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Asian Star- Mary Thomas

Native village/Country, parent’s background – Parents moved to Mumbai from Kerala for work. Born and raised in Mumbai. Dad was a store keeper in Dubai and Mom was a Chemistry Teacher
Your early education: MSc Nutrition and Dietetics from MS University Vadodara
When & why did you come to Canada? Moved to Canada Aug 15, 2009 to be together as a family, I and kids moved from Mumbai and husband from Abu Dhabi. Suncor helped us move to Canada since husband was recruited as Senior Engineer on a Temporary foreign worker visa in the skilled worker category.
Your career advancement initiatives and present occupation: We landed on a really hot day in August and were received at the airport by HR Manager from Suncor and taken to a beautifully furnished condo townhouse for 3 months. They supported us with rent for a basement apartment for 1 year and then subsidized the purchase of our 1st home in Canada in 2010. I started working at a Church close by as secretary and in 3 months was recruited as City Editor for the Fort McMurray Today, daily newspaper. I was an avid volunteer and began teaching newcomers to Canada English through the AB WriteBreak Adult Literacy Program, facilitating workshops for Canadian Mental Health Association and hosting a radio and a TV show. Further I went on to work as Corporate Trainer at Keyano College. Thereafter I worked as CASE Coordinator at the #ymm women’s shelter and took on the mantle of the Multicultural Association as their Executive Director. I moved to Edmonton after the forest fire in Fort McMurray have hosted a show Melange on Shaw and was a panelist on DiverCity for City TV. Later I discovered my passion for singing and plunged into antiracism work in the city.
Any regrets in life: Everything in life is an achievement or a lesson; I have no regrets
Pick any one of your the best achievements:
The turnaround for the Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo from $150,000 revenue to $650,000 in 3 years and huge growth in terms of membership, participation in programs and events, social impact and being recognized in the community. I received the Girls’ Inc of Northern AB Women of Inspiration award and the Mayor and Council Toast of champions award and was published in the book 150 accomplished women by GROW women leaders.
Were you ever discriminated? A few times even by fellow Indians who don’t believe I am Indian
What do you miss in Canada?
My connectedness with family and friends and the easy weather….. Going to mom’s and brother’s house and the housemaids of course.
Are you happy in Canada? Why?
I count my blessings: the slower pace of life, less traffic on roads, the lack of intrusion into your life by all and sundry, the dirt and grime and corruption in daily life
Any comments on Canada’s weather:
AB weather with its never ending winters is hard at first but then I realized I’m much less sick than I used to be in Mumbai. I love the summers and autumn here, the beauty is unparalleled and my kids love skiing in winters
Any comments on Canada’s culture: Overall the culture is very open and welcoming but there are hoops every immigrant has to jump through to grow and a hand from established people is the only way anyone can succeed.
What brought you success in Canada? Volunteering wholeheartedly in my skill and passion areas
Are you willing to help new comers? I used to mentor newcomers to build confidence and go through interviews. I would love to support newcomers here too. I also run a cookery class to help those are interested to learn to cook Indian Dishes.
Your message for Canadians of Asian origin: The sky is the limit, dream big and go make it happen. Communities need to realize that by supporting its members we all grow and if we undermine each other, we all lose. If you cannot support anyone, please do not hinder their growth. If you cannot say something good, avoid saying anything. If language is an issue, try developing fluency, do the certifications you need if you are a professional and let nothing deter you, not even other Asians.

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