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“You’re more important than you think.”

That’s what a paid internship at LifeSpeak taught Tahmina Naznen.

Immigrating from Bangladesh, Tahmina arrived in Canada with a master’s in computer science and four years of experience. For six months, she struggled to secure permanent, meaningful work, losing confidence. But after a friend and fellow Career Edge alumni directed her to the program, Career Edge connected Tahmina to LifeSpeak, a Toronto-based health, well-being, and professional development organization, where she completed a paid placement as a web developer.

As an intern, Tahmina worked on continuous product improvement, client onboarding and support, and CMS development. She said she learned about Canadian work culture and its software industry while developing professional communication and independence skills. She also learned to never contribute less than her best.

“I was able to work like a full-time employee through this internship program. I was given real significant projects and I was able to tackle all tasks with proper enthusiasm and professionalism. My Career Edge experience at LifeSpeak was astounding.”

Her astounding experience as a Career Edge intern recently ended – but not her time at LifeSpeak. She won’t continue working like a full-time employee, because she’ll continue working as a full-time employee. Rewarding Tahmina’s ‘work hard no matter what’ approach, LifeSpeak hired her permanently.

She said, “My quick learning, teamwork, adaptability, and problem-solving skills encouraged LifeSpeak to retain me full-time.”

Tahmina Naznen (right) pictured with her mentor Daryl Smith.

Her assigned mentor, Director of Digital Operations and Infrastructure Daryl Smith, discussed his intern’s growth and value to the company.

“Tahmina was an excellent addition to our team. She had a solid set of skills and a great work ethic, and as a result, was able to make a contribution from the moment she arrived at LifeSpeak. Over the six months of the program, we expanded her role to include more complex development tasks, and a higher level of responsibility – she was able to complete any task I gave to her. By the time the internship was completed, she had become an important member of our development team.”

Daryl’s three-plus years of teaching at George Brown College prepared him as Tahmina’s mentor.

His intern said, “He’s been the best mentor in my entire professional career. From day one, he has guided and inspired me every day in all my work, which has helped me develop additional skills, confidence, and knowledge. Whenever I faced challenges, he helped me out. I’m so lucky and grateful to have had him as my mentor in this program.”

Daryl felt proud the LifeSpeak team could contribute to Tahmina’s career launch, recognizing the importance of giving back.

“Having lived in Toronto my entire life, I’ve met many very well-educated and talented people from around the world arriving to Canada and unable to work in their chosen field. It’s very important that we provide ways for these individuals to access the job market, so they can begin their careers in this country. It feels great that we were able to provide Tahmina, with her level of talent and skills, the opportunity to launch her career in Canada.”

LifeSpeak helps organizations keep their employees present, productive, and thriving, making it easier for employees and their families to access the support they need to overcome hurdles and accomplish goals. LifeSpeak has improved the well-being of employees of many Canadian award-winning companies ­– and it’s improved Tahmina’s socioeconomic well-being.

With regained confidence, and a full-time position working to help others, she recommended paid internships to other internationally qualified professionals. Tahmina described Career Edge as a “life-changer” and discussed the impact of a paid internship.

“As a newcomer to Canada, when I was struggling to get a job as I did not have any Canadian work experience, Career Edge helped me overcome this barrier by giving me the opportunity to interview with LifeSpeak. And after that, I never had to turn back. My journey with LifeSpeak and Career Edge was pretty smooth – and it’s helped me start my Canadian journey.”