Karen Sinotte brings over 30 years’ experience in marketing, business strategy, and data analytics (primarily in financial services) to her role as professor at George Brown College. As a faculty member of the college’s School of Management, Karen enjoys teaching future business leaders drawing from real world experiences and conducting research projects for the school. Karen has completed 10 partnerships.
Why did you want to start mentoring?
I became a mentor in 2004 and saw it as an opportunity to learn and grow. I appreciated all the support that I received when I travelled and worked in other countries in my professional life and mentoring with TRIEC is an opportunity to give back to those coming to my home country, Canada.
Has becoming a mentor also helped you succeed in your own career?
Most definitely. Becoming a mentor has helped me in my own career. I have been inspired by the capacity that the mentees have for taking risks. The relationships have prompted me to remember that every person’s story has many hidden layers that we don’t see about perseverance, successes and failures.
Can you share a highlight from one of your partnerships?
I so appreciated when my mentee, Amy, came to speak with one of my entrepreneur classes about her online business. And then hearing a few months later how she went on to get a venture capital to grow her business!
What has inspired you to continue as a mentor?
The happy ending doesn’t happen in 3 months. I appreciate staying in touch with the mentees and the opportunity to get together as a “mentee” group where we share how far everyone has come and help all the “newbies”.
My biggest take away from my mentoring experience, is that everyone has their own stories of trials and triumphs of the settlement process. Like the layers of an onion, some tears on the way. The mentoring relationship is not just about the job search, but about understanding the isolation that comes from starting anew and how it affects the mentee, their family here, but also the family and friends and careers that they left behind. It’s about being excited about the opportunities and disappointed with the realities. And over time, by staying connected beyond the mentoring relationship, we see how perseverance ends in triumph though tough choices and sometimes plain luck. It’s life and the life of any Canadian going through transition, some tougher than others.
How has being a mentor changed for you from your first partnership to your most recent?
I feel that being a mentor has made me a better listener, a better coach, a better mentor and the ability to know the difference!
What would be your top tip for a new mentor?
Perhaps the most significant role of a mentor is someone that can break the isolation and is generous with sharing their network.
And lastly, could you please complete the following sentence…
“The future of mentoring is…an experience that is accessible to everyone”.