Securing a job in a new country is not an easy task for any newcomer, but help along the way can make finding fruitful work a little less challenging. Volunteer mentors at TRIEC Mentoring Partnership hope to make the newcomer’s employment journey a bit easier and that mentoring has a positive ripple effect in the Greater Toronto Area as a whole.
To find out what’s involved in mentoring, and the impact it has, we asked Ria Madan, Director, Vendor Transition Management Office at Manulife and mentor at TRIEC Mentoring Partnership and two of her newcomer mentees Banke Orimolade and Tapangshu Das, to share their stories in a two-part blog series.
This blog, the second in the series, features Ria, on how she worked to inspire her mentees and what she has gained from the experience of being a mentor.
About the mentor:
Ria Madan brings 18 years of global experience as a legal professional specializing in commercial law and contracts, having worked with people from a wide range of diverse cultural backgrounds. She has mentored 8 newcomer professionals with TRIEC Mentoring Partnership. Prior to her work with Manulife, Ria worked for top law firms and multinational corporations such as DHL, HSBC, Rogers and Accenture in both India and Canada. She earned a B.A. (English Hons.) and law degree from the University of Calcutta in India, and was called to the Bar in India in 2000 and the Ontario Bar in 2014.
Q) How did you become involved in TRIEC Mentoring Partnership?
I am committed and passionate about ‘paying it forward’. My association with TRIEC started as a mentee when I immigrated to Canada in 2008, and went to volunteer as a mentor and the employer coordinator at Accenture. I continue to volunteer with TRIEC at Manulife.
I have faced the same challenges as every other new immigrant – understanding the culture and then integrating to contribute and be a productive member of the community. Every day is a learning and adapting process. This skill and the experience that I gained in this country over the last decade is what I bring to a mentoring relation.
Q) What did you most enjoy in your mentoring partnerships?
Being a small part in the journey of a fellow immigrant, sharing similar experiences and lessons learned is most enjoyable and rewarding.
Q) Tell us about challenges you have had from being a mentor.
Each person I mentored comes from a different background and has varied expectations. Sometimes sharing my own experiences gave them a different perspective of the fabric of our Canadian culture and its finer nuances.
Q) What benefits do you think you have gained from being a mentor?
It is always a 2-way street in a mentoring relation. I learn from each of my mentee. Some taught me about new technologies, some about social media, some about new education programs. The most valuable part of this experience is a boost to my self-confidence and motivation. Every time I see and hear my mentee has achieved another milestone, it energizes me and pushes me to do more.
Q) What makes a successful mentoring partnership?
Listening, understanding, sharing experiences and general knowledge. Sometimes the most basic things that we take for granted are new to someone. It is important to provide insights on work culture which helps in faster integration.
Q) What advice would you give to a new mentor about how to make the most of the mentoring relationship?
Keep an open mind and do not assume or have pre-conceived ideas about any person based on the country they come from or their background. Knowing the person and understanding their objective is part of the mentoring process. At the end of a successful official mentoring period, a mentor gets the satisfaction of helping another human being while expanding knowledge and developing leadership qualities.
Q) Why do you think that immigration is important for growth in Canada?
The wealth of skills, experience and diversity that immigrants bring to this country is immensely valuable for our future growth. Our immigration system ensures that skilled people from diverse background come here to make a successful life. The more success they have, the more we grow as a country. To stay competitive and be one of the leading nations, we need talent. Immigration brings this talent to our country.