Sharon Yeo | Top 40 Under 40 2019

She helps provide newcomers with reliable resources to start their lives in Alberta.

Photograph by Aaron Pedersen

Age: 36

Job title: Program Manager, Catholic Social Services.

Why she’s a 2019 Top 40 Under 40: She helps provide newcomers with reliable resources to start their lives in Alberta.

When Sharon Yeo is not working to create life-changing opportunities for newcomers in the city, she is volunteering, organizing events or writing updates for her blog, Only Here For the Food.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Education from University of Alberta in 2005, Yeo started working at Bredin Centre for Learning in its Skilled and Internationally Trained Professionals program. She wasn’t aware that settlement services was a sector — but after seeing the real impact of the centre’s services in the community, she knew it was exactly where she had to be.

“Realizing how much of a difference you can make in helping people who are coming to this country to start their lives, I decided to stay,” Yeo says.

She began working for Catholic Social Services in 2008, and was promoted to a Program Manager in Immigration and Settlement Service in 2012.

“When you’re first establishing yourself in a new community, you’re a bit disoriented,” says Yeo. “Being part of an organization that is the first face people see when they land in Edmonton, it’s pretty amazing.”

Annually, CSS serves more than 10,000 newcomers from over 150 countries. Between December 2015 and March 2016, Yeo took part in resettling nearly 1,000 Syrian refugees in Edmonton.

Yeo has taken her passion for the local food scene to the streets, organizing events to support the local vendors, including co-founding a food truck festival, What the Truck?! in 2011, and Chinatown Dining Week in 2018.

“At its heart, Edmonton is a very supportive community,” says Yeo. “I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the support of people coming out.”

This article appears in the November 2019 issue of Avenue Edmonton.

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