Vimla understands the challenges that many immigrants to Canada face because she and her family were once newcomers themselves. At the time she did not know of any mentoring programs for newcomers. But after completing her CPA, CGA Vimla came across The Mentoring Partnership and she immediately knew she could help newcomers by sharing what she had learnt over the years through her professional and personal experiences.
Being on my 10th partnership, I’m motivated by the joy in a mentee’s eyes when they get an interview; the relief on they feel when they learn that their experience has been shared by many newcomers before them; and the enthusiasm when they realize that we can face these challenges with the each other’s support and help from our networks. Some mentees have become personal friends and we’ve kept in touch over the years.
One of my most memorable moments was when one of my mentees called me crying with joy that she had been invited to an interview. We had worked together to prepare her cover letter and resume and she was so happy to get the call. While she did not get the job at the time, after a few more interviews for other positions she landed a job in finance. But that interview call was a highlight.
Being a mentor has taught me perspective. In helping mentees find solutions, also feel better equipped to overcome my own hurdles and above all I have gained empathy and understanding. When I think about how I’ve changed from my first partnership to the most recent, I think I am more confident. I was a little hesitant at first, but as I’ve progressed, I go into a partnership knowing I will be able to help my mentee or find the resources to help them identify solutions. I also have a better understanding of the different situations faced by newcomers to Canada. I do not take what I have in my life for granted and am thankful for my blessings.
If you are thinking about becoming a mentor, it’s great to know the there are lots of support available to you throughout your partnership. The website is full of resources and your mentoring coach is there for guidance. The networking events and webinars are also great learning opportunities that provide a lot of suggestions on what to talk about with your mentee.
My top tips to a new mentor would be:
- Take on this responsibility only if you enjoy it. Mentoring should be enjoyable for you too.
- Ask lots of questions; be curious.
- Listen carefully so you can help find the best solutions and provide the support to your mentee.