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Are you tired? I know I am.  

We’re just past the middle of winter as I write this, spring feels out of reach, there seems to be more snow every weekend, and did I mention there’s an international pandemic still raging? 

A lot of us are tired of the restrictions, the masks, and needles every six months or so, but most of us know these measures are important and necessary. We’re following the rules because we care about more than just our own self-interest and want everyone to feel safe and respected. 

Still, it can be hard sometimes to find motivation; to find the inspiration to carry on and improve ourselves and our communities. Luckily, I know just where to look to find the kind of inspiration we need. 

Every year I’m blown away by the caliber of nominations we receive for the Most Inspiring Immigrants initiative. This year marks a huge expansion for the program, as it has now grown to include Newfoundland and Labrador, throwing open the doors to the entire East Coast of Canada. We are so proud to see many Newfoundlanders among our honourees so quickly. 

Every time I read about what any of our honourees have accomplished, I’m humbled. Each has left the countries of their birth to set up new lives in our region, but have not given in to obstacles or disappointments along the way. They have found ways to stay positive and succeed, for themselves, their families, and their communities. 

Given these examples, how can I not be optimistic about our future? How can I give in to being tired about such a small thing as a little cold weather or a face mask compared to what they’ve faced? It helps put things in perspective. 

That’s one of the many reasons everyone here at My East Coast Experience works so hard on this event each year. It’s why we’re working within health and safety measures to bring you an in-person gala this year, so attendees can see first-hand there is reason to hope even when things aren’t going the way we wish they would. 

However, the gala isn’t the only thing we’re celebrating. Our company continues to grow, having recently secured commitments on all the space we currently have available in our co-working facility, Creative Hub. This tremendous response has led to requests to us looking at possible locations for a second location. 

The impact of the stories we tell, be it through our My Halifax Experience magazine, our website, the gala, or research projects such as Amplifying Voices, is having a real impact on our community. We know this by watching immigration numbers climbing across the region. We also know it by other groups reaching out to us to help them tell similar stories. A recent example of this was our partnership in February with Global Maritimes on our Black Excellence series. We profiled four leaders in the Black community as a way to celebrate African Heritage Month. These same four women were also featured on Global News Morning. We hope this is just the first of many such collaborations. 

We’re projecting 2022 will be the biggest year yet for our international Mosaic Film Festival. The festival has broken submission records every year since we started and we see no reason for that trend to stop. Submissions are open now, so feel free to send us your latest masterpiece. 

Nominations are also open for the 2023 Most Inspiring Immigrants in Atlantic Canada initiative. We want an early start on collecting more positive stories to help us get through what’s left of winter and power into spring. 

Ifeanyi Emesih

Ifeanyi Emesih is a serial entrepreneur, community leader, marketing expert, visionary and innovator. Ifeanyi is the Founder and Chairman of My East Coast Experience Media Group. Emesih chose to make Halifax his home and has since drawn on his own experiences to create a platform for others to share their own immigrant stories with their own communities.

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