Okey Ejibe Mentor Feature
Okey Ejibe is an accomplished lawyer from Nigeria who immigrated to Canada in September 2020.
“Around 2018 my wife had suggested we move to Canada,” says Okey. “I didn’t think it was a good idea, it didn’t make sense to me, and the reason why was understandable, because I had quite an accomplished career back home.”
When their application and permanent residencies were approved, Okey came to help his family move and quickly decided he would be moving with them.
“Somewhere within me I was hoping it wasn’t going to go through,” says Okey. “I was thinking to myself, ‘If I move to Canada I’m not even going to be able to practice law.’”
Upon arriving in Canada, Okey faced the challenge of finding work as a new immigrant.
“There was a time I sent out an average of 15 applications a day, it wasn’t easy. You keep wondering how would I get Canadian experience if no one gives me an opportunity?”
It was during this time that Okey connected with CRIEC, Bruce Randall, and Rosa Martinez, who helped guide him toward the right people and opportunities.
“It was then that it dawned on me that I had never really applied for a job before,” says Okey.
Bruce helped Okey focus his CV and job application, to better utilize his “eclectic work background,” and get him in front of the right people.
“It was quite encouraging, you can imagine being in a situation, you’ve tried connecting with people and you’ve been ignored, gotten no’s, applied for jobs and you don’t even get a response. Then you meet with someone who’s looking at your resume and telling you ‘I have no doubt you’re going to succeed in this environment.’”
Okey wrote and completed his NCA exams in five months.
Okey recalls that before moving to Canada, he would take the time to act as a mentor to his younger colleagues, “I would always commit time to support younger professionals and my colleagues. I know how difficult it can be to get good opportunities.”
“I appreciate it more now,” explains Okey, “I’m very happy that I committed my time to support young professionals and guide them.”
Okey now mentors through CRIEC and speaks of the concept of “one yes.”
“The power of one yes is unimaginable. That one yes could erase 200 no’s,” says Okey.
Okey wants to be that ‘One Yes’, offering his mentees growth, connection and support where and when they need it.