Asian Heritage Month – Tasneem Razvi and the legacy she wants to leave for her children
In honour of Asian Heritage Month, we spoke with Tasneem Razvi, Supervisor of TV Sales at Rogers Sports & Media, about her experience living in Western Canada after she emigrated from India, and what her hopes are for her children’s futures.
Here is what she shared:
What was your experience like coming to Canada?
I grew up in India and immigrated13 years ago to Winnipeg as a student with my two kids
I landed in Winnipeg on a cold fall evening and felt like I was entering “a cold zone” as growing up in South of India, temperatures are typically in the high thirties and humid! When we landed in Winnipeg, we knew no one in the city – or even the country. But as scary and as intimidating as it was, I was hopeful and determined to build a successful life with my family in Canada.
I was grateful when I landed that many of the Canadians in Winnipeg were warm and welcoming, much like back home. It truly was “Friendly Manitoba.” That said, I did experience some racism and discrimination and so did my children. Looking back, it was obvious that we were a minority, and that we do not look like most people in the area. It was hard – I worried more for my children especially, when they would come back from school and ask me how to change their skin color to look lighter.
I have learned that there are many types of people, and that we must provide education and awareness of our cultures and our history in hopes that we can change any negative perceptions of our cultures. I think most people are inherently good, and in order to make progress and drive change, you must challenge people, encourage the right behaviours, and continue to educate.
What was it like finding work in Canada?
I finished my schooling in Winnipeg and landed a job right after graduation. As friendly as the people were, I just could not handle the extreme cold weather anymore and decided to relocate to Vancouver in search of warmer weather and growth opportunities.
When I moved to Vancouver, I struggled for nine months to find a job and I realized how important networking was here in Canada. It took a while, but I eventually found a role at Rogers as a Sales Coordinator. This experience made me realise that I must continue to work at building my network, earn my recognition and focus on career progression in order to develop my career.
Rogers is where I felt welcomed, and this is where I gained strength as a working professional in Canada. I was able to build connections, focus on professional development, make friends. There is a great energy in the corporate culture, and this is apparent in the employees. I felt like I could always be myself. I don’t know where my career will take me at Rogers, but I have been able to take it and own it.
Your kids will be brought up in a very different environment and will have different opportunities. What legacy do you want to leave them?
My story is about survival, and I hope to inspire my kids to be brave, take chances, and work hard. When I arrived in Canada, I had limited means, no network of any kind, but I had a family to take care of. I built my own network by working hard and getting out of my comfort zone, all while never losing sight of my core values.
I’ve taught them to be brave, to be proud of their culture and heritage and to always be their authentic selves. This also means understanding the diverse cultures of this amazing country, being respectful and accepting of people, the traditions and never to be a bystander. To be curious and learn about diversity in all its form and glory. I’ve led by example and stayed true to myself, that is my staple and the legacy I leave behind for my kids.