Patricia Wohleser: Making Every Day Count
August 23, 2013
Patricia Wohleser’s whole being lights up when she speaks about her life in Canada. “Canada is the country of my dreams,” she says. “I am lucky to be here. I love this country.”
And it’s that enormous passion and enthusiasm, not to mention discipline, which carried her through the very challenging process of immigrating to and settling in Canada. The Venezuelan was curious about Canada for some time, and decided in late 2000 to visit and explore our beautiful country. This little trip turned out to be life-changing. She met her future husband, Heinrich Wohleser, in an English class in Toronto and the two were determined to be together in the country they both loved.
In Venezuela, Patricia was an accountant with Deloitte, an international financial services firm that also has offices all over Canada. She made a formal request to be transferred to a Canadian office and began what she says was a very difficult, paperwork-heavy process of applying for permanent residency. In the meantime, Heinrich, who was working on a Masters degree in agriculture in his native Austria, transferred to the University of Guelph to continue his studies.
In the winter of 2001, Patricia arrived in Edmonton on a work permit to begin her new job with Deloitte Canada. She and Heinrich continued their relationship from different cities, occasionally visiting each other. After two years, she had enough: “Every time we said goodbye, it was like someone died.” In 2003, she moved to Guelph after Price Waterhouse Cooper hired her on the spot during an interview.
Throughout this time, she was also working hard on her Canadian accounting designation. And this is where her dedication and discipline shine through. Her credentials were assessed in Alberta and she was told that she needed only one university course before she could start the process of becoming a Chartered Accountant. Her move to Ontario, however, was to have a huge impact on her quest. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario determined that she needed another seven university courses before she could write its very rigorous certification examinations. She completed the courses while working full-time, passed all three examinations on her first attempt, and in 2006 became a CA. “I did what I had to do because I’m here. Everything is worth it,” she says.
When asked what advice she has for newcomers or those interested in immigrating to Canada, Wohleser says excitedly: “Do whatever you can to make sure your English is up to par. As long as you have realistic expectations and work hard, you can achieve anything. Canada is an amazing place. Don’t give up. When I first came to Canada, I was willing to start from zero because I knew it would not be forever. Do your research. When going for a job interview, learn about the company beforehand…”
These days, Wohleser, who now works as a senior manager with RLB LLP, loves to help other immigrants and has been giving seminars at Immigrant Services Guelph-Wellington on self-employment, taxes, and other financial topics. Clearly she’s making every day count!