When Matthijs Bruining arrived in Canada from the Netherlands at the tender age of three, little did he know about the ripple effect that his empathy and his support for immigrants would create a few decades later. It’s that support and profound understanding of the immigrants’ faith and commitment that made Bruining the perfect candidate for the Immigrant Welcome Centre 2023 Ambassador Award. The award identifies individuals or organizations in the community that have demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities in creating a community or organizational environment that welcomes and includes all newcomers, acknowledging their diversity, humanity, and value.
During his 25-year-long career with RBC, Bruining, who is the Campbell River branch Manager, has had the opportunity to contribute to the community by promoting diversity personally and professionally – a leadership trait that led to receiving the Award. Bruining was presented with the Ambassador Award by Immigrant Welcome Centre Executive Director, Shams Alibhai during the IWC AGM on September 20, 2023. “RBC’s support of the Immigrant Welcome Centre, and specifically the Workplace Language and Culture Hub, has been amazing to witness and humbling to sponsor. I am astonished at the paths of our newest, to be, Canadians. Giving up everything and leaving behind many to be part of a community and country that is new is quite an adventure. To see the successes, friendships, and confidence that is being built through our sponsorship has been an honor to witness and a thrill to participate in,” Bruining says.
The Workplace Language and Culture Hub is an innovative project born from the partnership between IWC and RBC and entering its second year. It provides hands-on training to immigrants who desire to better understand the Canadian workplace culture, so they can thrive in our community. Bruining participates actively in the program by meeting with the participants, sharing life stories, attending their session-end presentations, and always encouraging them to pursue their dreams.
“This sponsorship by the Royal Bank of Canada is a wonderful way to diversify our funding, and form model partnerships with the corporate sector. We look forward to continuing and building on this innovative program and funding model,” says Alibhai.
[In the picture: IWC Executive Director Shams Alibhai, and Campbell River RBC branch manager Matthijs Bruining.]