • Excellent conference! Thank you.

  • All the speakers were incredible. I have learned a lot today.

  • Well done NCON, excellent work getting those inspiring speakers who have brought all the motivation and difference to us all. I thought this was the best PD I have attended in years.

  • Fabulous overall, keep it going if possible. Thanks

  • Great job!!  All topics were extremely relevant. Thank you.

  • Very well organized. Great speakers, Great food, Keep doing. Great source of learning and networking.

October 2012, PD Conference

The fourth annual NCON Professional Development Conference was held on October 12, 2012 at the Stage West All Suite Hotel in Mississauga. One hundred and two people attended, all front line workers from immigrant serving agencies. Julia Moulden delivered the opening keynote titled “How to Find Meaning in Our Work.” She was followed by simultaneous presentation of the two featured workshops, each delivered to half the audience in the morning, half in the afternoon. Donna Messer taught her audience members to maximize their strengths, recognize the importance of their social capital and learn to work within their communication styles in “Networking vs Not Working – It’s the “E” for Effort”. Paul Hill of Transition to Hired spoke on using social media as information sources rather than resume posting services in a workshop titled “From Disempowered Applicant to Empowered Candidate: How to Uncover the Hidden Job Market and Get Hired.” Later in the afternoon, a panel discussion titled “Hiring Internationally Educated Employees: An Employer’s Perspective” was conducted. The panel members were all employer representatives. A hot breakfast, a hot lunch and coffee breaks completed the day.

Some quotations taken from survey forms completed by attendees at the end of the 2012 conference.

“It’s a great conference. Lots of information, very helpful. Comfortable zone and very nice breakfast, lunch and tea. Thank you for putting such a wonderful conference together. This was my first time, but I would love to attend it every year.”

“This was my first time coming, will come next year.”

“The entire event was great. Kudos to all who worked hard to put this successful event together.”

“I enjoyed the PD; it was informative & worth spending the full day in learning with people of like-minded.”

“This was an excellent conference and presenters. I’ve learned quite a lot and it does help us serve our clients much better in the future.”

“Keep doing great work! Because of NCON, I know so many of community partner agencies and staff and the great work all of us do.”

“The conference was great, well organized and the guest speakers were fantastic. I’ve learned a lot today. Thanks for the great job done!”

September 2011, PD Conference

The third annual NCON Professional Development Conference was held on September 29, 2011 at the Stage West All Suite Hotel in Mississauga.  Seventy people attended, all front line workers from immigrant serving agencies.  Maureen Geddes, Geddes Global delivered the opening keynote titled "Delighting In Our Differences!." She was followed by simultaneous presentation of the two featured workshops, each delivered to half the audience in the morning, half in the afternoon.  Berkha Gupta, Peel HIV/AIDS Network, introduced her audience to popular social media tools in "Social Media For Front Line Workers".  Dr. John-Paul Hatala, Flowork International spoke on using your personal contact network as a job-search resource in a workshop titled "Linking Social Capital To Finding A Job." Later in the afternoon, a panel discussion titled "Hiring Internationally Educated Employees: An Employer's Perspective" was conducted.  The panel members were all employer representatives.  A hot breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks completed the day.

Some quotations taken from survey forms completed by attendees at the end of the 2011 conference

"I hope funding is continued for these PD events."

"These sessions have been very beneficial in every aspect and would like to see them continue."

"Thanks for having me; keep up the good work."

"Today, Sept. 29th, I'd like to commend organizers of the event; they've done an amazing job, accommodating everybody. Thank you."

"Thank you so much. It was a great conference and I learnt a lot from all today's activities."

"I appreciate the event; it was very helpful and will enhance my professional skills.  The panel was fantastic, very useful. This kind of information helps us to provide our clients with orientation on best practices to find a job."

For more information please refer to the NCON Professional Development Flyer, September 29, 2011

September 2010, PD Conference

The second annual NCON Professional Development Conference was held on September 29, 2010 at the Stage West All Suite Hotel in Mississauga. Ninety attendees, all front line workers from immigrant serving agencies, heard five presenters. Rosita Hall, of Motivated Minds, delivered an uplifting keynote titled You've Got the Power! She was followed by simultaneous presentation of the two featured workshops. Each was delivered to half the audience in the morning, half in the afternoon. Melissa Magder, of Cultures in Motion, instructed her audience how to work with clients of many cultural origins. Roslynne Mains, of Roslynne Mains & Associates, taught her audience how to deal with conflict in the workplace. The workshops were followed by two additional keynotes. Teresa Ierullo, of Just the Facts!, explained the top five reasons why employment programs fail to engage employers. Laura Simpson, Recruitment Manager with Ingram Micro, then presented her perspective as an employer on the same subject. Hot breakfast, hot lunch and coffee breaks completed the day.

Some quotations taken from survey forms completed by attendees at the end of the 2010 conference.

"Your Professional Development Conferences are highly organized and developed/conducted in a very professional manner. Thank You!!!"

"Being new in this field I have learned a lot today, and I will be more appreciated to attend more workshops. Thank you very much."

"All this PD days are very helpful and if we can have more it will be great. You really are learning a lot of information from this which are used in our day to day work time."

"Excellent array of speakers and content of workshops.  Really excellent job organizing. Thank you."

"All topics were very excellent and information provided applies to everyday experiences. Excellent!"

"Funders - please continue to fund them."

For more information please refer to the NCON Professional Development 2010 Flyer.

September 2009, PD Conference

The first NCON Professional Development Conference was hosted by the Peel Halton Workforce Development Group on September 24th, 2009 at the Delta Meadowvale Resort and Conference Centre inMississauga. The 91 participants were primarily front line staff plus some middle and senior managers from NCON member organizations and other community agencies. They heard two keynotes and two workshops. “Ecopreneurship and Green Collar Jobs: Understanding the Opportunities in Canada’s Next Economy” was the title of the opening keynote delivered by Brock Dickinson, Partner, Millier Dickinson Blais Inc. He was followed by two workshops, presented simultaneously. One offered instruction on how to motivate clients in bad economic times and was presented by Peggy Grall of Peggy Grall & Associates, Inc. The other, presented by Farishta Dinshaw of Ishoni Professional Development, provided methods by which front line staff could manage their own stress as they assisted their clients. The closing keynote, presented by Nouman Ashraf, Research Fellow, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, was titled “A Frank Conversation about Navigating Differences Effectively, While Serving our Diverse Client Communities.” A hot breakfast, a hot lunch and coffee breaks completed the day.

Some quotations taken from survey forms completed by attendees at the end of the 2009 conference.

“Wonderful Day. Thank You!”

“Great speakers gave some very valuable information on how to work with newcomers. NCON has done a great job in putting this conference together. I hope to attend more of these conferences.”

“Excellent conference, very useful for my work. I have learnt a lot.”

“Such conferences should be held more frequently.”

“Very well organized. Thanks for taking the initiative and all the hard work behind the scene.”

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity as front line staff to participate in a great PD conference through NCON. In non profit organizations, front line staff do not get enough opportunities for PD as usually the managers attend these sessions. Thank you Trillium Foundation for sponsoring this event.”