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Asia Yufit, associate manager, financial and reporting processes, capital management, Great-West Life Assurance Co. (Winnipeg)


Born in Siberia, Asia Yufit wasn’t concerned about the Winnipeg winters. But she and her husband, Mark, did worry about how they would provide for the two children they had uprooted from Israel to be here. Yufit was pregnant with her first daughter and living in Haifa,


Israel’s third-largest city, when she and Mark started talking about relocating. “It was 2006 and the situation in our country wasn’t pleasant,” she says, still remembering the sound of rockets coming in from Lebanon. “It is one thing when you’re concerned only about yourself, but it is very different when there are children involved.” The pair wanted a place that was stable and safe, and they


opted for Winnipeg because friends of friends in their close-knit Jewish community had already decided to make the move. “When we first came for a visit, we liked the nature and the people were friendly because there are a lot of newcomers here. And it wasn’t as fast-paced as Israel,” says Yufit. The first visit was also a chance for her to start investigating potential accounting designations because she wanted to stay in the profession. With a bachelor’s degree in economics and management


from Israel, and several years of experience as a cost accountant and budget analyst, Yufit’s goal was to secure an accounting position quickly and carry most of the family’s expenses while she worked toward her CMA. In the meantime, Mark, whose English was much more limited, would give up his position as a sales manager and hopefully find similar work in his field. Aſter the couple took the initial steps in 2008, the immigration


process took two long years, which Yufit says is pretty standard for their type of situation. But when they finally landed in Winnipeg, the job search wasn’t as straightforward as she had


anticipated. Yufit found a job right away as an office administra- tor, but she went through 18 interviews before landing a position in her field. “It was painful to hear ‘no’ so many times, especially because of the education I had and the positions I had held back home,” says the 35-year-old. “But I knew I couldn’t give up and if I worked hard I could get where I wanted to [be].” Staying positive paid off. In December 2011, Yufit landed a job


with Great-West Life Assurance Co. as a senior analyst. She started her CMA the following month through the strategic lead- ership program and completed her designation 18 months later. “It was a lot of late hours working full time and studying at night with two young daughters,” says Yufit, who is now an associate manager at the company. “I’m lucky that I can multitask and am very goal-oriented, but it wasn’t easy.” While the analytical skills she’d honed in Israel proved useful,


it was the language that was the biggest barrier for the whole family. “The [business] terminology was a little different in Hebrew and I wasn’t working in English back home,” she says. At first, she didn’t know about 20% of the business lingo, but she learned quickly. When her eldest daughter started daycare, she didn’t speak more than a few words of English, either. “We are so fortunate her daycare provider was able to speak Russian,” says Yufit. Six years later, Yufit’s daughters, Shelly and Romy, now nine


and seven, still speak Russian at home, but have fully adapted to their new school and English environment. Mark, who works at a distribution centre, is learning the language slowly but surely. As the primary breadwinner in the family, Yufit aspires to


further develop her career, and she just completed her CPA des- ignation. “I moved my family here and I need to take care of them,” she says. “I also want my daughters to know you can do anything if you believe in yourself — and not to give up.”


ROSALIND STEFANAC is a Toronto-based freelance writer JUNE/JULY 2016 | CPA MAGAZINE | 43


Ian McCausland/KlixPix


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