Mike Oreskovic a 10-time mentor shares his mentoring story of why he keeps coming back to mentor newcomers to transition into roles within their industries.
What motivates you to keep coming back as a mentor?
I became a mentor because my own parents came to Canada in the 1960’s and I often thought that it might have been easier for them if they had received some friendly guidance from a person who had an established career in the world that they were entering. As I complete each session, the feedback is positive, and you can’t help but feel that you have made a real contribution to a person starting their Canadian career. The feeling of that “rush” and “pride” keeps me coming back for more.
What would be your top tip for a new volunteer mentor?
It’s not as hard as you might think. TRIEC has a great program and collaterals to guide you through the process. Over time you build up the articles and documents to back up the discussions. You are not expected to be an authority on everything but rather to lend your learned experience to this mentee. You will find that your greatest role is to provide some accountability to the tasks that the mentee needs to do, and they will always step up because they know that they made the commitment and want to make sure that they keep up their end of the bargain for your next call.
What has been your top aha mentoring moment?
You can’t help but develop a personal relationship because it is a very open relationship – the mentee will put it all out there. On the other hand, I do find that being a mentor has a shelf life. You help the mentee get through a part of their life, but they do eventually move on to others who will help them through the next phase but they don’t forget you. It is nice to hear back from a mentee a year or two later when they get stuck, and they turn to you for some guidance.
How has becoming a mentor helped you succeed in your own career?
I have learned to be a little more thoughtful with the young people with whom I work. I do not mean being soft and coddling but rather more deliberate. I am a Senior Manager so it is tough to get entry level young people to open up so that I can understand where they are coming from. Being a mentor has given me a perspective that I would not have had otherwise.