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Immigrant Women Who Empower


Immigrant Women Who Empower

Immigrants and the children of immigrants constitute 40 percent of the Canadian population. They also provide the majority of workforce growth and add tremendously to the country's economic and social vitality. And women represent a significant group of such first- and second-generation immigrants.

As part of Northeastern's Women Who Empower event series, this symposium features four first-generation immigrant women from four different countries who will share how they became empowered to adapt to the challenges and opportunities of their new country. 

Join Sheila Puffer, Cecilia Silundika, Jelena Zikic, and Alina Pekarsky for a breakfast where they will discuss how they empower others through their professional work and mentoring activities. 

Meet our Empowered Speakers


Sheila Puffer, PhD

 Sheila Puffer is University Distinguished Professor at Northeastern University, Boston, where   she is a professor of international business at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. She is   also an associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University,   and has served as program director of the Gorbachev Foundation of North America. She is the   co-author of Hammer and Silicon: The Soviet Diaspora in the US Innovation Economy   (Cambridge University Press, 2018).


 Cecilia Silundika, MA

Cecilia Silundika has served for over 20 years in the federal government of Canada. As Senior Policy Analyst for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, her work has included the management of bilateral cooperation programs with the Russian Federation on northern and indigenous issues including the promotion of international development projects; capacity building; women in entrepreneurship; and international trade.  

 Jelena Zikic, PhD 

Jelena Zikic is a graduate of Toronto's Rotman School of Management and is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director at York University's School of Human Resource Management. Her program of research centers on career transitions of diverse populations (e.g., unemployed, entrepreneurs, baby boomers, migrants). Currently she is studying labour market integration of foreign professionals and cross-cultural mentoring relationships as a resource for coping with unemployment.


Alina Pekarsky, PhD 

Alina Pekarsky is Senior Account Executive for Russia, Eastern Europe & Central Asia at the Schulich Executive Education Centre at York University, and President of Sci-Tech Ventures Associates. Dr. Pekarsky holds a PhD and an MSc in Chemical Engineering from Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology, Moscow, Russia.  She has also been a postdoctoral fellow at the Ceramic Engineering Department at McMaster University. 

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