With thousands of people from countries around the world immigrating to Canada each year, diversity recruiting is a priority at Sun Life Financial.
“Since our customers come from many cultural backgrounds, it’s important for us to work with financial advisors who share a common language and cultural understanding with their clients,” says Mississauga Financial Centre manager Perry Badham. “And in order to recruit these advisors, it’s critical that we also build a diverse management team that can build strong ties to different ethnic groups.”
At the Mississauga Financial Centre that is situated in a diverse community west of Toronto, fifty per cent of the managers are of non-Caucasian descent. This includes associate manager Deepesh Ahuja who emigrated from India in 2006. “My wife Mamta and I left behind well established lives and careers to begin a new life from scratch because we wanted to give our two young boys a more balanced life and access to more opportunities,” says Ahuja.
Prior to coming to Canada, Ahuja was an agency manager at an insurance company in India, and had previously held various management roles at other major corporations.
While many new immigrants have challenges finding employment in their field, Sun Life Financial was quick to recognize the value of Ahuja’s skills and experience and offered him a position as sales manager. Within just two years, Ahuja was promoted to his current role.
“Since I was already doing a similar job in India for quite a while, I was able to use this skill set to my advantage in my role at Sun Life Financial,” says Ahuja.
“My ethnic background also helped in the sense that I belong to a large demographic group within the local area, so it was quite easy for me to build a network of valuable contacts. I also speak several languages, which has made it easier to connect with other ethnic communities.”
Ahuja also volunteers his time with agencies that help new immigrants find employment. “I provide guidance on various topics like how to design a resumé and handle an interview, along with tips on job and business opportunities, including those available at Sun Life Financial,” he says.
Since joining Sun Life Financial nearly four years ago, Ahuja has recruited advisors with Korean, Chinese, Caucasian, Vietnamese, Caribbean, Ghanaian, East Indian and Ismaili backgrounds.
“In August 2009, we opened a subbranch of the Mississauga Financial Centre in Milton, which is one of the fastest growing areas in Ontario with a strong ethnic presence,” comments Badham.
“Deepesh will play a key role in successfully growing this subbranch through diversity recruiting.” For Ahuja, one of the biggest rewards of working as a manager at Sun Life Financial is helping his recruits build successful new businesses.
“I feel accountable to the people that I bring into this career,” he says. “So when I see an advisor buy a home or car, or achieve some other goal they have been working for, it gives me a feeling of happiness and satisfaction that I have done my job and kept my promise to that advisor, and to the person who referred the advisor to me.”
• If you’re interested in learning more about a career as an advisor with Sun Life Financial, please send an e-mail to recruit @sunlife.com or visit www.sunlife.ca/careers/advisor.