Home » Mentor stories » Iqbal Ali – Mentor to 10 or more skilled immigrants

“What I find most meaningful about mentoring is providing the encouragement, guidance, coaching and support that professional immigrants need when they are challenged getting into the job market. I love hearing from mentees when they’ve finally found a good job and got their foot in the door.”

Why I started mentoring

I wanted to share my experience. When I came to Canada from India twenty-two years ago after working nearly 10 years in multinational companies in South East Asia and the Middle East, there was no support. Having gone through that pain I really wanted to help and guide other newcomers, so they don’t have to experience the same frustrations.

What makes mentoring meaningful for me

It feels right to help people who have strong commitments, skills, education and competencies to find a suitable job to begin their lives in Canada.

What lessons can be learned from mentoring

The biggest lesson is around understanding other cultures. And it goes both ways. I know that I have learned from my mentees and they from me. I think I’m also a better listener.

My mentoring strategy

I know that I have the delicate task of listening to mentees’ experiences and dreams, and trying to re-shape them into short- and long-term goals. I spend quite a bit of time coaching mentees on how to be positive, energetic and focused. Together we review their resume and practice for job interviews. I point out networking opportunities, direct mentees to free seminars and training, and connect them with previous mentees who are already employed.

One mentoring experience that stands out for me

I had an extremely bright mentee who was just not getting interviews. She was getting frustrated. We developed a plan and finally she got a finance position with one of the big banks in Toronto. Later she found a position on Wall Street. She lives in New York City now, is happily married and still stays in touch.

Mentee Michal Litwora on the difference mentor Iqbal Ali made to his job search

I met Iqbal at just the right time. While I had finally landed myself an interview for a senior analyst position, I needed some guidance on how Canadian job interviews are different from those in Poland. I expected technical questions, but Iqbal told me to also focus on researching and articulating why I would be a good match for that employer. That insight gave me the confidence I needed to perform well in the interview. It’s been three months and I’m really happy with my job at Union Gas. I know that my good performance is also due to the discussions we had around what I needed to do to integrate well into the Canadian workplace and society. Those few discussions Iqbal and I had were invaluable.

More on mentor Iqbal Ali, M.Com. CGA. CMM III
  • Director of Financial Management.
  • Social Development, Finance & Administration, City of Toronto.
  • Mentor to 10 or more skilled immigrants through The Mentoring Partnership.
  • Heard about The Mentoring Partnership through the City of Toronto.
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