Following Her Passion: Belinda’s Story

In her home country of Ghana, Belinda was known as a “Boss Chick” — an ambitious woman who had built a successful career as an architect and project manager. She oversaw portfolios and projects of all sizes across the country. UpGlo was proud to champion Belinda’s professional ambitions in Chicago, supporting her in rebuilding a career in project management and design with McDonald’s corporate offices. Here is her story:

When I first came to the U.S., I loved that there was so much to see here in terms of architecture. Chicago’s incredible skyline represented what I’d read about America being the land of opportunity. You hear breathtaking stories of ordinary people creating empires out of virtually nothing. I expected that securing a professional job here would not be a difficult thing, but the reality was very different.

I got a job at a big box store as a cashier and in a month was promoted to customer service manager. But I wanted very badly to get back to my professional career.

My greatest challenge was getting employers to overlook my lack of U.S. experience. Upwardly Global helped me recognize that my experience gave me a perspective that set me apart from other applicants — and I developed the confidence to demonstrate that to employers.

I was initially hired by McDonald’s as a consultant, and then promoted to a design project manager. I oversee design for all of the company’s restaurants in the Northeast. It’s a perfect marriage of architecture and project management.

It is said that if you find your passion, follow it, and you will never have to work for the rest of your life. I have found my passion, and it has set me on an incredible path.

My advice to fellow immigrants looking to secure their first professional job in the U.S. is this: ‘Never give up. Don’t take your eyes off the goal. Perseverance and tenacity win in the end.’

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Upwardly Global is a national nonprofit organization that works to eliminate employment barriers for skilled immigrants and refugees.

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