Elizabeth Pollard worked in the corporate world as an Executive Assistant in oil, retail, management consulting, and financial institutions. For 25 years she worked at RBC head office. Elizabeth’s career included various responsibilities such as office manager, projects and events, international travel, and human resources activities. Elizabeth is a seven-time mentor and shares her experience mentoring in TRIEC Mentoring Partnership.
What motivated you to join TRIEC Mentoring Partnership as a mentor?
After I retired from RBC, I wanted to find the right volunteer work that suited me best. It had to be personally rewarding and a way to give back to my community. I focused on volunteer work that involved one-to-one contact within my local business community. I reached out to the YMCA Employment Agency in the community and provided help to those who were looking to enter the workforce or change employment direction. After a few months, the YMCA supervisor realized I had more to offer and suggested that I would be a good mentor for TRIEC. Prior to joining YMCA, she had worked at TRIEC and so was well-aware of how it operated and the type of volunteers that would fit well. She believed that my knowledge, personality, and interpersonal skills would benefit both TRIEC and mentees. She reached out a TRIEC coach in Pickering and recommended me as a mentor. I never looked back. Today, after working in partnership with my seventh mentee, I thoroughly enjoy my role.
How have you supported your mentees throughout the partnerships?
It was important for me to first establish a rapport. Much like bonding activities in the workplace, making a connection, getting to know each other, goes a long way in paving the way to a successful outcome. I shared my action plan – a step by step approach of activities that build on one another. These included resume review and modification, creating a cover letter, interview techniques, job searching, resource material, etc. I also offered my support and advice in any way that would benefit the mentee. Most importantly I shared ongoing positive feedback regarding their work and progress.
What has been your top mentoring moment?
Prior to starting our partnership, one of my mentees had gone to a job interview. Afterwards, as she recounted to me what had happened, she broke down in tears, admitting she was not prepared at all. I promised her that she will go to an interview only after we have gone through the steps leading up to the interview so that she would be better prepared and confident. Eventually, when it was the right time and circumstance, she applied for a job, went to the interview (three interviews in all), and got the job. We were both ecstatic.
How has becoming a mentor helped you succeed in your own career?
Since I retired, working with mentees from different countries has given me great satisfaction. It has been extremely rewarding to help and see my mentees, new immigrants, achieve their full potential and find work in Canada. I enjoy sharing my experience and knowledge. It also gives me an opportunity to improve my coaching skills. On a personal note, I have learned so much about the people and cultures of their birth country.
What advice would you give to someone considering mentoring newcomers?
I encourage anyone considering mentoring newcomers to share their knowledge and experience in the workplace, good or bad. It’s easy to share good experiences but when we share the not so-good experience, it shows that we are not immune to adverse workplace situations. It shows we are human. More importantly, when we describe how we overcame those situations, it tells the mentees that they too can resolve uneasy situations at work. Lastly, an aspiring mentor should be aware that the role is a commitment in a one-on-one partnership for three months, a partnership that can be immensely rewarding!
Are you looking a volunteer opportunity to give back to your professional community? We are recruiting professionals in Cloud Computing, Data Scientist and Data Analyst to mentor newcomers. Find out more and how to apply here.