Mentorship is a supportive learning relationship that enables sharing of skills, insights, and encouragement between a mentor and a mentee. Mentorship is so important that several non-profits have programs designed to build mentorship relationships.
Vancouver’s chapter of Dress for Success (DFS) offers mentorship as part of its Professional Women’s Group (PWG) program. The program matches mentees with mentors for guidance, inspiration, and support as part of the professional and personal development program.
Immigrant Muse reached out to graduates of PWG to learn how mentorship has benefitted them.
Sanam Mohsenin came to Canada in 2018 with a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry and extensive professional experience in the pharmaceutical sector from Iran. Her lack of Canadian experience and language proficiency created barriers for her to find a job. Her first mentorship experience was through PWG in the 2022 cohort.
Sanam’s photo courtesy Dress for Success Vancouver
Tracy Adole migrated to Canada in July 2019 from the UK but is originally from Nigeria. She is a Certified Project Management Professional with a PhD in Geography and Environment from the University of Southampton, UK. Tracy is currently a Physical Geography Instructor at Coquitlam College, and Research Associate for the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia (SPARC BC). Like Sanam, she was also in the 2022 cohort of PWG.
Tracy’s photo courtesy Dress for Success Vancouver
Katrina Macadaeg came to Canada in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s in Technology Management. When she started at PWG, her first contract job in Canada had just ended and she was searching for the next opportunity. Katrina is currently a Food Safety, Quality, and Regulatory Specialist for a food manufacturing company. She graduated from PWG in 2014 and became a mentor for the program in 2021. She continues to seek formal and informal mentorship in her workplace and beyond.
Why did you look for a mentorship opportunity?
Sanam Mohsenin: Mentorship has shown me that I can reach my goals and reminds me of my capabilities. I gained confidence through mentorship – the feeling that I am valued as a person and I can add value to my job and personal life. I have also gained the two necessary factors to achieve my goals – having a plan and passion. I now understand that, first, having a plan encourages me to take action, even small actions and not to stop. Second, passion is a fuel to move.
Tracy Adole: There have been significant changes in my networking and interpersonal skills as a result of the mentorship program, and most importantly my circle of professional network has increased.
Katrina Macadaeg: The boost in confidence that the mentor gave me was more than enough for me to continue my job search. The confidence, emotional support, and feeling of belonging propelled me to accomplish things I would have never considered doing otherwise.
What skills have you gained from mentorship that have helped you to integrate into your workplace or society better?
Sanam Mohsenin: Mentorship has helped me to make progress specifically in my job field… (and) has drawn a road map for my improvement as well.
Tracy Adole: Interpersonal and networking skills.
Katrina Macadaeg: Mentors helped me clarify my goals, as well as my strengths and weaknesses, to identify my next improvement steps. I have learned to use feedback for self-development. I have also enhanced my interpersonal skills and learned to mentor others.
What tips can you share to help immigrants make the most out of mentorship?
Sanam Mohsenin: I believe, first people should look for a mentor in a related job field. Second, focus on their weak points and ask for help around that. Third, it is important to be open to feedback from their mentors as a safe environment.
Tracy Adole: Learn about how to also be a mentor to someone else.
Katrina Macadaeg: Mentorship relationships may end or transform. So, it is important to learn skills that will help you continue your progress on your own. It is likewise important to ask about resources or learning opportunities that you can use in your own time.
Mentorship requires an investment of time and trust. But these are incomparable compared to its benefits, as explained by these mentorship program graduates. Mentorship has improved their technical and soft skills. More importantly, the supportive relationship empowered them to pave their own way towards success even after the mentorship ended.
Do you have a mentor? It may be time to consider looking for one. Settlement agencies or community building non-profit organizations in your community might offer mentorship programs.