“I am ready to give back to the Portuguese-speaking community”
By Luís Aparício
(Foto 1) – Michelle Jorge, president of FPCBP
Toronto-born Michelle Jorge has been working as a personal injury lawyer for 12 years. She is the daughter of immigrants from Ponta da Fajã Grande (Flores island), Azores.
Fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish, Michelle currently serves as the director of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and as a member of the Law Society, the Luso-Canadian Lawyers Association and the American Justice Association.
On May 31, 2016, she was elected president of the Federation of Portuguese-Canadian Business and Professionals (FPCBP), an organization created in 1981 to represent entrepreneurs and professionals from various sectors in the Toronto metropolitan area (GTA) and Southern Ontario. During this one-year term, Michelle has sought to attract more youth to the organization and invest in network among members.
Among other initiatives, Michelle Jorge held a meeting with former FPCBC presidents to discuss the work developed over the years and to talk about the future goals of the organization.
DISCOVER – What prompted you to run for the presidency of the FPCBP?
Michelle Jorge – I have always felt very connected to my Portuguese roots. Even though I was born here, I’ve always identified myself as Portuguese. And I have always been very active in the Portuguese community as a business professional. I’ve reached a point in my career where I am ready to give back to the Portuguese-speaking community. I feel there is a lot of work to be done to motivate the youth to pursue high education and network more.
DISCOVER – What are the main objectives of your action plan?
Michelle Jorge – We really want to revive the Federation. It is a wonderful union of terrific Portuguese business and other professionals. Our goal is to strengthen the network among them and bring in new memberships, specifically younger members. Our focus is to attract university students and to assist them in their careers and networking.
DISCOVER – How will FPCBP create opportunities for Portuguese professionals in Canada?
Michelle Jorge – We are working very hard to enhance networking opportunities, organize events and increase our presence through social media. We are trying to partner with Portuguese and other organizations, as well as universities.
DISCOVER – How do you think the FPCBP will contribute to the evolution of Portuguese immigrants in Ontario?
Michelle Jorge – I think that a new immigrant professional joining the Federation will be presented with an excellent opportunity to develop a solid network. We have a number of different businesses owners and government representatives as part of our organization. So, it’s an excellent way to find employment and connect with other professionals.