Fredericton’s The Ginger Agency has doubled its team’s size and grown its business over the last two years thanks to a commitment to recruiting the best people from anywhere in the world.
In a post from March, Co-CEO Kerry Wells notes that in 2015, Ginger decided to focus outside their region to find international talent. One of their 2016 hires, Susana Rojas, proved an early success. She has now been with the company for over five years, recently rising to the VP of Creative role.
“Susana was the first step in this direction, she truly is a world-class designer and creative leader,” wrote Wells. “She has played an integral role in our growth over the last 5 years and we are incredibly proud to have her on our team.”
The Need for a New Opportunity
Rojas is originally from Venezuela and graduated from the University of Margarita in 2009 with a degree in graphic design. After graduation, she and four friends launched their own studio. Like any startup, there were initial struggles, but the company eventually began doing well. The political situation in Venezuela, however, made it increasingly tough to succeed.
“One by one, each member of the studio left Venezuela,” notes Rojas. “Eventually it was just my husband and I. As the country’s situation worsened, we finally decided to leave too.”
Susana’s husband Manuel, himself a designer, found work in New Haven, Connecticut – they left home. The couple ultimately found themselves in Boston. It was there that Susana improved her English, began looking for work again, and discovered The Ginger Agency.
The Road to New Brunswick
“I found a job posting from Ginger. I applied, and they liked my portfolio. I was on my way.”
Susana says due to her English she was nervous during her first interview with Founder and Co-CEO Andrew Bedford. She was hired as a designer, then moved up through senior designer and art director roles, working remotely from Boston for the first few years.
She says Bedford and Wells encouraged her to move to Canada to continue her work with the company. “They told us how great Canada is and how much we’d love it here,” she recalls. “Around that time, the climate in the US seemed increasingly hostile to newcomers like us. We wondered if we would eventually have trouble renewing our US visas; Canada seemed like a great idea.” She had visited Fredericton a few times and knew she loved the city’s vibe and people; making the permanent move was a no-brainer.
Susana says Ginger helped her make an easy transition to New Brunswick. “The entire team helped us tremendously, not just with paperwork, but finding a place. (VP of Client Services) Hilliary (Baird) Facetimed us from apartments so we could see them from afar.”
The permanent residency process, through the Atlantic Immigration Project (then administered by PETL), was simpler than Susana imagined. “We applied after three months in Fredericton, the process was easy to understand. It’s really a fast-track program if you have an employer in place like I did. If you have the proper documentation, you’re probably good.”
Life in New Brunswick
Susana and Manuel purchased their first home last fall and are loving life in New Brunswick. Susana says she is amazed at how nice people in Canada are. “It’s so welcoming. People hear my accent and want to know where I’m from – in a curious way, not an accusatory way. That wasn’t always the case in the US.”
This month, Susana joined the Fredericton Community Kitchen’s board of directors and says she’s excited to have a chance to give back to the community that has already given her family so much. “To others thinking about coming to New Brunswick, I say stop thinking and do it. Just apply. This is a wonderful place to live and there are opportunities for you. It’s a beautiful and welcoming community.”
If your company is interested in hearing more about the benefits of hiring international student talent, contact ONB Client Engagement Specialist Kim Webb at email@example.com.
You can learn more about the Atlantic Immigration Project at welcomenb.ca.