When Eleanor Guerrero Campbell came to Canada with a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the Philippines and some years planning Metro Manila, she got the first job she applied for — planner for the City of Edmonton, Alberta. She continued on to plan the City of Surrey as Associate Director of Planning, and the City of Richmond as Manager of Policy Planning and Corporate Strategies.
And so she was surprised to find that in Canada, in the 80’s and 90’s, many highly skilled immigrants could not practise their professions. Very experienced internationally-trained engineers, doctors, and other professionals ended up driving taxis and cleaning floors. In response, she co-founded the Multicultural Helping House Society, a non-profit organization to help newcomers succeed in Canada. There she learned first hand about the problems of newcomers, and created programs to help skilled immigrants secure work in their field.
Eleanor directed the Looking Ahead Initiative, a BC wide program to improve the labour market integration of immigrants, working with multiple stakeholders. She authored Hiring and Retaining Skilled Immigrants: A Cultural Competence Toolkit, a guide for human resource managers of BC. She chaired the City of Vancouver Cultural Communities Advisory Committee advocating for better integration of newcomers into city life. Eleanor has been recognized with various awards as a champion for multiculturalism and immigrant integration. Eleanor is currently co-convenor of the City of Vancouver’s Immigrant Partnership Program Access to Services Committee.
It became clear to Eleanor that the stories she encountered in the community deserved to be told — needed to be told. After retiring in 2012, she began work on Stumbling Through Paradise, using literary skills learned from her first degree English and Comparative Literature, courses with writing guru Natalie Goldberg, and her own experiences in the field to help shape her characters and their journey.
Most recently, Eleanor co-founded Canadian Filipino Net, a digital media website for and about Canadian Filipinos with the goals of raising the profile of Canadian Filipinos, focusing on issues of importance to the community, and promoting their engagement in Canadian society. She is the president/CEO of Maple Bamboo Network Society, a registered on-profit society which is the publisher of Canadian Filipino Net. She hosts the column 'Paths for Skilled Immigrants' containing information and advice for skilled immigrants in various professions and occupations. This information is in the columns section of the website: www.canadianfilipino.ca
Eleanor writes and lives in Vancouver with her husband. When they are not travelling, they enjoy walking, cycling, and exploring the city’s neighbourhoods and cultural life.
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AWARDS & RECOGNITION
●Woman of Distinction Award, presented by the community newspaper Surrey Leader, Surrey, BC, 1993
●Award of Merit for the Richmond City Planning Process, presented by the Planning Institute of BC, 1994
●Most Outstanding Filipino Canadian Award, presented by Binibining Pilipinas Pageants, 2002
●Women to Watch, one of 3 cited and featured front page by the Canadian Immigrant Magazine, 2008
●Leadership Honouree for Community Service and Cultural Promotion, presented by the North American Association of Asian Professional (NAAP), 2009
●Award of Recognition for Outstanding Community Service, presented by Dahong Pilipino, the Filipino Canadian community directory for BC, 2011
●Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, presented by the Governor General of Canada, 2012
●City of Vancouver Merit Awardee (first Filipino to receive this award), presented by the City of Vancouver, 2013