CNC graduate Leila Abubakar remembers the first day she arrived at the Prince George airport from Kenya in January 2010.
A huge snowstorm had hit the city when she stepped off the plane wearing flipflops and jeans.
“I had just come from 30-degree weather,” Leila said. “Luckily, my homestay family brought me a winter jacket and boots to wear.”
She was an international student coming to Canada to study business at the College of New Caledonia. Almost a decade later, she considers Prince George home.
“My friends now tell me how I’m so Canadian. I snowshoe…I snowboard…,” Leila said.
Since moving to Canada, she completed her Marketing and Human Resources Business Diploma at CNC as planned. She then transferred to UNBC to finish her Bachelor’s Degree in Business with a minor in Environmental Health.
“I feel like CNC is special,” Leila continued. “It’s as diverse as it gets. CNC has done an excellent job of making sure everyone has a voice at the table, and that their voices are heard and matter.”
Throughout her time at school, she was very involved and very busy. She was the Chair of the Student Union at CNC while working part-time at Costco.
She specifically remembers one CNC Students’ Union board meeting when she looked around the table in awe.
“There was someone from Brazil, Kenya, India, China, an Aboriginal person and a Caucasian person,” she said. “Yet we were such a cohesive unit. It was so cool.”
Leila said she believes Canada to be the land of opportunity.
“The only way to not be successful here is if you choose not to be successful,” she said. “I don’t think I’m extraordinary. I’m a regular Joe. You just have to put your head down and get to work and you can succeed.”
Throughout the years, Leila has moved up the ranks at Costco and is now the Membership Manager. A few years ago, she also accepted the part-time position of Executive Director of CNC’s Student Union Where she met her fiancée, another CNC graduate.
Though it means she works seven days a week, Leila wouldn’t change a thing.
“I love both jobs passionately,” she said. “I love working with people, finding solutions for them and making their day better.”
In the long-term, Leila plans to complete a master’s degree focused on business and sustainability and work in Costco’s head office.