Being a generalist and solution-oriented individual with a passion for learning has allowed Eraj Waqar to work in different spaces while serving her primary goal of helping people. Following a career in the government and public sector, Eraj is currently working for Achēv (a TRIEC Mentoring community partner) as an Information Counsellor. She helps newcomers get connected with programs and services in the community. Eraj’s career journey has always been client-focused, and is grateful to give back to her community through her work. When Eraj came to Canada with her family, she saw how challenging the newcomers’ journey can be, and her goal is to continue working in some ways to support people to make their journey more accessible and help them reach their goals. Eraj shares her mentoring experience.
Why did you want to start mentoring?
Finding your ground and getting started can be overwhelming for many job seekers. I started mentoring with TRIEC because I find your purpose sincere and unique, and I wanted to help newcomers expand their professional networks and understand the local labour market. With this program, I was able to connect with people who needed support to understand the workplace environment in Canada while also helping to boost their self-confidence. Mentoring is also a great way to develop and enhance leadership skills, and it also gives you a sense of fulfillment knowing that you can help create stepping stones for people who want to move forward in their career.
What does being a mentor mean to you?
For me being a mentor means making yourself available to help and advise someone when they need it, giving that support in a way that makes sense to them, and always keeping that person’s best interests in mind. It’s about having authentic conversations and staying engaged throughout the partnership while creating a positive environment to work collaboratively.
How did you support your mentee throughout the partnership?
I had a great mentee who was prepared, willing to learn, asked questions, and showed interest in learning and trying new things, making the partnership meaningful and interactive. We stayed in touch throughout the partnership period and talked about different things every time we connected. We created a plan and agreed on what we wanted to work on, and we tackled those subjects one by one. From interview tips to updating up a LinkedIn profile, practicing for interviews, and discussing job search strategies, we covered a lot during our time. My mentee has a good sense of her strengths and knew where she needed support, so we worked well together and explored a lot of helpful resources to help her in her future career.
What has been your top mentoring moment?
For me, the entire journey was very incredible rather than just one moment. Seeing my mentee’s new side as she became more confident and sure about what she wanted to do was very special. I saw a positive shift in how she talked about herself, and how confident she seemed when we reached the end of our partnership was a great achievement for me as a mentor. I always believe that the way we see ourselves is very important, and we should always have faith in our abilities. I always see mentorship as a way to make someone feel empowered, and through guidance and support, if we can make someone feel more confident in themselves, I think that itself is a wonderful accomplishment. For me, the end of our partnership journey was emotional in a way, but I felt very proud of my mentee because I saw so much potential in her, and I could see that she knew what she needed to do to get her where she wanted to be.
Any advice you would give to someone considering mentoring?
Do it! You’ve got nothing to lose but to gain an immense amount of support and guidance, and it’s a great way to build and grow your network. Mentoring creates an impact that can change lives, and I genuinely believe that sometimes all it takes is one person to motivate you or help guide you to meet your goals. Try it out!