Fara Abrar, a Mentee turned Mentor in TRIEC Mentoring Partnership knew starting a new life in a new country wouldn’t be easy. It wasn’t. “The initial days were all about getting documentation completed. Finding a space for my daughter in daycare (with exorbitant fees), updating Canadian style resumes to apply at a multitude of places, not to mention witnessing extreme cold temperatures, and finding an affordable apartment to rent, it all felt too much to absorb at times.”
The biggest challenge for Fara was finding enough marketing related positions (customer, trade, digital) in a world that seemed to be full of IT or Finance related openings. “On top of that, the lack of ‘Canadian experience’ was not helping either. My multinational experience from back home usually came to naught.”
Fara met her mentor, Myan Marcen-Gaudaur, while she was already applying for jobs. Myan guided her through the interview processes, helped Fara in deciding between opportunities and emphasized networking the most!
Myan become involved in TRIEC Mentoring Partnership through her employer, CIBC, in 2018. “I was keen to find ways of supporting my broader community so I attended the information session and was instantly inspired by the positive impact TRIEC mentors could have on the lives of New Canadians. Sometimes the most meaningful solutions are also the simplest ones, and this mentorship program is one such example. It’s easy to take for granted the importance of having someone to count on for professional support – for many New Canadians, that dependable human connection is the missing piece on their path to employment. This program is designed in such a way that I could be that missing piece for someone and help make a big difference.”
Myan understands the journey from a mentee’s home nation to Canada can be filled with feelings of doubt, stress, worry and anxiety. “I love seeing my mentees like Fara rebuild their confidence with time, patience, and practice. I also always learn as much from my mentees as they learn from me. The experience and perspectives they bring to our partnership always leaves me feeling a little more insightful. They might not realize it, but the benefits go both ways!”
More benefits Myan has gained from being a mentor. “I’ve learned a lot about what it might feel like to have to start fresh in a new country and culture. Those who find their way to new countries have such determination, perseverance and courage. I am fortunate to work in a company that is wonderfully diverse and the empathy I’ve gained through my mentoring partnerships I’ve been able to extend to my colleagues and peers who have made similar journeys in the past. That awareness, sensitivity and empathy makes me a better colleague.”
On what makes a successful mentoring partnership, Myan believes it takes three things:
1) Being open-minded and curious
2) Custom creating each partnership based on the unique needs of the mentee
3) Staying committed to the task… and having trust and confidence that everything will work out.
Now Fara is a mentor in the program she gives advice on how new mentees can make the most of the mentoring relationship. “Your mentor is your best guide in this new world. Their guidance is critical to your success. They are experienced, know the system well, and are there to help you – follow them! Value the time you have with them and make the most of it!” Fara has seen her mentees put this into practice and it has paid off as one of her mentees has secured a role in her relevant field that Fara had referred her to.
Canada has finally started to feel like home for Fara. Her family recently applied for citizenship and hopes they can soon call themselves proud Canadians.
Are you a newcomer wanting to reconnect with your career in Canada? Consider joining TRIEC Mentoring Partnership.