International Student Builds Network to Stay in Halifax

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When Maigoro Yunana graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from Dalhousie University, he knew exactly what kind of career he was looking for. “I wanted to work for a small company that would throw me in and give me opportunities to learn as quickly as possible. With the world being so competitive, I wanted to be in an environment where I could effectively hone my skills.” Maigoro joined the Connector Program, and through it, he met Marlene Moore, VP Marketing at Green Power Labs.

Green Power Labs is a predictive weather analytics company that specializes in green and renewable energy. They manage building energy consumption and optimize energy efficiency through Predictive Analytics, which provides weather and energy data in real-time to predict future events and prepare for their impact.

Green Power Labs currently has 21 employees. About one third of these employees are under 30 years old, and over 40% of the team has international education or work experience. “The young recruits we’ve hired bring a different way of looking at common problems. They tend to look for solutions by thinking outside the box, and are interested in unconventional ways of solving problems,” says Marlene.

“Our employees with international experience also bring a different perspective, and by nature, are interested in the world and have a global view,” she adds. “They bring a certain confidence and adaptability to the workplace.”

Marlene has been a Connector since 2015. “The people I have met through the Connector Program have been very interesting and are doing really cool things. Recently, I met a man who married a woman from California, but is interested in moving home. He is a software engineer with a focus on quality.”

Maigoro, one of Marlene’s Connectees, has been working at Green Power Labs since February 2017 as a Building Energy Modelling Specialist. “Our Project Predictive Building Control helps control the building’s HVAC system and actively decrease energy use. After we’ve connected to the building, we ensure everything is working as it should and look for opportunities to further increase energy savings.”

While attending university, Maigoro heard other students talk about the Connector Program. “I met with a member of the Connector team to learn more about the program. That conversation made me confident that it would complement traditional job searching.”

“I met three people through the Connector Program, including Marlene,” he says. “I attended Halifax Partnership events to learn about networking. These experiences helped me learn the vibe of the Halifax business community. I always wanted to stay in Halifax, and I knew that if I wanted to build a life here, I would have to meet and connect with people from different backgrounds and walks of life.”

“Being a Connectee was an opportunity to meet people face-to-face in the industry I wanted to be in, tell them my plans, and get their advice on how I could be successful in what I wanted to achieve. Once I became a Connectee, I became more confident, which in turn helped improve my interview skills,” says Maigoro. “I tell current international students that they should apply for jobs online, but also take advantage of the opportunity to meet people at networking events. In Atlantic Canada, the culture is that it’s what you know and who you know that makes all the difference. You have to put yourself out there to stand out.”

Maigoro is originally from Nigeria. He moved to Halifax in 2011 and instantly felt a connection to the city. “I really believe in retaining talent in Halifax. Having travelled around the world, I’ve been lucky enough to live in many different places, but I want to stay in Halifax and be a part of its success story. This was my first introduction to Canada, and even when I travel to other places in the country, I feel like Nova Scotia is my home.”