Don’t give up, life will lift us up

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By Sophie Duan, a Doctor turned social enterpreneur.

The word IDENTITY has many meanings, the meaning I refertoday is “The fact of being who or what a person is”

I was born in northeast of China, a city close to Russia; the weather there was similar to Toronto and there was trace of Russian influence, such as food and architecture.

Being influenced by my pediatrician mother, I went to medical school to start my career journey, which I thought would be my lifetime career. I practiced medicine as a Radiology Physician for yearsbefore immigrating to Canada.

What is my identity for you now? asmart, hardworking and successfullady? medical doctor? abig deal, eh?

Longing for a brighter future and new adventure in life, dreaming one day my English would be as good as my Chinese and knowing nothing about what was laid ahead on my journey, I left my promised life as a medical doctor in China and with full of sense of wonder landed in Toronto in October 1997 with my family.It was a beautiful season. Colorful leaves were everywhere; green lawn covered the whole land. I felt I was in a fairyland and was thrilled in the beauty of nature … but the joy didn’t last long.

Life isa mystery; it shuts my door asa medical doctor and brings me to a roller coaster ride in this new land. As skilled immigrants, medical doctor is the toughest profession in terms of gettingback to career.

The economy was not in good shape at that time, I rememberedI was riding a bike along a major street in early winter and knockingon doors to look for job opportunities, but I couldn’t get any.
Since then I’vehad being a waitress in a restaurant on Queen street; an assembler in anelectronic manufactory in North York; a car sales in Scarborough;a laboratory technician in the Hospital for Sick Children; a network marketer; a manager of a wholesale and retail in Mississauga;a meat cutter in freezing cold room of a food manufactory; a clinical research professional in Toronto; going back to school after giving birth of my third child;being on maternity leave twice;being out of employment many times;becoming a single mother of three children.

Making for living was never an issue even a question for me in my entire life before moving to Canada. However during myyears in Canada, it became the #1 challenge for me, plus nohope of going back to my profession, it made me lose my identity. I didn’t know who I was and I identified myself as a looser, a failure…

Life is an amazing adventure. As long as we don’t give up, life will lift us up. Through initiating M-Bridge Culture Integration Society for Professionals, a non-profit organization in helping other immigrants, taking personal training and development programs and embracing the challenges of life regardless of circumstances, I started understanding what is the BEING as human and re-identifying who I am from inside out regardless how social identity defines me. I have succeeded in becoming a social entrepreneur. I am a culture integration trainer, communication, performance and leadership coach, and I own a consulting and communication business, The Duan Group.

Who I am is being joyful, faithful and powerful in making the deference. “Be the Change you wish to see in the world”.Well said Gandhi that is what I ‘m up to.

Sophie Duan
She co-founded M-Bridge and has been chairing it since then. Through helping immigrants' integration with her blessed gifts and embracing the challenges of life regardless of circumstances, she has succeeded in becoming a social entrepreneur. She is a culture integration trainer, communication, performance and leadership coach, and she owns a consulting and communication business. She currently is the Vice-Chair of Chinese Advisory Council at United Way of Peel Region.


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