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Vijay Chander, Senior Program Manager, Rogers Communications

Vijay Chander came to Canada from the Philippines as a student, which afforded him both the opportunity to learn what Canadian employers were looking for and also understand the cultural dynamics necessary for successful integration into Canadian diaspora. It is this background that has served him well through his ten mentoring relationships with new immigrants in Canada.

“I realized that a lot of new immigrants were coming who were very well qualified but had no idea how to integrate into the society and how to find jobs,” says Vijay, a Senior Program Manager at Rogers Communications. “I wanted to see if I could help a few people and next thing I know, I found that I really enjoyed being a mentor.”

Importance of mentoring

Vijay firmly believes that mentoring plays a critical role for a new immigrant in Canada.

“A mentor is the bridge for the new immigrant,” says Vijay. “A mentor can help guide the mentee with real world experience – we can immediately say what works and what does not work anymore. We provide our mentees guidance in adapting to new culture and surroundings, and if necessary, on how to present oneself.”

It’s been a two-way street

In addition to helping new immigrants, Vijay found that he also learned a lot from the experience as well.

“I’ve learned how to interact with different people and how to understand what their struggles are,” says Vijay. “In the process, I’ve learned more about myself: what can I improve when I am communicating, what assumptions am I making and what are my blind spots.”

Vijay has taken these lessons and applied them in his own job. “I am in the position to hire new people all the time, so I always look at what are my blind spots and try to identify if a new immigrant candidate is a good candidate.”

Never looked back

Vijay has so enjoyed his experience as a mentor that he has long lost track of when he started or how many mentees he’s had.

“When I first heard about The Mentoring Partnership, I submitted my name and the rest is history,” he says. “I didn’t even realised I had mentored so many.”

Advice for mentees

  1. Just because you have the qualification doesn’t mean you will get the job. You need to learn how to effectively present yourself on paper and in person.
  2. Minds are like parachutes-they work best when they are open.

Advice for mentors

  1. Minds are like parachutes – they work best when they are open, don’t be too quick to judge.
  2. Be compassionate about where they are coming from and where you are coming from. Our gift to mentees is helping them to realize their dreams in Canada, successfully integrate in Canada.
  3. Don’t forget where you started from and be thankful that we can make a difference.
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