A natural Connector, Lana Sheppard has been connecting people since she was a teen in Saskatoon, Sask., in the late 1970s. In high school she won a government grant that paid for an exchange trip with a high school in Richibucto, N.B. She arranged with the school principals for two classes of students to travel to each other’s provinces, visiting local attractions, and beginning friendships that have lasted decades.
As a Connector with CÉCS and the owner of two businesses, Lana has given many newcomers their first break in Canada. In Checks n Balances, her bookkeeping and payroll company, she generously assumes the cost of training new Canadians to learn local laws and systems. Along with using her connections to banks and businesses to help Connectees find local jobs, Lana has a knack for convincing her contacts to become Connectors themselves. She also uses her memberships in local business associations as a source for opportunities for newcomers, joking that she says “You’ve got to come and meet these people… I don’t give them the option!”
Lana also started Connector Café, a networking environment that gives Connectees a chance to practice their elevator pitch to businesses in a safe environment, so they can learn to be successful in Canadian workplaces. “I think being a Connector is so important because it helps newcomers grow roots in the community,” she said.
Sign up to be a Connector with your local Connector Program. To start a Connector Program in your community, please visit: https://connectorprogram.ca/connector-communities/