All the WOW events that I went to were great – WOW does give a sense of a community trying to improve its attraction and retention!

Caroline Andrew
Professor, University of Ottawa
We are very pleased to have done the “Opportunity Cost of Not Investing in Interpretation” report – it is so important to have clarity on these challenges and…

Hindia Mohamoud, Director, OLIP
The work and expertise that OLIP brings to our community is so important as it helps us to build bridges and break down silos.  I look forward to our continued work together. 

Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa
In our city’s history, immigrants have always played an important role. They build our economic prosperity, diversify our culture, contribute to our social vitality.

Jim Watson
Mayor of Ottawa
Canada has been shaped by people who came from all over the world to build this country. WOW offers a platform for us to celebrate this history and the future it will help…

Alex Munter, Chair of the OLIP Council and President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre
The WOW seminar on immigrant women’s nutrition and health was a step in the right direction towards closing the gap between academic researchers and service providers.

Josephine Etowa
Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Ottawa
My nomination is an indication that our hard work in building Canada is recognized. All we do is to serve the community in return for embracing us when we needed it.  

Mehdi Mahdavi
Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards Nominee
The Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre is so happy to have joined the OLIP Health and Wellbeing Sector Table. It is clear that OLIP cares about immigrants and refugees and…

Wendy Tang, Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre
I’m really impressed with the level of energy and commitment around the Health and Wellbeing table and look forward to continuing collaboration between OLIP and OPH.

Marcela Tapia
Ottawa Public Health
I was happy to see integration to Algonquin territory and indigenous culture related programming in 2014 WOW. Please continue to involve local Aboriginal organisations and…

Linda Manning
WOW 2014 participant, Senior Fellow, University of Ottawa

The “Bobby Effect”

June 14, 2018

Robert (Bobby) Sampson puts his skills as a well-connected lawyer to great use helping newcomers transition to the Canadian workforce. He does this so well, that some of his mentee’s describe his impact as the “Bobby Effect”.

Clémence Naré, Robert Sampson and Ayokunle Ogundipe

“Robert is a generous and dedicated mentor who helped me achieve my goal of teaching law at a Canadian university,” says Clémence Naré who moved to Ottawa from the United States in 2013. She is originally from Burkina Faso. Clémence was part of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s Federal Internship for Newcomers program.

“In 2015, I was lucky to be matched with Robert. Since then, I benefitted from his expertise and dedication as he guided me and supported me selflessly through my professional and personal settlement adventures, and he helped speed up my integration process in the very competitive Canadian labor market.”

Robert encouraged Clémence to apply for positions which she initially thought were out of her reach, and he reviewed and disseminated her resume within his wide professional network. He even introduced her to people in the legal field, opening doors that eventually led to her to becoming a part-time lecturer in international law at the l’École Nationale d’Administration Publique, Université du Québec en Outaouais.  Clémence also works with the International Institute for Sustainable development as a legal advisor and outreach manager for the Intergovernmental forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development.

“For newcomers, Robert is the perfect representation of Canadian generosity and welcoming communities, adds Clémence. “Robert helped bring back my hope and confidence. He encouraged me and it really made a difference. In fact, initially he believed more in me than I did.”

Ayokunle, a Nigerian lawyer who recently moved to Ottawa with his wife and two year-old daughter, echoes a similar sentiment. “Robert went above and beyond his role as a mentor. We met at least once a week before work, where he helped me with my resume and understanding of the Canadian cultural context and the complex process to become a Canadian lawyer.”

Robert arranged for Ayokunle to meet for a coffee with different types of lawyers and Ayokunle quickly found himself with three job interviews and two offers. In May 2018, Ayokunle started as a project manager with the Canadian Bar Association. “Robert showed me how valuable my skills were. It became a paradigm shift, as at first I thought I might have to settle for a survival job, but this job far exceeds my initial expectations.”

Once a mentee finds a job, the formal mentor/mentee relationship ends, but often the connection remains. “Robert went above and beyond and became my life coach,” adds Ayokunle. “He has helped me with other things, including finding a family doctor and a good mechanic. Our families now get together to socialize.”

“The most effective thing I can do for my mentees is to provide them with contacts, as people often get jobs through networking,” says Robert. And for Robert, it is incredibly satisfying to see success stories like Ayokunle and Clémence. He is truly humbled by receiving the Welcoming Ottawa Ambassador award and expresses a deep admiration for Clémence and Ayokunle by saying, “They put me to shame in how hard they work.”