Carla Paiva’s story is one of resilience to failure and characterized by her perseverance and pure optimism to be successful in life despite all odds. Carla was born and raised in Açores Islands, Portugal. She was raised and taught by nuns and priests in an orphanage that sheltered abandoned children and abused mothers. While living in this environment, Carla had to learn and mature fast as being a “normal” child was not possible in these circumstances.
At 14, a call from Canada changed her life. Her biological father reached out to her and in the same year invited her to visit Canada. A year later, in 1999, Carla immigrated from Açores Islands to Canada. It was extremely challenging to adapt to a new country and the language – as she could not read, write or speak English.
She started ESL schooling at Turner Fenton Secondary School. English was not her strength, so she read books, listened to music and spoke only in English. Needless to say, many times people laughed when she spoke. Carla laughed with them knowing that one day she would overcome, as hard as it was!
While trying to finish high school, Carla had to work four part-time jobs in order to support herself and survive. She graduated with grades in the high 90s, and Carla was also nominated to receive her first achievement award.
Life moved on and Carla got married, however, after 10 years had to go through a painful divorce. As a mother of two boys, life was tough again – this time as a single mother without a job or adequate finances. She struggled, feeling stuck and afraid of not being able to give her children what they needed. Relentlessly she applied for jobs and succeeded when she interviewed for a Legal Assistant position. Her passion for education rose to the surface again and Carla took this opportunity to another level when she joined triOS College and enrolled in the Paralegal program.
Carla started what looked to be a mission impossible and wore three hats – full-time employee, full-time student and single mother. Each role had high expectations, but she accomplished each one of them. Her vision of success was her fuel to persevere and finish what she started.
As Carla says, “We are all diamonds and all we need is a little buffing in order to shine brighter. I am thankful that I was able to find the right tools at the right time. triOS College was able to accommodate my needs and provide me with the right tools. I was able to re-build myself. This commitment and decision has been a tough career change and yet the key for many successful years to come.”
Carla is now a certified Paralegal, a Coach Practitioner and the proud holder of several awards including the Paralegal Faculty Award for outstanding achievement and graduating with Distinction. In fact, as this is being written, 50 women have been selected in Canada to receive an International and Powerful Women’s Award, and Carla is one of them. She will receive this award on International Women’s Day.
Carla has been successfully employed with Licata Disability Management for the past 2 years. She was initially employed with them in the capacity of a Legal Assistant responsible for documentation, research and filing. However, after she started her Paralegal course with triOS, they accepted her as a Paralegal intern and on completion of her internship, Carla has now assumed greater responsibilities in line with those of a Paralegal and manages WSIB claims, CRA issues and Disability Tax Credit applications besides continuing with her role of being a Legal Assistant.
“I am thankful and honoured to be given the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives now. The fact that I can communicate in Portuguese, Spanish and English allows me to accommodate people’s needs worldwide. While coaching others, not only do I connect with them but I can definitely relate to their situations and struggles…
Presently, I am working on my first book, which I have held this vision for many years and I am finally working on it. There’s one thing I strongly stand for, the word IMPOSSIBLE does not reside in my books!”