Impact of Giving

Community-minded alumna recognized for giving back

Author: Development and Donor Relations

Posted on Jan 10, 2023

Category: Creating Opportunities for Students , Scholarships and Bursaries

Neelab Rahimi (BA’15, MBA’21) is excelling in her chosen career in Saint John, NB, a long way from her early childhood in Afghanistan.

Neelab says her parents brought her family to Canada to take advantage of educational opportunities not open to women in her home country. She has made the most of those opportunities throughout her time at UNB, while consistently giving back to her community of Saint John.

While pursuing her MBA at UNB Saint John, she was awarded the Kerry McLellan Award in recognition of her academic achievement and community involvement. Founded through support from the late Saint John business leader Dr. Kerry S. McLellan (BBA’83), the Kerry McLellan Award is awarded each year to an outstanding MBA candidate on the Saint John campus.

The financial support the award provided was helpful but Neelab had another reason for her appreciation. “It was touching to see that someone had taken time to read my story and understand where I had come from and what I was working towards. When someone believes in you without even knowing you, there is a boost of confidence that what you are doing is correct, that all the hard work is worth it,” she said.

On top of her studies, Neelab has a long history of serving her community. She volunteered throughout her undergraduate degree as a peer mentor with the Backyard Book Club, a program within UNB’s Promise Partnership initiative aimed at improving educational attainment in Saint John’s priority neighbourhoods. In 2016 she helped to establish the Kennebecasis Valley Oasis Youth Centre, Atlantic Canada’s first multifaceted mental health youth centre, whose mission is “to provide safe, comfortable, accessible, multifaceted and stigma-free spaces” for youth and their families.

Today, Neelab is putting to use the skills she acquired through her UNB education in her career as a human resources professional. 

She is not finished learning, though: her next goal is to attain the chartered professional in human resources (CPHR) designation necessary to fulfill her career goals. This designation, she said, “will help me be more effective in my role now and in the future.” The future is bright for this dedicated, community-minded UNB alumna.

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