This story originally appeared in the Vaughan Citizen.
Parag Tandon lives by six simple words: pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
He experienced these words to be true as an immigrant to Canada, and now uses that mantra as inspiration to help other new Canadians.
“My focus right now is completely on diversity,” he said. “My intent is to be able to help newcomers integrate into the country.”
Vaughan resident Mr. Tandon was recognized for his efforts by being nominated by Canadian Immigrant magazine as one of 75 finalists in its quest to crown Canada’s Top 25 immigrants.Mr. Tandon is director of annual giving at Humber River Regional Hospital Foundation. He handles all annual events and campaigns that raise money for the new Humber River Regional Hospital. He has an honours bachelor degree in communications from Delhi University and an MBA in marketing from Jaipuria Institute of Management in India.
He was nominated by his friend Sarabjeet Singh, whom he met while working at OMNI Television. He hopes to be selected as one of the Top 25 Canadian immigrants.
Mr. Tandon originally moved to Canada nine years ago from India to further his career in film marketing. He said when he first arrived, he was unemployed for a year and a half and was unable to find an apartment due to not having a Canadian credit history.
It took more than a year of volunteer work before he was able to land a job. He said he now tries to make the transition to a new country as seamless as possible for immigrants.
Mr. Tandon helps immigrants find jobs by helping them with their resumes and finding them volunteer work related to their chosen careers.
In addition, he helps them fit into Canadian culture by educating them on small things that make a big difference. For example, he teaches them the difference between a footpath and a sidewalk, or the difference between petrol and gas.
“These are small things that we as Canadians understand, but newcomers don’t,” he said. “It’s very simple things that I try to help them out with, and that’s all it takes. They just need somebody to talk to.”
In addition, Mr. Tandon sits on the board of the United Way of York Region, is the co-chairperson of the diversity committee at the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is on the South Asian consultative committee for Toronto Police Services. He also served as the past secretary of the RCMP diversity council.
Mr. Tandon has been nominated into the top 75 finalists alongside well-known Canadians such as Donovan Bailey, Michael Ondaatje and Alfred Sung.
But despite the high-profile nomination, Mr. Tandon said he does what he does not for the recognition, but for personal satisfaction.
“My job is to do what I can, to help people achieve their goals in life,” he said. “I’m not into it for the awards.”
Readers can vote for Mr.Tandon into the top 25 by visiting http://www.canadianimmigrant.ca/top25.