Lisseth D’Andrea was born in El Salvador, the smallest country in Central America. Lisseth came from a background of professionals. Her father is an industrial engineer, who also holds a Masters degree in Business Administration. Her mother is an elementary school teacher. Lisseth, who works for the City of London as an Employment Support Specialist and volunteers as a Sunday school teacher at her church, arrived in Canada with her family 32 years ago, on Feb, 10, 1987. They had a pretty good comfortable life in El Salvador, but circumstances changed and they found themselves headed to Canada, hopeful for opportunities.
“It was difficult to settle in a new country, and they worked hard to navigate the culture shock, challenging weather, new traditions and different way of thinking,”, recalls Lisseth.
Although they didn’t know anybody in London, Lisseth says she didn’t feel isolated. “It definitely helps when you have the right supports in place, family, friends, and even strangers can make a huge difference in one’s journey,” she says. Lisseth focused on getting all the education she could and moving forward in life. Three months after settling in London, Lisseth got involved in the Futures program offered through Fanshawe College and began working in an accounting office on Oxford Street. Since “numbers were not (her) thing,” she set her mind on attending post-secondary school, with the goal of securing a job where she could grow. Liz quickly got involved in the community, started volunteering at Parkwood Hospital to gain the “Canadian work experience, “ required by many employers.
Lisseth originally wanted to be a doctor, because she is committed to helping people. But she decided to help people in a different way. She turned her focus on helping internationally trained professionals, inspired by her father’s experience as an immigrant in Canada. Despite his background as an industrial engineer, he was not able to work in his field here, and for him that was humiliating and frustrating, she recalls. She is happy that her work allows her to help internationally trained professionals.
Lisseth sits in the London Middlesex Local Immigration Partnership Sub- Employment Committee, she also belongs to the “Welcoming Ambassadors” committee run by the City of London, and she is a Sunday school leader at her church, where she also enjoys another of her passions - singing in the choir.
“I may not be a doctor, but I am still helping people reach their potential and succeed in life,” she says. “There is a brilliant pool of talent out there that employers need to be aware of. Everybody needs a chance. Diversity is what makes Canada a great nation.”