Nearly two years in, she told HR Professional how her love of
immigration law and ability to make anyone feel comfortable are
helping her excel.
In your current position, what are your
main areas of responsibility?
Danielle Samuels: For new recruits coming to UBC, I help them
manage the entire transition from when they are here for their first
interview all the way through their first year and that off-boarding
period. We don’t just deal with faculty members – we also help
their families by offering spousal support and programs for their
children because the best success for a faculty member when relocating
to Vancouver is that their family can integrate smoothly. If
they don’t have to worry about their family, they are really able to
concentrate on work and striving for excellence in what they do
here. Really, we focus on helping in any way to transition their life
to Vancouver and have it be complete.
Another part of that transition is their immigration. I can help
them, if it’s required, with information for their work permit or
visas that they need and all the way through to permanent residency
once they’re here. Once we have a great faculty member, we
want to keep them and permanent residency is one way we can
help do that.
What does a typical day at work for you look like?
DS: We have a rotating clientele, which makes every day a little
different. I can be working with a client on relocation issues, or
putting on seminars and workshops with other people in HR on
immigration and administration at the university, or I can be running
events so that faculty and their family members can meet
each other. I can also be working on sensitive immigration issues
for staff or faculty on campus. It really runs the gamut.
What do you love about your job?
DS: The variety. You’re never bored. I get to talk to groups of people
about immigration and I’m a little bit of an immigration nerd,
so I love to answer questions and dig deep into it. I really enjoy
meeting new faculty members from all over the world. I mean,
we’re talking about people who are working in physics or opera
or theatre or economics or business, and the things they do amaze
me. It really inspires me to be even better at what I do because
they’re out there learning about and changing the world. While I
might not be on the world stage like some of them, I definitely can
help to advance UBC.
What are some of the challenges you
experience on a day-to-day basis?
DS: Changes in Canadian immigration law. Anyone who deals
with it knows that it’s always a challenge. But we all get together
and step back to look at the bigger picture of the implications for
our institution and then think about how this impacts the one client
I might be working with.
For relocation, the challenge is working with people from all
over the world and being able to adapt to each one of their needs.
It’s challenging but interesting because the way you help someone
with a family of six from Finland is different than how you help a
bachelor from California. In the end, they all want the same things
– they want a home and a fulfilling and successful career.
What skills do you possess that make
you a great fit for your position?
DS: I’m inquisitive and I really want to understand the nitty-gritty
of the laws and policy that I’m dealing with. I’m outgoing – I think
that’s really important. A lot of the people that you meet with don’t
necessarily want to take that first step to introduce themselves.
You have to take that step out of their hands and go up and make
them feel comfortable and welcomed.
What are your ultimate career goals?
DS: In my career, I’ve followed where the opportunities have led
me, predominately down the HR path but even within the immigration
specialization. Educating yourself and saying yes to
opportunities is very important, whether that is maybe one day
consulting, maybe working with other institutions or staying on
with UBC for the next 25 years – I don’t know. All of those would
be awesome but I’ve always just been open with my career path. ■
50 ❚ SEPTEMBER 2016 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL