Nazia Iqbal moved alone from Pakistan to Canada as a student. Despite facing tremendous cultural obstacles, she powered through initial struggles to climb from retail banking to impressive corporate roles, breaking barriers for immigrant women along the way. Gain an uplifting blueprint and mindset-shifting insights to overcome your career struggles as a newcomer.

Episode Highlights:

  • Arriving in a New Country and Culture
    • Dealing with the shock of doing everything solo for the first time
    • Facing bitter Canadian winters and health challenges
  • Launching a Career from Scratch
    • Convincing the bank to take a chance on her
    • Learning sales skills on the fly with zero training
    • Managing intense pressure, quotas and customer demands
  • Corporate Culture and Communication Barriers
    • Cracking norms that prefer silence from women and immigrants
    • Battling imposter syndrome to gain confidence in sharing opinions
  • Unexpectedly Building a Network of Advocates
    • Relationships with casual lunch buddies paying off with key referrals
    • Winning promotions due to good performance instead of connections

Key Takeaways:

  1. Stick it out in tough entry-level jobs to gain experience and work toward career goals.
  2. Speak up and be assertive instead of waiting for permission or a formal invitation.
  3. Don’t assume people will think less of you for needing help – proactively ask for help.
  4. Cultivate genuine work relationships – you never know where they may lead.
  5. Develop transferable skills everywhere possible to increase options down the road.
  6. Conclusion: Let Nazia’s perseverance inspire you to rise above the labels, challenges and preconceptions that hold far too many newcomers back. Remember, every small win and connection opens more doors over time. Stay patient yet assertive and know your career is what you make of it, despite external perceptions.

Where to find Nazia

Where to find Miguel


In this episode, we cover:

  • 00:00 – Introduction
  • 03:04 – Who is Nazia?
  • 04:43 – Nazia’s journey to Canada
  • 05:36 – Nazia’s first professional job
  • 10:27 – Importance of customer-facing roles
  • 11:16 – Transitioning from retail banking to corporate
  • 14:55 – Battling impostor syndrome
  • 18:03 – Adapting her communication style
  • 19:57 – Finding her voice as a woman
  • 22:14 – Learning to advocate for herself
  • 23:05 – Importance of performance and relationships
  • 24:34 – Developing networking skills
  • 25:26 – Focusing on quality connections
  • 26:20 – Building genuine relationships
  • 27:08 – Power of showing appreciation
  • 28:02 – Staying positive through challenges
  • 28:43 – Being the first woman in her family to study abroad
  • 29:34 – Appreciating her opportunities as a woman
  • 30:33 – Staying grounded in gratitude
  • 31:07 – Finding peace through perspective
  • 31:56 – Book recommendation on gratitude
  • 32:40 – Flipping negative mindsets
  • 33:24 – Her successful corporate career journey
  • 34:05 – Battling impostor syndrome
  • 34:17 – Focusing on input over output
  • 35:36 – Wishing for better time management skills
  • 36:45 – Struggling to be independent
  • 37:06 – Billboard advice for newcomers
  • 37:53 – Reflecting on what situations teach you
  • 38:00 – Advice for struggling newcomers
  • 39:06 – Importance of asking for help
  • 39:57 – Conclusion and final thoughts

AI-generated Transcript (Click here)

Miguel Abascal
Welcome to another episode of Newcomers on Fire. Now we are at 20 podcast. To truly enjoy the full 20 podcast experience, we recommend downloading the Fountain FM app at the end of the show. I will walk you through on how to do this because we have some pretty cool rewards for you. Before we dive into today’s discussion, I have a quick request. If you have been enjoying our show and finding value in the stories and advice we share, please consider supporting the show by leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Your feedback means the world to us and it helps us better serve you, so drop us a review and let us know what you love the most about this episode.


Miguel Abascal
Doing this also helps other newcomers discover our podcast, making it a valuable resource for more people on their journey to making their dreams a reality. Thank you for being a part of our community and for your continued support. When Nazia landed in Canada as a student from Pakistan, she carried only a visa and big career ambitions. Despite facing tremendous cultural obstacles, she powered through initial struggles to climb from retail banking to impressive corporate roles, breaking barriers for immigrant women along the way. Now a rising star at a top canadian bank, Nazia shares the mindsets and tactical skills that fuel her resilience and success. Listen as she transparently opens up about imposter syndrome and finding her voice to speak up boldly. Learn how she developed confidence, build relationships with casual work friends, and stay relentlessly positive through challenges.


Miguel Abascal
Whether you feel silenced, overlooked, or held back as a newcomer, women let Nazia’s story ignite your belief in your own potential. Discover practical tips for launching your career, speeding up promotion, adapting your communication style, and overcoming self limiting doubts. With Nazia’s story, walk away encouraged, equipped, and empowered.


Welcome to the newcomers on Fire show with your host, Miguel Abascal. Listen to people like you sharing their journeys, struggles, and their breakthroughs. Be ready to be inspired to take control of your time, career, finances, and future. Fulfill your potential. Become the person you’re meant to be and make your dreams a reality.


Miguel Abascal
Welcome back to another episode of Newcomers on fire. Today I’m super excited because we have Nazia, and I met Nazia working at Scotiabank, and I can tell you she’s a rising star. I always tell her that it’s like, wow, I’m impressed at how fast and how quickly you have done what you have done and how you have been moving mountains. So without further ado, Nazia, could you please tell us a little bit more about yourself? Who is Nazia? How long have you been in Canada? How did you came to Canada? A little bit more about that.


Nazia Iqbal
Thank you, Miguel. And thank you for always being very generous with your compliments. So who am I? I am a pakistani Canadian. I moved to Canada, I would say now 15 very long years ago. I’ve lived in Montreal, I’ve lived in Toronto. I am one of the fortunate newcomers who had the ability to come here at a young age and to be able to study here. I came here to go to McGill. Then after Miguel, I lived in Montreal and then I moved down toronto, got my first job at Scotiabank. And rest is longest, I think, after Canada, I think Scotiabank is the longest commitment of my life so far, eight plus years. Red seems to be the key theme of my life, Canada. Miguel. Scotiabank is a lot of luck and success.


Nazia Iqbal
So yeah, red seems to be the color of my life as I met really, like every time now I do anything new, I’m going to have rep somewhere nearby. I’ve convinced myself that’s my color. I met Miguel during product management, but I’m currently in customer strategy at Scotiabank. So yeah, it’s 15 long years in Canada, but feels like yesterday, I would say definitely.


Miguel Abascal
And can you tell us more about when you came with your family here? Did everything went according to plan? What kind of challenges did you face? How did you felt about that?


Nazia Iqbal
So I actually came here on my own. I still don’t have any family here, so I came to Canada when I was going to university by myself, things go to plan. I think university was a learning curve of its own. I think coming from Pakistan to Canada, I learned quite a bit. I remember the first time I went grocery shopping, I called up my mom and I was like, there are three types of onions. So it was just like so much learning from cooking, cleaning, studying at the same time. First winter in Canada, I got borderline pneumonia. So did things go to plan? No, I think, but you learn, you grow. And the difference between my first year GP and second year GPA would definitely tell you that.


Miguel Abascal
Oh, wow. It’s incredible because I came also by myself and it was super hard. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. But you came to do your university. So I’m again so in awe and so impressed about just your decision of doing it because it’s really hard. And also, okay, you study here and then you start your career. Tell us more about how do you got your first professional job.


Nazia Iqbal
I actually did my first job in Montreal before moving down toronto, but I knew I wanted to be in banking and I knew I wouldn’t get that opportunity in Montreal because of French. So when I moved on toronto, honestly, I just applied to jobs. I’d be very honest, not knowing clearly what you’re applying for because I think when you’re starting off your career, you see entry level jobs and you just put your resume forward and you figure it out on the go. And I give my interview, I still remember the bloor and young branch. My first job was as financial advisor. I still remember actually what I wore when I went to that interview. And I still know the people who interviewed me. Two out of three are still at Scotia bank, which tells you of how long, Scotiabank, you have long careers.


Nazia Iqbal
But, yeah, I think I was. To be very honest, I think I was myself at the interview and I think that’s what clicked for them and clicked for me. It’s just in terms of it was a customer facing job, it was a sales job, financial planning. I don’t think I knew much about financial planning, but I think they hired me in terms of someone who could do the job. And I think that’s something that has stayed in my career. I’ve never gotten hired for a job I knew how to do, but the person interviewing me thought I could do it. So that’s what helped me.


Miguel Abascal
That’s incredible. And I started at the bank as a tailor and then moved to as a financial advisor. Another very difficult job, to be honest, because I remember being a tailor and a financial advisor and at the same time you’re talking with a customer, trying to have a conversation and build rapport and have an incredible experience. On the back of your mind, you’re checking the system to see if the check is good. If it’s fraud. It is not fraud. A lot of things happen. So it’s like, that’s a lot. And on top of that, of course, there are sales quotas and there is objectives that you need to meet. So again, a really interesting job. I did love it, to be honest, because it was hard. But my question I have for you is, was that what you were looking for after finishing school?


Miguel Abascal
Was that something that said, you know what, this is my thing.


Nazia Iqbal
No, absolutely not. I think if you asked me what I wanted to do at that point, I would have told you. I was like, long story. I was supposed to go to law school. But I think what I was really looking for was a research job. I was good with data analysis. I’d worked as a research assistant for close to three years when I was in McGill. So that was really what I wanted to do. Did I think I could sell? Probably not. But I think I’m an extrovert. So it was easy for me to interact with customers. And at that point, I was trying to get my pr. I was on a student visa. I’d gotten my work permit. Being very realistic, I needed to make sure I get the work experience so I can get my permanent residency.


Nazia Iqbal
So I think my career at that point was not what’s the best job for my career? I had bills to pay. My parents were not sending me money. I don’t come from a very rich background, obviously. I had to pay my bills, take care of things, work towards my pr. So I think it was what would keep me stable was my priority. And I would honestly say anyone and everyone at the start of their career should do a sales job. I think it completely changes your personality and your ability to understand human beings. To your point, it’s a very tough job. But you learn so much by doing a sales job. Whatever. Even if you work as a barista, do it. Do something that’s customer facing. You’re going to understand Canadians to a whole different level.


Miguel Abascal
I love that advice because it’s so true. I work at the important restaurants maintenance branch. And you’re also right. Even understanding different accents, different ways of communicating, different personalities, and reading people to say, like, okay, this person looks happy, doesn’t look that happy. How can I help? I love that advice so much. And you’re right, it sounds that as a financial advisor, was your stepping stone. Now after that, your next chapter is you move from being in retail to corporate. And that’s one of the hardest things I ever seen, to be honest. Like jumping from retail to corporate, it takes a lot of effort. It takes a lot of help as well. So if you can tell us a little bit more about that would be great.


Nazia Iqbal
I think I focused on a couple of things to do that I think first thing I focused on is for my performance at my level. I think a lot of times when people are in a job they don’t like, they tend to do poorly because they’re looking for an alternative. They check in and check out. I would say you really hurt yourself because you always need advocates wherever you are. It’s temporary. Nothing in life is permanent. So I think I made sure my performance spoke for me because at the end of the day, I gave my job. Even whether I knew it was temporary, I wanted or didn’t want it. I made sure my performance stood by my side. And I think that’s what helped me actually get a double promotion back in the day.


Nazia Iqbal
I don’t know if you remember vs to PBO, level four advisor, level five, then level six. I made sure I performed to go from level four to level six directly, so I think that really helped my trajectory. And I think the second thing I would say that really helped me. And I had no network even back then. I think my earlier jobs were on merit. I think the second thing that really helped me was I understood that if I’m working nine to five and I want to get ahead of people who work nine to seven or nine to eight or nine to nine, I need to put in the same hours.


Nazia Iqbal
So if my work was consuming nine to five and I was doing well, then I took courses to catch up because I knew I would always lag behind them if I didn’t do something extra. Because at the end of the day, someone else is competing for the same job I’m competing for tomorrow and they have more relevant experience than I do. How do I make myself stand out? Because they’ll always win. So I focused on making sure I’m building courses. I might not get that experience at work, but where else can I get that experience? So whether you do courses, I did courses, but if you want to volunteer in another space, the goal is to build those skills. So I think that really helped me sort of break that barrier.


Nazia Iqbal
And I didn’t have a network, but I think if you do well in your job, your boss could be your advocate. And I think I would give a lot to my branch manager and another manager who was not even my direct manager at the branch, who both helped me get that double promotion because I did right by them, so they wanted to do right by me. So I think it’s just people are there, do right by other people and they’ll do right by you. So they advocated when an opportunity opened up and said, you know what? She can do the level six job. So I think that kind of helped me.


Nazia Iqbal
And I think when I was a level six, again, a lot of people, I think when I was applying for corporate jobs, I think I was very clear that I know it’s an unheard story and I know it’s hard, but I also knew that if someone couldn’t do it, doesn’t mean I can’t do it. So everyone told me, apply for level six. You need to take a step back. I was like, no, I’m not going to do that. I have worked hard. I’ve cleared my level one level two CFA. My performance is good. I got a double promotion. I’m still performing well and my performance is going to speak for me. I think just believing in yourself and I think it’s hard, but we all have a lot of impostor syndrome.


Nazia Iqbal
But I think just believing in myself kind of help and making sure you interview well. Sorry, that was very long.


Miguel Abascal
Chanted no, it’s perfect because let’s unpack it a little bit. You got a double promotion because you’re an amazing high achiever, high performer, and I know it, I have witnessed it. So that’s why I wanted to talk to you today. And not only that, you jumped from retail as a level six to corporate as a manager of GICs, which is also a really tough product. It’s difficult. It’s so many different versions, variables, you name it, we can talk about that for hours. But what I’m talking about is you landed into that promotion and you again hit it again out of the park like crazy. I remember seeing you present your recommendations, like, super strong, super prepared. And my question to you is, were you always like that or were you had to prepare? What is behind the scenes for NASA?


Miguel Abascal
Like, you’re having a meeting with executives, you’re presenting, you’re doing an interview. What did you do to do it so well?


Nazia Iqbal
Honestly, I would say I would give a lot of credit to my boss who hired me. He knew when he hired me, I didn’t know anything because he was hiring someone from a sales job to a corporate job. And the skill set required is very different. And I said this earlier, every time I’ve gone hired someone believe I could do the job, not because I knew how to do the job. So I think he took a chance on me very well knowing that I would be able to do it. And I remember he told me after the interview, one of the reasons why he hired me was a my personality. In the interview, he realized, I’m curious. I’ve always wanted to learn. And second was because I was an immigrant and came on my own.


Nazia Iqbal
He understood my resiliency because he was an immigrant himself. And I think behind the scenes, I will honestly tell you, and I even told this to my boss on my goodbye party, not before. When I was hearing that job, I said, every time you spoke, I just made notes. I had no idea what you were asking me to do, but I would go and I would google it and I would watch YouTube videos. It used to take me five times the amount of time at the start. And if I show you my presentations I used to start and ended up. It was just so different. I did LinkedIn courses, me, like internal Scotiabank courses, YouTube videos to figure out models, presentation skills.


Nazia Iqbal
It was just a lot of hard work that went into it in terms of once I got the work that figuring that out, it didn’t come easy, but just in terms of making sure I’m learning. And I think I got lucky. With the leadership, they give you a lot of space to have an opinion, and I think if you can back that up with quality, you’re set up for success.


Miguel Abascal
I love that story. And I knew it. You know what it’s like? I have a feeling that she prepares like crazy because every time it looks so natural, it looks like you just had this thought out of the blue. But I knew that when something looks so easy is that a person is putting countless hours just to master and perfect their skills. So thank you for sharing that. And you are right. Like, the leadership that we had in that department was incredible. We were able to speak up something that personally I struggled a lot was to speak up and to challenge authority because from my cultural perspective, my cultural background, that’s something that you don’t do. You don’t tell the senior vice president you are wrong or that’s incorrect or that’s actually a bad decision.


Miguel Abascal
But in this department, that was one of the first times where I’ve seen it so much and it was like, wow. My question to you, Nasia, did you have to adapt or modify your cultural background, or is there anything from the canadian culture and the pakistani culture that had to switch a little bit just to be the rising star that you are?


Nazia Iqbal
I think in the pakistani culture, women are invisible. I think you are a second class citizen to a whole different level. You’re not present in public spaces. And I remember when I started, and I used to be very quiet in meetings, my boss asked me, he’s like, you’re not timid? Then why won’t you speak up? Because I’ve spoken to you one one. And I think it’s just shifting that and making sure you’re heard, especially in the product. I was. There were a lot of times I would be in meetings and I’d be the only women girl in a room surrounded by men. But directors, people had a lot more experience. I think it’s just finding your voice.


Nazia Iqbal
And, yeah, I think for me, what I had to shift was finding my voice because if I didn’t speak up, I was not going to be heard to the point that I think I found my voice too much. The first time my VP at my current job met me, she honestly thought I’d be 6ft tall. And when she met me and I was a five three height woman, she was just a big personality for a small person.


Miguel Abascal
I can attest that your personality and I think the way that you speak up is one of the factors that sets you apart, that makes you the way you are and the success that you are having today. I think it has a lot to do from my perspective and that’s why I love it. Every time I talk to you it’s like, yes, I need to learn more from hair. I need to repeat your steps in a way too, because it’s success leaps clues, right? So definitely speaking up, that’s very important. Now, not only you did a great job in retail, you go to product and you also did an amazing job. Generated millions and millions of dollars of revenue. Incredible. Now you got another promotion. Can you tell us more about that? How did you engineer that? What happened?


Nazia Iqbal
I think this one. So were in the ecosystem and I think I just talked to everyone and I think what really helped me get this promotion was I literally reached out to someone who was my peer in another team and I said, I’m interested to learn about this job. Could you tell me more? And I think I would say at that point I was looking a. I knew that I was ready for a level up. And I think what also really helped me was that an army of women, strong leaders at Swishy bank who were not my direct boss, but directors in the same team, and they really taught me that you are in the driver’s seat of your career. If you’re not going to learn to be your own advocate, if you’re not going to learn to believe in yourself, no one will.


Nazia Iqbal
So I think that really made me believe that, no, I’m going to go for the higher level job, I’m not going to make a lot of move. And I think I kept applying because it was in the middle of COVID or at the start of COVID When I started looking start of COVID there were very few jobs and far between and I kept applying. So I think be resilient when you get a no, understand, keep learning. And I think it was relationships totally that helped me just I reached out to my peer and I spoke to him about the job and then again, performance spoke for me. Having launched projects, done successful execution, I think it was very easy for him to advocate for me to his boss.


Nazia Iqbal
So I think be mindful of your relationships, be mindful of how you show up at work. Make sure you have good performance. Even if you don’t get that promotion you had your heart on. It’s okay because at the end of the day, if you’re good at your job, no one person will determine your future. I think you can write your own story, but just always know to be honest to your work. I think that will help. And be kind to the people you work with because I think, and it’s funny because even when I was getting interviewed for that job, there were two directors on the call. The person who was my hiring manager, I didn’t know her at just I think she was interviewing me because her team recommended me.


Nazia Iqbal
But the other person on the call was someone I used to randomly get lunch with in the eco. Never worked with him and he was on the call. He’s like, oh, I’m interviewing Nas today. And it shifted the entire interview for me because obviously we are all nervous. But I think I was lucky that the person interviewing me, the second person on the call, was someone I used to have lunch with randomly and I became friends with him in the ecosystem. And even the person who recommended me was not someone I ever worked with. But I used to sit in eigth floor, any open, where the entire other team used to set that looks at policy and governance in our bank. So yeah, build relationships everywhere you go.


Miguel Abascal
That’s incredible. So pretty much you become really good at networking without even networking in a way that is visible. It was just like, hey, let’s have a lunch, let’s interact. And I can also say that I remember that you will always lay a helping hand, you will always be there, super helpful to help with projects, with initiatives, with anything that has to do with different departments being together. So that’s what I was like, okay, that makes sense. Now tell us more about the importance of network and networking because I remember that you mentioned you didn’t have a network or a network before, but now it seems that you have developed thanks to your performance, thanks to who you are, a very strong list of advocates, sponsors, mentors. Tell us more. How did that happen?


Nazia Iqbal
Honestly, I think you get better at it with time. I think initially, first you struggle to ask someone to speak to you because you’re like, why would they be interested? I think it’s a journey. I got better at asking people to speak to me. Then my next hurdle was figuring out what will I talk to them about? And then it was like, okay, how do I take that one time coffee to an actual relationship to that actual authentic relationship, which is not about anything but building a connection with someone. So I think it was a bit of a journey for me. I got better at it with time, but I think that came with confidence. I no longer reach out to people and have a connection with someone in terms of a department I’m interested in, but it’s more on the person I like.


Nazia Iqbal
So I meet someone now regularly in the digital side, a different, completely different part of the bank. Meet someone in commercial banking, meet someone regularly in Tangerine, meet someone regularly in my own department. It’s not about levels, it’s not about what department they’re in. They’re just people who I saw them in a networking event, who were giving a presentation in a meeting or who I met passing by. And I just genuinely wanted to learn from them. I love their approach to life, I love their approach to their work and I wanted to learn from them. And I think that relationship came genuinely afterwards.


Miguel Abascal
That’s amazing. So pretty much from what I understand is like, you don’t focus on quantity, you focus more on quality, you focus on building a relationship more than a transaction or a transactional thing that just happens once and it’s done and you are always proactive and looking and reaching out. So those are really good pieces of advice. Thank you. Another thing that comes to mind is, like you mentioned it, the pakistani background for women is like, we are invisible in Canada. I see you and it’s like, oh, wow. Huge transformation just to what I can see. My question is, when things are not great and when things are hitting the fan, how do you keep so confident? How do you keep so positive? How you keep moving forward? What’s the driver of that strength and great mental health?


Miguel Abascal
Because personally, I will be super sad or I will be super angry or I will be like, I don’t want to talk to anybody in this world because life is miserable. But, yeah, with your story and because I know you, it’s like, yeah, it’s always like, great. So if you can share a little bit more about that secret, that would be amazing.


Nazia Iqbal
I think on the tough days, I always remind myself that I’m the first women in generations in which I was allowed to leave the country to study.


Miguel Abascal
Oh, wow.


Nazia Iqbal
So I’m very mindful of that. So just to give you context, I come from a family where most women get married really early. All my cousins are younger than me, are married, have two to three kids each. And I think you study till you get married. So I think I was the first one who was allowed to move out of a parent’s house, not to go to a husband’s house, but to study. So I think I always remind myself of that privilege, of that gratitude, and that I have a purpose bigger than myself. So I have to pay it forward. I have to remember that I have the opportunity to decide everything in my life. There’s peace in my life, in a way, I think the country I come from, women are in a lot of abusive marriages.


Nazia Iqbal
They don’t have the opportunity to move out. I think my life is a choice, and I think that keeps me grounded on those tough days, because you know what? It’s a hurdle. And I’m not saying I allow myself to cry it out, be angry about it, go through all my four or five stages of grief. But I think at the end of the day, I remind myself that my life is a gift, because it truly is. I’m a pakistani muslim girl. The difference between me and the person who works in my house is I was born in the right household. That’s it. That’s the difference between our faith. And I think 2% of pakistani population isn’t that privileged. So there’s nothing I did to deserve 90% of the things I have in my life. It’s because I was born in the right family.


Nazia Iqbal
So I think I’m very mindful of that and remind myself of that on the bad days.


Miguel Abascal
Oh, wow. It’s incredible. You were sharing that, and I was feeling just goosebumps and electricity moving along. Just because you’re so right sometimes, and especially I declare myself guilty about this, that we focus so much on ourselves that we forget the bigger picture, that we forget that it’s not about me, it’s about the other. It’s about serving, it’s about helping, it’s about the community. And. Wow. Thank you. So.


Nazia Iqbal
Ask. I don’t know if you read Titianan’s book. I’m forgetting the name of the book right now, but he talks about, there’s meditation in everything. You can be angry about the fact that you have to wash dishes and you’re like, oh, dishes are pelta. Or you can find gratitude in the fact that you have running water. So I think it’s just shifting perspective that we live in a country where we have electricity, we have running water, your kids have health care, you have health care, you have free education. I think there’s always being mindful of what we have versus what we don’t have. And I love book. If you could read it, I highly recommend it, although I’m really pranking out on the, if you pick any book by him, it’s going to be good.


Miguel Abascal
Yeah. Okay, I’m going to ask and we’ll put it on the show notes because definitely I would love to read that. That reminds me of a mentor telling me, mikhail, you just need to change one word to change your future and your destiny. And I was like, okay, what is this? Just one word? And he’s like, yeah, just change half with get. And it’s like, what do you mean it’s like, yeah, for example, when you say, oh, I have to take out the garbage. It’s like, no, you get to take out the garbage. It’s a privilege. And I was like blown away as well because it’s like, oh wow, what if I couldn’t, right? I have the opportunity to do it the way I’m doing it, but what if things change? What if I’m not allowed?


Miguel Abascal
What if so many, and then you start thinking I’m going back to being grateful. So it’s like the circle of like, yeah, it’s gratitude. Oh, NASA, if I admire you before so much today, it’s the next level. It’s incredible. Just to recap, you came to this country as a university student by your own and then after that you started in a job that it was okay, but then you hit it out of the park. And because of that great performance, you get into a difficult area to land, to be honest. Product. A lot of people ask me how can I get into product? And it’s like, well, there are two kinds of jobs. The ones that you land and the ones that you grow.


Miguel Abascal
And usually products you need to grow within because it’s a lot of content, a lot of information, a lot of policies, a lot of, so much that it’s hard for somebody to take the leap on. Somebody say like, yeah, I will teach you everything because they don’t have time. And then not only that, the way you do networking, the way that you approach the curiosity of unlearning and mentoring, then you grew into another promotion and then you just keep growing. And now that I know the secret about how you are so resilient and just keep moving forward, it’s like, yes, I just want to be a little bit more like you.


Nazia Iqbal
You’re so sweet. My impostor syndrome is still very high. So thank you. I’m going to try to take all your kind words and just let it breathe it all in.


Miguel Abascal


Nazia Iqbal
Beyond that, I don’t know what to say.


Miguel Abascal
You know what it happens the same to me. Sometimes it’s like, oh, sometimes especially high achievers and people that try to do a lot, our inner voice might be loud and sometimes louder than initiative because it’s just like the things that we’re doing. But the only consideration I can give it to you, and a mentor told me this yesterday, is like, do not focus on the output. Focus on the input. Because we do not have control on the output. But we do have control on the input. So, for example, let’s go to a simple example of sales. It’s like, I need to sell $10 million of mortgages. It’s like, yeah, that’s great. Focus on the input. The only thing that I can control is call ten customers or 20 or 100. So if I did that and the outcome happened, perfect.


Miguel Abascal
If not, okay, but I deliver on my input, and if you focus on the input, then you don’t have the stress of the output. So I was like, oh, I wish I knew that earlier in my life because so much stress just because of that. Also mental change. And this goes into the question that I have for you, Nasia, in terms of what do you wish you knew before you came to Canada?


Nazia Iqbal
Sorry, I missed the question a little bit. Yeah.


Miguel Abascal
What do you wish you knew before coming to Canada?


Nazia Iqbal
I think better time management. I think when I came to McGill, I think what I really struggled with was my time management because I wasn’t accustomed to having to do so much on my own, and I think I struggled to organize myself. And if that is something I can go back and tell anyone before they come here and they’re preparing to go for university or moving, it’s just, how do you sustain yourself without a support system? Because even when you’re sick, you will have to get yourself to that clinic. You will have to do the grocery shopping because you do need to be fad. So I think it’s just being more organized. Time management. How do you bake all of those if scenarios? And I think, I wish I was better at it back then. It took me a couple of years.


Nazia Iqbal
I’ve gotten the hang of it, but I wish I was better at that back then.


Miguel Abascal
That makes sense. And if you had the opportunity to have one billboard, that billboard can be seen by all newcomers of Canada, what would you put on that billboard? It could be a phrase. It could be a quote. What would you say to all of them?


Nazia Iqbal
I think it’s a little cheesy, but I think I love this one. I think a lot of times when things are happening a lot of times you question whether you believe in the universe, the God, any higher power. You’re like, why is this happening to me? I think it is shifting that. And ask yourself, every time you’re in a moment, a tough moment, a good moment, any moment, reflect and ask yourself, what is it trying to teach me? I think that would be a piece of advice that I would give to people as they’re trying to figure their new life out. Say, what is the situation trying to teach you? Because a lot of things that are happening, they’re not personal. It’s never about us.


Nazia Iqbal
So I think you just take that moment to reflect so that you can pick yourself up and keep going.


Miguel Abascal
Oh, wow. Natia, if you ever run for prime minister, I will vote for you. Definitely. I love that. Thanks so much. Any last words of wisdom for struggling people trying to find that first professional job, like people with master’s degree, working at Tim Hortons or Uber, saying, like, oh, I don’t know what’s wrong, or, I don’t know what’s going on, but any last, I guess, words of wisdom for that kind of people that are listening to us.


Nazia Iqbal
Ask for help. There are many people who’ve gone through what you’re going through. Try to figure out someone who has a similar story as yours and learn from them. I think there’s nothing you’re going through in life that someone else hasn’t gone through. So find the people who can help you and can be sort of your north star goal or your hope in those dark days. I think that could really help for you to keep pushing forward.


Miguel Abascal
I love that you’re so true, because sometimes different cultures, like mine, being vulnerable, it’s weak, it’s a weakness. So definitely, you will not ask for help because the dirty laundry just gets washed in house. You don’t talk about your issues outside of it. But it’s so true that we’re in a perfect. Well, there is a really good opportunity for people to reach out and say, you know what? I’m struggling. Can anybody help? And there is a great opportunity for people to say, yeah, for sure. What do you need? So thank you for sharing that. Nasia, I learned so much from you. Again, as always, I just want to say, again, thank you so much. This was an incredible coffee chat, and I wish you all the best.


Nazia Iqbal
No, thank you. And I’m so glad you’re doing this, because, as you said, for people who don’t know how to ask for help, this is a safe space to get advice to learn. So I’m really happy that you’re doing this. I’m excited to see where you’re going to take this journey because I know you’re going to achieve big things. So yeah, I’m looking forward to what comes next in this chapter.


Miguel Abascal
Amazing. Me too. I’m going to be looking maybe I’m going to invite you more in the future to say like, hey, another promotion executive. Who knows? Maybe. Exactly.


Nazia Iqbal
Let’s keep our fingers crossed.


Miguel Abascal
That’s amazing.


Nazia Iqbal
Well, thank you so much.


Miguel Abascal
I wish all the best to your success.


Miguel Abascal
Coming up next, we have a pretty cool story. A business analyst who moved from Colombia and landed not one, not two, but four amazing roles at top canadian companies in just four years. She will tell you how she grew her LinkedIn following from 100 to over 5000 connections. And she has recruiters constantly reaching out with new opportunities. Trust me, you will want to hear how Maria kickstart her career in Canada. Hey, thank you so much for listening to the show. Now we’re excited to take your podcast experience to the next level. But what is exactly podcasting 20? Well, let me tell you, it is the evolution of podcasting. With Fountain. You are not just a listener, you’re an active participant who can earn money by engaging with your favorite shows. It is a game changer. Getting started is very simple.


Miguel Abascal
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Miguel Abascal
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