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I recently had the chance to have a coffee chat with Effie Tseliou, a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant and vibrant member of the CAPIC association since 2018.

Effie's diverse educational and professional journey resonated with my experiences on multiple levels. With a Master’s degree in Business Management obtained internationally, she began her career journey in Canada as an administrative assistant in consulting. A pivotal moment in her career was when she started working as an executive assistant for RCIC; that’s when she discovered her true calling was not the business industry but immigration. After gaining valuable work experience, she actively sought to obtain her RCIC designation, which she did in 2018. Upon receiving her designation, she started her own business, assisting more and more people to call Canada their home.


Although my educational path and future career is in Accounting, during my coffee chat with Effie, I gained some valuable advice and tips that I will implement on my journey toward the CPA designation.


Our conversation was built around her personal experiences, work achievements, mistakes, and “what I wish I had known before” moments. As an aspiring CPA and someone who wishes to obtain a managerial role in the future, my questions were targeted and specific. Being an undergraduate student in a foreign country, I often find gaps in my plans, no matter how well-constructed they are. However, after my coffee chat with Effie, I can confidently say that most of those gaps have been filled. From this conversation, three key takeaways stayed with me: 

1.   Invest in your education


An undergraduate degree might have been sufficient to land you your dream job fifteen years ago. Today, the competition is so big that investing in continuous education is essential. It’s not only about standing out in an interview; work experience and how you present yourself can do that, too; it’s about technological innovations and new software systems that get upgraded daily. In Effie’s profession, these updates can include new immigration programs issued by the Canadian government or new forms. No matter what industry they are in,  professionals ought to advance along with technological breakthroughs and enhance their education to stay relevant and competitive. CPA Ontario offers its members a vast majority of courses and seminars, giving them an advantage in today's job market.

2.   Networking 

A professional network is essential for your career growth. Building relationships by engaging in networking events helps you create connections with individuals who can offer advice, opportunities and support throughout your career. Attending networking events during your undergraduate degree is a good start. Most student groups host networking events with recruiters, representatives from different companies and CPA representatives. Additionally, the PSAP program hosts similar events where you can make valuable and meaningful connections. For students who get internships, connecting with coworkers and maintaining those connections is imperative even when the internship is complete. The more people you know, the better.

3.   Find work and life balance

What most professionals share, no matter what industry they work in, is finding that perfect balance between work and personal life. Although this issue has been present for many years, after the pandemic hit, things changed drastically and not in a good way. With more people working from home, home became “work,” and those limits that once distinguished the two were gone.  It's vital to be able to separate them, and it’s something that now more than ever needs careful application. Setting strict boundaries is an excellent way to “log out” after work hours. Moreover, finding a hobby or exercising can keep you away from work emails and stress, and as a bonus, it benefits your mental health!



After the coffee chat with Effie, I feel more determined and empowered than ever. Is this what having a mentor feels like? Sharing your thoughts and goals with someone who has been there, done that and is currently standing where you hope to stand fifteen years from now is therapeutic. After discussing my current plan and getting her insight, I feel relieved that I am on the right track.  I know I am only beginning my journey and that it is a long one, but I know that every day that passes by brings me one step closer.


Some advice that I would like to offer to my peers following my coffee chat with Effie Tseliou is:

1.     Make meaningful connections in and out of work/university. The more people you meet and connect with, the higher the chances for future job opportunities.

2.     Establish a mentoring relationship. Having a mentor can help you work towards your goals in an innovative and rapid way. Learning from their mistakes and achievements is a great advantage.

3.     Invest in your education. Don’t be static; evolve with the times, and try to educate yourself constantly.

4.     Ask for constructive feedback. Ask your managers/professors for feedback and work on the aspects that you need improvement.

5.     Don’t let your feelings get affected by your work. Most people in the business industry meet new people every day, which can affect their personal feelings. Having empathy is an excellent quality to possess, but being able to separate it from your work is essential.



Considering everything, I can confidently say that my coffee chat with Effie was informative, beneficial and eye-opening. I learned a lot of things that I tried to incorporate in this blog, and I can only hope that someone else can benefit from them, too. It was a pleasant experience, and I hope to have this chance again in the future with more accomplished professionals.


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