Two alumni win award as top Canadian immigrants

A senior official with the Toronto Stock Exchange and an up-and-coming real estate lawyer – both community-driven Western alumni – have been named among Canada’s Top 25 immigrants in an award sponsored by RBC and Canadian Immigrant magazine.

Selwyn Collaco, EMBA’15, is Chief Data Officer with the Toronto Stock Exchange, responsible for building out its enterprise data capabilities and monetizing analytics.

Collaco is also a volunteer career mentor and president of the Goan Overseas Association, an alumnus whose efforts in serving the community led to his receiving a Canada 150 Sesquicentennial Award.

He was born and raised in Goa, India, and was in his 20s when he immigrated to Canada in 1996 with just $700 in his pocket. “Success is not only a reward, but a responsibility to give back to the greater good of our community,” Collaco said.

His advice to newcomers striving to make a difference in Canada is, “Aim for success, but be prepared to work hard and be open to learn from challenges. We are all good at planning for successes, but it is how we react to adversity, and learn from it, which helps define us as well.”

Devesh Gupta, JD ’12, arrived in Canada from India when he was a teenager. After graduating from Western, he worked for a Bay Street law firm and then a personal-injury firm before he founded Prudent Law in Mississauga.

In second year of operating the firm – which specializes in residential and commercial real estate, corporate law and civil litigation – Gupta transacted more than $200 million of commercial real estate and opened a satellite office. This year, Prudent Law won a Consumer Choice Award in the GTA.

He said patience, dedication and appetite for risk are keys to success. “From leaving a stable salary to starting a new firm, to risking all of my profits to hire new team members, my appetite for risk has allowed me to choose growth over stability.”

In the community, Gupta provides legal advice to non-profit Panorama India and the Indo-Canada Harmony Forum. He also provides weekly legal updates by radio.

The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards is a people’s choice awards program that recognizes inspirational immigrants who have made a positive impact on their communities since arriving in Canada. As the first Canadian national award program, and now 25 years old, the awards recognize the achievements of immigrants including community advocates, volunteers, successful entrepreneurs and cultural icons.

Canadian Immigrant magazine is the only national multi-platform brand for immigrants to Canada, on topics from careers to education to settlement.

Other winners this year include Rola Dagher formerly of Lebanon and now president of Cisco Canada; Giacomo Gianniotti, who left Italy as a child and has gone on an acting role as Dr. Andrew DeLuca in Grey’s Anatomy; and Jane Shin, who came to Canada as a teen and is now Associate Vice-President in charge of student success at Vancouver Community College.