Forming Connections: How Artemis Grew Her Network and Career in NYC
Tuesday | March 14, 2023 | by WES Advisor
Artemis Díaz established a successful career in communications and event production in the Dominican Republic but paused her work in 2014 to join her spouse in New York City. Since then, she has leveraged her exceptional networking skills – polished with support from organizations like WES Global Talent Bridge partner New Women New Yorkers – to form local professional connections and create career opportunities. The limited professional networks of immigrants and refugees are a significant employment barrier. Artemis’s story offers inspiration and insights to other internationally trained workers looking to reestablish their careers in the United States.
“All opportunities in my life have been related to the power of networking. You never know what might come out of connecting with someone in line with you at the coffee shop. I encourage others to speak and talk to people.”
Artemis Díaz has built a career at the intersection of events and communications, powered by a remarkable ability to connect with people. She studied advertising in her home country of the Dominican Republic and earned a master’s degree in digital marketing and business management. She also earned a certificate in public speaking.
“I had studied English in the Dominican Republic, but I forgot some because I didn’t have many opportunities to practice,” Artemis said. “As soon as I came to New York, I started in ESL programs.”
Artemis launched her career as a post-production assistant at a video wedding company and parlayed that experience into project and event roles in the government sector. She was a program manager or liaison with donors with the International Cooperation Aid Department at the Ministry of Agriculture in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, before putting everything on hold to get married and move to New York City.
“My friends asked me, ‘Are you sure you want to do this? It’s a different country, you don’t have close family there. But I follow my intuition, and here I am. No regrets, and very grateful for who I have become and the people that supported me since Day One.”
Initially employers rejected Artemis. She also sometimes felt “shame to speak because of my English level,” but she had a valuable resource that many new immigrants lack—a family friend who could hire her. The friend owned a popular restaurant in Chelsea, a trendy New York neighborhood. Although Artemis was still an English language learner, she was offered a job as a coat check attendant and food runner.
As her English improved, Artemis demonstrated her qualifications and interest in career advancement to restaurant management. The restaurant regularly hosted events— Artemis recalls meeting some of the cast of a popular Netflix series on-site one evening—and promoted Artemis to a role on its events team. Leveraging her experience in graphic design and events promotion, Artemis continued it to network with connections that could lead to additional career opportunities.
After a year at the restaurant, Artemis began “contract work as an intern with a non-profit I knew from volunteering back in my country.” She was soon promoted to events and general coordinator.
“It was a fascinating role,” Artemis said. “I went to the United Nations for the first time to work at an event. I met a coach who would become the most influential person in helping me rebuild my communications career. I started collaborating with her as a community manager.”
Immigrants and refugees often begin their job search with few local professional contacts. Limited professional networks are one of many barriers that drive the unemployment and underemployment of an estimated two million college-educated immigrants and refugees in the U.S.
Meeting the coach was a career catalyst for Artemis; she has since developed a freelance and contract work portfolio in event production with New York-area non-profits, networks, and associations. These opportunities have opened new connections for her which have resulted in referrals to additional projects.
“I recently had the chance to work as a master of ceremonies at an event and on a golf tournament and gala dinner based on a referral from a contact I met five years ago. They are still calling me,” she said.
In addition to seeking referrals, Artemis has sought out opportunities to form connections and develop community. While searching on her computer one evening, she learned about WES Global Talent Bridge partner New Women New Yorkers (NWNY), a non-profit that supports immigrant and refugee women in meeting their career and educational goals.
She soon enrolled in NWNY’s cohort-based workforce development and readiness workshops that provide immigrant and refugee women with career-aligned English instruction, mock interview sessions, job search support, and – perhaps most critically – an opportunity to form their professional networks.
“I met wonderful people from all over the world. It was a great sense of community – we all were learning and supporting each other. We created a WhatsApp group to share job postings, our feedback, and check in with one another,” she recalled.
Artemis is eager to continue to expand her network and career opportunities – and support others’ efforts to do the same. Her next goal is to write a book and start a podcast that inspires other immigrants to rebuild their lives in the U.S.
“I share my story and experience and connect with other people. If I can help one person, it will be worthwhile. So I want to be that bridge to encourage others. If I did it, you can do it too.”
New Women New Yorkers (NWNY) is a member of the Global Talent Leadership Network (GTLN), an initiative of WES Global Talent Bridge. Learn more via the WES Global Talent Bridge U.S. Program Map, a directory of more than 100 programs and services that foster the economic and professional development of internationally trained immigrants and refugees in the U.S.