Name: Olive Buluma
Current U.S. Position and Company Name: OEM Business Analyst Intern at HP, Inc.
Country of Origin: Kenya
Education: BA, International Business Administration, Kampala International University, Uganda
First Job in USA: Room Attendant at the Marriott Courtyard
Olive Buluma was the GTI Alumna honoree at the 2018 Careers for Change Celebration. Below is a summary of her speech.
“GTI has been instrumental in helping skilled immigrants and refugees reclaim their careers, and in helping Idaho employers retain the diverse talent that comes into our state. It is through this noble initiative that many immigrants have benefited greatly, including myself. I am originally from Kenya, a country in East Africa known for its beautiful landscapes and wildlife. I received my Certificate in accounting from Kenya then received my bachelor’s in international business from Kampala International University (Uganda). I had a good job in accounting. Nevertheless, I left my family, friends, and career to come to the USA in search of a better life.
When I arrived in Boise in 2015 with my son, it was a lot more difficult to get a job than I imagined, even one outside of the business field. I got my first job as a room attendant after 6 months of being in Boise. In spring 2017, I decided to enroll in an online MBA program which led me to quit one job and work during the night.
I came to know about GTI while watching the news. I saw an interview of a GTI alumna Luma Al-Naserawi, who was the Careers for Change honoree in 2017. She was talking about how Global Talent Idaho was changing the lives of immigrants and refugees by helping them find a way back into their professional careers in Idaho. I took down their contact information and gave them a call the following day, and was invited to join the program. From that point, I knew my life was never going to be the same!
When I came to Idaho, I lost my entire professional network, which we all know is so instrumental to succeeding in one’s professional career. GTI enabled me to rebuild professional networks and attend workshops at the Dept. of Labor in Meridian where I met HP employees. This eventually opened doors to my first informational interview with a Vice President at Hewlett Packard.
Since the start of GTI 3 years ago, 72 immigrants and refugee professionals have been successful in reestablishing their professional careers in Idaho through Global Talent Idaho’s program. This event is clear evidence of the many success stories worth celebrating – around me tonight are many other GTI alumni who have incredible skills and have found a way to contribute to Idaho businesses, giving back to the new community that has embraced them.
To quote our former first lady Barbara Bush “Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of success will be how you treat other people – your family, friends, co-workers and even strangers you meet along the way.” GTI has demonstrated this yardstick of success by embracing other professionals like me and helping us connect with the professional community. GTI recognizes and celebrates our talents and enables us to reach our full potential in this great community of lovely people.
Personally, I can testify to this and am beyond grateful. Thanks to GTI and the many volunteers who provided interview guidance, informational interviews, and advice in my job search, I am currently working as an OEM Business Analyst Intern at HP while I finish my MBA. I am excited to be a part of HP and to have a great team who has been supportive in helping me grow and succeed in my career. I have learned a lot in the couple of months I have been there and can’t wait to see where my professional career takes me in Idaho.
The work that GTI does is so important because it gives people hope. Hope that they can do what they love to do, that they do not have to leave their professional career and passion behind when they come to the U.S. in search of a new and better life.
In closing, I would like to leave other immigrant and refugee job seekers with a word of encouragement: never give up even when the road seems rough. Have hope, faith, determination, and patience. You all bring so much to Idaho and trust me when I say that it’s worth it in the end.”