When Loreal Rhodes immigrated to Canada with her family in her teens, she saw the struggles her parents went through trying to fit into a new culture and find jobs that would suit their skills and experience. Her mother eventually landed satisfying work, but her father never managed to. Today, as an employee of CIBC, she mentors newcomer professionals through the TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, because she says “it truly makes me feel like I’m making a difference. I’m doing something that I wish had been done for my dad.”
Employer partners like CIBC play a hugely important role in the TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, as they work to recruit mentors like Rhodes from within their organizations. The mentors volunteer their time to support job-ready newcomers to navigate the Canadian job market with the aim to secure meaningful employment opportunities in their field. Thanks to their commitment, over 10,000 mentors have supported 18,000 newcomers over the last 15 years. This year a number of longstanding partners of the program achieved some remarkable milestones, achievements captured in a video being released today.
Created for the 2nd Annual TRIEC Immigrant Inclusion Summit where TRIEC partners, thought leaders and mentors came together to celebrate our shared impact on newcomer employment success, the video features the four winners of this year’s Employer Partner Mentoring Milestone Award: TD and the City of Toronto who hit 2,000 mentor matches, CIBC who made it to 1,500 and RBC who achieved 1,000 matches.
The pride of the Employer Partner Mentoring Milestone Award
“Winning the award is such a pride moment. 2,000 mentor matches, that’s unbelievable. That’s 2,000 lives essentially that have been impacted by the decision that we’ve made to lean in and help newcomers,” says Nkechi Nwafor-Robinson, AVP Segment Technology, TD and Executive Sponsor for TRIEC Mentoring Partnership.
Nwafor-Robinson is joined by fellow executive sponsors and employer partner representatives Barclay Cornell, Senior VP Corporate Services, CIBC, Flora Do, VP Strategy & Client Insights, RBC, and Alicja Idzior, HR Consultant, City of Toronto, all of whom speak to the value they see mentoring making for both newcomers and their organizations.
To Idzior and her colleagues, the award “recognizes the tremendous amount of work that folks here at the City of Toronto do and the commitment of volunteers who are the most important aspect of this program for us.”
“Response from our employees has been overwhelming,” Do says of the dedicated team at RBC. “We’re so proud of the engagement of our employees in this program,” she says.
Employers like these winners who return to mentoring again and again and achieve these types of milestones are committed to the growth of newcomer mentoring and deeply invested in the promise of immigrant talent here in the GTA. “They (new immigrants) are very qualified individuals, are capable of being great employees. Not only do they come with talent but also they add so much to our diversity thinking,” Cornell says.
Mentoring newcomers is as much about developing mentors’ intercultural competence and leadership skills as it is about the mentee finding work- both parties learn from one another and benefit from the partnership.
For mentors, the rewards can be everything from being able to engage more smoothly with clients across the world, to appreciating how much, solutions-focused coaching can help someone they are supporting to meet their goals.
Mentors like Rhodes, who says she sees her role as a mentor as her father’s legacy, get to share in their mentees successes. One of her mentees, Prabalan Paneer Selvam, arrived in Canada a young dad himself, and struggled to get a foothold despite applying for a wide range of jobs. His mentoring partnership made the difference, helping him to adapt to the Canadian networking environment, and find gainful employment in financial services. As she says in the video, when Rhodes hears her mentees are doing well, she says she feels “on top of the world”.
Watch the full video:
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Read a related post: Where the mentoring magic begins: community partners