Her Story
Lavanya Jothinataraj shares her experience of coming to Canada.

I was born to a Tamil Hindu family from the village, in Tamil Nādu, India. My father was a businessman running a micro-business in a nearby city, Trichy where we left behind the simple life, surrounded by green pastures for a better life. My parents emphasized education and strongly believed it’s the doorway for every girl-child to create an identity, develop a vision and forge her destiny.

“You’re off to great-to-great places. Today is your first day!
Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”
 – Dr. Seuss

From the words of Dr. Seuss, Sri Shankara school played a pivotal role for many like me who studied in this institution that incorporated its vision of wisdom to think and act while still upholding the cultural nativity and religious boundaries. The school was a catalyst, an epitome of higher education for many children.

I believe strongly in Education which is the most crucial tool which transforms the entire thinking and to learn decision-making techniques that would build everyone’s careers, aspirations, and innovations in the finest manner.

I wished to continue in the footsteps of my father to become an entrepreneur who inspired owning a micro business making difference within the community by supporting and lending loans to those who were unable to obtain them in traditional banks. The humanity and values stood out. So, I earned my Bachelor of Commerce. 

Mentoring has become a part of my life journey from childhood to date and I see only prosperity by sharing knowledge and building a purpose in one’s life.

After I received my B. Comm., the path to success was to achieve a master’s degree in actuarial science. I was encouraged and thank my parents and peers. I was fortunate in that I applied for and received grants and scholarships that covered my tuition.

I have left my home city to pursue my corporate dream. When you are far away from home the good practices and vibrance of the locality determine one’s strength to pull forward and test your skills.

I am passionate about cultivating intellectual, untapped potential and women empowerment. I continued to gain a foothold in the corporate world and continue with my passion for learning more.

As my career was started for a rocket blast a twist happened, I met an amazing soul and married him. He was living in Canada and happened to be from my community in my homeland.

The journey to be with your spouse and moving to a new land isn’t easy or a fairy tale. I wished to start a beautiful life with my husband, Balan Mahalingam after marriage, applied for spousal sponsorship and had lots of challenges during Covid including a distant relationship and communicating in a different time zone. Emphatically, leaving a career that I dreamt of was heartbreaking.

Applause to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada with the pandemic as its processes were revised and fast-tracked applications. I took a risk applying online which proved to be a worthwhile decision. The process was quicker than anticipated as I received Spousal PR and successfully landed in Edmonton, AB, Canada in the fall on September 14, 2022. I am living the moments of seasonal change with nature and all its beauty.

A memorable moment before leaving my homeland was the greatest compliment in my life returning to my undergrad school as a guest professor and being part of the centennial celebration. I was moved by the students who described their inspiration. Most of them were first-time college graduates from their families who moved to the city from the nearby village bagging their big dreams.

Life throws a curve ball with high achievement and years of experience. In the past six months, I have applied for several positions in human resources both entry-level and experienced, but the career ladder is quite steep. I managed to get into IBM Canada, IAA, and now into the Government of Alberta. Although all my opportunities are contractual, I believe strongly that I will land a great job soon.

While I volunteered for the Women in Leadership Conference held in Edmonton on November 3, 2022, I met a wonderful lady Kat Mooney. She is a super organized, humble, and generous person who motivated and encouraged me to share my story.

I end here with the term Never Ever Give Up and thank Kat for this amazing platform to share my experience.