How homework pays off

One of Halifax’s greatest challenges in the next decade is attracting and retaining highly skilled and educated talent. 

Over the past few years, the Partnership, in collaboration with many of you, has used its Halifax Connector Program to help immigrants and newcomers find their way to gainful and appropriate employment here in Halifax. 

This is the fourth of seven stories showing what you have made possible.


How does one decide to leave a city as large as Tehran and choose a city as small as Halifax to study – then live?  By doing the homework. 

Zahra Pahlevani’s father wanted her to see a different part of the world so in 2004, he sent her to study at the American College of Dubai, for US students living abroad and then wondered where she could go next. His research led her to St. Mary’s University (SMU) to continue her business degree in 2006. 

This choice disappointed Zahra at first.  She had many international friends after two years and was sad to leave them so quickly.  “But now, I am so happy that I am here.  I can see that he made the right choice for me.”  Zahra has lots of new friends – both local and international – in Halifax and, “I met them all at SMU.”

Zahra graduated from SMU in October 2008, “the worst time to graduate because of the recession.  I couldn’t find work so I moved to Calgary for 60 days.  I realized then that Halifax had captured my heart and I needed to return.”  She moved to the closest place that had a job: Antigonish, a two and a half hour drive from Halifax.

While in Antigonish, Zahra heard about the Connector Program and Project Coordinator Cindy Dean who connected her to Jamie Welsh at Deloitte.  “Both Jamie and Cindy were very helpful and encouraging.”  It was these meetings that gave Zahra the confidence to continue looking in Halifax.

In the end, a networking friend forwarded a job opening to her for Satlantic, an export manufacturer of water quality measurement equipment and Zahra got an interview. 

“The moment I walked into their building, I knew it was the right place for me.”  That feeling was followed up with a job offer, and Zahra now works as a Marketing Associate.

Tehran is a long way from Halifax, but when you do your homework, follow your heart and have some connected people helping you along the way, it really does turn out for the best.

Kelly1blog Kelly Hennessey, ABC, is an accredited public relations writer and consultant.

You can find Kelly at or contact her at



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