Posted by Salman Khan |

Talking About Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Employee Spotlight on Salman

Introducing Salman Khan, Co-Chair of Toronto Global's Diversity and Inclusion Task Force



Salman Khan is a Senior Advisor on Toronto Global’s Investment Attraction team, focusing on the European market. Salman works to attract investment primarily from the U.K., Ireland, and Nordic countries, and supports senior executives from companies as they evaluate the Toronto Region as an investment destination. In the last five years at Toronto Global, Salman has helped over 30 companies expand to the Toronto Region, creating over 1,000 jobs and contributing at least $150 million to the local economy. A few of Salman’s major clients include DNEG, Patsnap, HSBC (AI Lab) and Babylon Health.

“I like the fact that we are working in an international operating environment. I like learning about and supporting innovative companies that are on the cutting edge of technology. By engaging with the C-suite, I have the opportunity to experience how real-time business decisions are made and the thought process behind international expansion. Deciding where to build the next software development hub for a company is not a simple decision, it involves satisfying multiple stakeholders, and gathering and analyzing data on salaries, cost of living, and the local talent pool, while mitigating for unexpected risks. The fact that I get to learn something new every day when I work with these international companies is what I love most about my job,” said Salman.

Salman is passionate about technology and the environment. He melds these two passions together in his involvement with the E-Mobility Working Group at Toronto Global where he collaborates with colleagues interested in growing their knowledge and network in the e-mobility sector. Relevant sub-sectors in e-mobility include electric vehicle manufacturing, electric battery production, energy management and charging infrastructure. “I'm passionate about this because it is critical to support companies in this sector if we are to get anywhere close to achieving the Canadian and global climate objectives,” said Salman.

Salman chose to lead this working group as an opportunity to better understand how subsectors within the e-mobility industry positively impact the environment and what their business models looks like. “We're seeing an increased interest in e-mobility in the Toronto Region and expect to see this interest grow as major players land in the region,” said Salman. “Some of my clients are building electric buses or batteries for electric vehicles, others are building autonomous driving or energy management software.”


Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Culture

Salman is co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force at Toronto Global, which meets regularly to discuss how to best address topics of diversity and inclusion both internally and externally.

Equity was a very important motivator for Salman to take on the role as co-chair. “For me, it’s about everyone having the same chance to be successful,” he said. He also saw the position as an opportunity for him to better educate himself on diversity issues within organizations. “I am from a visible minority group, but that doesn't mean I have the answer to everything,” he said.

Salman enjoys bridging different cultures and is always eager to learn more about cultures different from his own. His interest in multiculturalism makes him well suited in his position at Toronto Global, as he communicates with companies internationally every day; and at the heart of his work is developing a human connection: working with people and helping them put their best foot forward to succeed in a new market.

“There’s a natural openness in me wanting to learn about different people, cultures and traditions,” he said. Salman can speak three languages, Urdu, English and Bahasa Melayu, the local language spoken in Brunei Darussalam, where he grew up.


Background

Salman came to Toronto as an international student in 2003. While he was born in Pakistan, Salman grew up in Brunei – a country in Southeast Asia – and lived there for 17 years before coming to Toronto.

“Because I was an international student, I saw a lot of students struggle with assimilating and finding decent jobs to afford living in Toronto,” said Salman. The immigration process was not easy for Salman either, he lived in Canada for 12 years before receiving his Canadian citizenship in 2015.

Fast forward to the present, Salman now has two young kids at home with whom he shares his cultural traditions. Salman looks forward to celebrating Ramadan and Eid with his family and community annually.

“That is a time our family looks forward to every year. Ramadan is a time for self-reflection, and culminates with Eid celebrations with friends and family,” said Salman. “For the last two years, during the pandemic, the mosques were closed. Usually, you would go to pray every night, but they were closed. It became really hard for the community to connect with each other.”


Outside of Toronto Global

Salman is a part-time instructor at York University and Durham College, where he teaches courses in international business and artificial intelligence. This is an opportunity for Salman to bring his industry experience to the classroom and share real world examples. “All my students are either international students or new immigrants. This is my way of maintaining the connection with the new immigrant community while sharing my immigrant experience with my students,” he said.

Salman also works with the new immigrant community as a volunteer mentor at the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). Salman advises mentees on how to present themselves in front of Canadian employers and assists them with finding relevant resources. “I’m here to give them the Canadian context of interviews and getting hired,” he said.

Salman hopes this will give new immigrants the confidence and knowledge they need to get the jobs they want. “What I'm doing, on a small level, will make lives a lot easier for international students and recent immigrants who come here,” said Salman. “No one did this for me when I came to Canada. I was on my own.”


What’s next?

Salman has an optimistic look to the future. His favourite quote? “The best is yet to come” - Ted Rogers.

Salman believes the pandemic has highlighted the importance of community, and vows not to take any of his professional or personal relationships for granted. Salman is excited to continue to work with Toronto Global and keep making meaningful international connections.

“I’ve always had exposure to international elements in my life and coming to work at Toronto Global was a natural extension of that. I’m passionate about the exchange of ideas, culture, language, and food – which makes the work I do at Toronto Global that much more exciting and fulfilling,” he said.


Image above: Salman Khan and his family at the Toronto Botanical Garden


 

About the Author

Salman Khan

Salman KhanSenior Advisor, Investment Attraction Europe

Connect with me

skhan@torontoglobal.ca