The Upwardly Global family mourns the loss of Saskia Shields, a dedicated administrative professional, Dutch immigrant, and alumna of Upwardly Global’s job placement program. Saskia was killed by her husband in Queens this week. We are equally saddened by the deaths of Linda Olthof and her six-year-old son, James, Jr., whose lives were taken in the same senseless act of violence.
“Saskia came to us at the beginning of the year, thrilled to be in the United States and so eager to integrate into the American society and workforce. She had an earnest desire to work for a company that contributed to the greater good, and quickly secured employment as an office manager after completing UpGlo’s training,” said Saskia’s Upwardly Global adviser. “It was truly my honor to get to know Saskia, and I am incredibly saddened that her personal and professional journey has come to an end, and in such an unconscionable way. She had so much left to do.”
Since opening our doors, Upwardly Global has helped more than 2,500 refugee and immigrant women succeed professionally in the U.S. We have supported women who have fled abusive marriages, women who have suffered sexual assault, women who have risked everything to protect their children. In almost all cases, these women sacrificed their professional careers in their home countries to clean houses or drive taxis in the U.S—all for a chance to end the violence and realize their potential.
With coaching from UpGlo, these women are now working as analysts, managers and engineers. They are financially independent, supporting their families and contributing to their communities.
We were honored to support Saskia in fulfilling her professional goals. To honor her memory, we will continue to serve brave and resilient women like her, eliminating barriers to help them achieve their potential and fully integrate into the fabric of American life.