For Rechie Valdez, having to learn everything about her new job as the MP for Mississauga-Streetsville hasn’t been so intimidating. She has repaved her career path multiple times, turning self-described “side hustles” into full-time focuses as an entrepreneur.
“I’ve gone through so much transition and change. I’ve pivoted from corporate banking to owning a small business, so this is no different,” she told CTVNews.ca in a recent interview. “The things that I’m learning are different, they’re unique, because they’re all about politics and policies… but that’s the only difference.”
The 41-year-old spent years in the financial sector before finally deciding to branch out into a series of creative avenues.
Her latest endeavour shall see her make history when she takes her seat in the House of Commons on November 22, as she’ll be doing so as Canada’s first federally-elected Filipina MP.
“I myself have the unique opportunity of also not just representing Mississauga-Streetsville, but for the first time being able to be the voice of a larger community,” Valdez said. “I realize the responsibility that lays on me to be able to speak about the issues that are very similar to others, but very unique to Filipinos… It’s a very proud moment.”
Valdez is one of the 50 rookie MPs elected in the 2021 federal election. Among the entrepreneurial endeavours Valdez has managed pre-politics: owning a baking business called ‘Chietopia’ after becoming a self-taught home baker — co-founding a line of Filipino fusion pastries that until just before the pandemic were carried at T&T and, competed on the latest season of Food Network Canada’s competition show ‘The Big Bake.’
She’s also used her love for basketball to help raise money for SickKids, and over this past summer she hosted a television show on Filipino TV called ‘Fearlessly Creative,’ where she participated in discussions with other entrepreneurs and artists, which she described as “pivotal” in her decision to run for MP.
“If you go into politics… you know there’s a little bit of fearlessness involved. By choosing to put my name on the ballot, it took me to have a little courage, and have faith in myself and believe in who I am as an individual and what I bring to the table,” she said.
A long-time Liberal supporter, Valdez said her interest in running for politics was sparked a long time ago after watching a couple friends campaign for city council positions, and helping them knock on doors.
Travelling to Ottawa for her MP orientation training and getting to walk into West Block, where she realized that she’s got a spot in the glass-enclosed Chamber earlier this fall, was a “phenomenal experience,” she said, strengthening her resolve to get things done for her constituents.