Surrey Hearing Care President Maria Nieves Santos-Greaves has been chosen as one of the top 75 shortlisted for the seventh annual RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards 2015. To make it to the final 25 is a combination of judges scoring as well online votes from the public. Canadian Immigrant magazine which is the main organizer has officially begun the online voting stage. These awards are known as a People’s Choice Award, so voting is an important part of the process to narrow down the shortlist to the final Top 25.
To vote online, go to http://canadianimmigrant.ca/canadas-top-25-immigrants or http://www.canadianimmigrant.ca/rbctop25 between now and May 11, 2015. The Top 25 winners will then be announced online on June 23, 2015, and featured in the July print edition of Canadian Immigrant magazine.
When Santos-Greaves came to Canada, she started working in a dollar store, sold registered education savings plans, and then worked at a call centre for three years. Later she became an audiometric technician at Fraser Health eventually landing as a receptionist in various hearing clinics. That was when Santos-Greaves thought of starting her own clinic not only for financial security, but also in her personal desire to provide compassionate and complete quality care to those longing to hear better.
With perseverance and a strong determination to succeed, Santos-Greaves built and nurtured Surrey Hearing Care Inc. — now with a third clinic, and plans for more. Possibly the only immigrant woman in Canada who owns a hearing clinic company, Santos – Greaves says, “I am very passionate about my calling in ‘hearing.’”
More people, young and old of various races can now hear and listen better through the quality of service she and her staff provides. The slogan of her company “Helping You Hear the World” says it all. Through the years, Santos Greaves has made sure that the company’s mobile hearing clinic van goes and provides free hearing tests to mainstream, visible minorities and First Nations wherever the need arises. Surrey Hearing Care has supported a multitude of immigrant groups’ outreach: Filipinos, South Asians, and those of a collective multicultural participation across the Lower Mainland in British Columbia, not just Surrey alone. In addition, Surrey Hearing Care proudly carries the Maple Leaf and joins community, city, provincial and national celebrations, such as Surrey’s Fusion Festival and Canada Day.
“Having your own business is not easy, but when you love what you do it becomes second nature. It does not feel like work. There are no days that I am not upbeat about going to work. Early mornings, I report to the clinic and make sure through the work week to cover all three branches.”
“I know what it means to toil and work and have a family. I am a single mom to a 14-yearold boy and balancing lifestyle and business is not easy. That is why I believe it is critical we as immigrants help and support each other so that we will not be afraid to take risks and succeed in doing what we were trained for, attaining our dreams for ourselves and our children.”
Santos-Greaves was also a finalist in the Surrey Board of Trade’s sixth Annual Surrey Women in Business Awards. Santos-Greaves related that she was in the hospital taking care of my mom when she learned she was on the shortlist.
“I was about to go to the Philippines for spring break vacation with my son and sister’s family on March 5th but I had to delay my trip,” she recalled.
Santos-Greaves added: “I was a bit surprised. I read the e-mail twice because maybe they made a mistake. I was just a finalist for the Surrey Women in Business Awards and prior to that a Maharlika awardee so it was both a wonder and overwhelming.”
“I realized that perhaps I was making a difference,” Santos-Greaves also said.
She also has some words of encouragement to immigrants . “I just want to say to my fellow immigrants not to give up to your dreams,” Santos-Greaves said. “Just believe and have a strong will power and above all. Always pray to God and He will guide us.”