Dan Mitta, Architect-Building Code Advisor with the Ontario Public Service, has been a mentor in The Mentoring Partnership for over seven years and has mentored more than 10 internationally trained architects in the GTA. He spoke with us about his experience as a mentor and how he has supported his mentees’ search for employment.
Dan began his career as an architect in Ontario, having graduated from McGill University. For the past 15 years, he has worked for the Government of Ontario writing the Building Code. Prior to that, he worked for a municipality and a couple of private architectural firms.
He became a mentor with The Mentoring Partnership because he was looking for a volunteering opportunity that would make the most of his experiences and knowledge. “Before becoming a mentor, I had been mentored myself by someone from work and found it to be very effective,” Dan says. “Therefore, I wanted to mentor internationally trained architects in Toronto.”
“Once I got the swing of it and got some positive feedback, I decided that I might as well keep at it,” he said, when asked about his inspiration to continue mentoring. “Besides, I kept on getting calls asking me if I could mentor someone else.”
Talking about the changes he has seen over the years while mentoring, “It has become much easier as I now know the fundamentals that help in the job search,” he said. “At the same time, mentees are all different: different strengths, different weaknesses. It is important to understand and remember that when you are supporting them.”
Some advice he gives to his mentees is to attend professional events and activities to meet others in the architecture field to build their networks. He also recommends that they consider joining clubs /organizations related to hobbies that they enjoy. “Building people skills, especially in a new culture, goes a long way towards getting on in the world, ” says Dan.
When asked about his own experience as a mentor, Dan said, “Mentoring is great: you get to meet new people and help them. Nothing is more gratifying than making a difference. Many of my past mentees have contacted me years later and told me how I helped them get to where they are. I am happy that I made a difference although, at the same time, I do feel that it was their own ability that really mattered in the end.”