Herman Chang with TRIEC Executive Director, Margaret Eaton

Every mentoring partnership has a story of its own. Herman Chang shared the story of his partnership with Paulo Moraes, a project management professional who moved to Canada from Brazil, bringing with him an engineering degree, an MBA and PMP designation. Herman was impressed with Paolo’s background experience and expected him to find a job without too much difficulty.

Herman, who’s a licensed professional engineer himself and also holds an MBA, decided to become a mentor with TRIEC Mentoring Partnership in 2014. He has held leadership roles in various sectors, including education, public sector, telecommunications and management consulting. Having assisted many new graduates seeking employment, Herman knows that finding suitable employment is not always easy, even for those born in Canada.

Finding the job is the ‘icing on the cake’ for the partnership

Paulo was a highly committed mentee and his project management background came through very early on through his detailed spreadsheet with target milestones and follow-ups that we reviewed together every week.

The first two months went by in a flash, then things slowed down in the summer.  Soon, the next two months had gone by and Paulo was still without a job. It was disappointing but we were far from despair. Although my commitment came to an end on September 12, I told Paulo that I would continue to be available to check in informally until at least the end of 2017.

Fortunately, Paulo received a job offer in his field about two weeks after our mentoring partnership ended. It truly was the icing on the cake that Paulo was able to land a job at this time. Even if he had taken longer, I think we’d both agree that the mentoring partnership was tremendously worthwhile.

The job search is ‘a marathon race, not a 100m sprint’

Job searching can be an emotional roller‐coaster. My job was to encourage my mentee through the disappointments of slow responses and missed opportunities that seemed on the surface like a great fit.

It was really important that Paulo and I entered this exercise understanding that this was a marathon, not a 100m sprint. Mental and emotional stamina would be critical. I especially want to thank Janet Gaffney, our coach at Sheridan College, for her encouragement and awesome support, helping us both through the marathon.

We all talk about the need for networking, networking and more networking. This is where we as mentors are invaluable. My responsibility was to set up information interviews for Paulo to meet my connections and I probably drove him crazy saying a key objective of every single meeting was to line up more meetings.

In the end, you just never know which seed you plant will take root, or when. Paulo’s job offer finally came through one of the earliest meetings that he had in the very first month of our mentoring relationship.

We had wonderful conversations

I can tell you that my meetings with Paulo were not just focused on job search topics. We had wonderful conversations about Brazilian politics, social classes, soccer, our families and our life aspirations. Through Paulo, I was able to understand Brazil beyond the images of samba, beaches, the Rio Carnival and Neymar their great soccer player.

I have no doubt that Paulo and I will keep in touch and that he knows that he can count on me for career advice in the future. I have told him that my wish is that he will also become a mentor to a new immigrant when he’s ready.

It was just over 40 years ago that I came to Canada as a new immigrant. Canada has been good to me and my family and I feel truly blessed to live in this great country. I cannot think of a better way to pay it forward than to be a mentor to a new immigrant.

Thanks to Herman for sharing the story of his partnership with his mentee. How about registering as a volunteer mentor creating your own mentoring story?

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