On September 26th, 2023, TRIEC and Manulife, a long-time employer partner, co-hosted a flash mentoring event that brought together over 50 newcomer women and Manulife mentors from the Greater Toronto Area.  The event’s primary objective was to provide newcomer women with an invaluable platform for acquiring knowledge from seasoned professionals, exchanging their own experiences, and broadening their professional connections. The gathering underscored the transformative potential inherent in mentoring and networking.

Gillian Mason, TRIEC CEO, highlighted the importance of women investing in themselves and encouraged the newcomers to engage with Manulife professionals to kickstart their career networks. Gillian also provided an overview of TRIEC’s mission for immigrants to foster professional networks and strengthen the labour market. Gillian acknowledged Manulife’s significant achievement of over 200 mentoring matches.

A panel discussion moderated by Preet Kiran Sandhu, Manager, Employer and Stakeholder Relations, TRIEC featured Manulife employees Vivian Li, AVP Compliance, Mariana Monge-Viquez, Manager, Global Sustainability and Gayatri Sriram, Head of Institutional Asset Management WAM & GA Financial Planning & Analysis who shared their personal journeys and insights.

Gayatri’s story highlighted the importance of networking through non-profit organizations, which eventually led her to a fulfilling career at Manulife. Vivian Li’s experience emphasized Manulife’s commitment to talent development, allowing employees to pivot to new roles and grow within the organization. Mariana Monge-Viquez shared her preference for one-on-one mentoring, which provided her with valuable industry insights and a sense of belonging.

The panelists stressed the mutual benefits of mentoring. Vivian highlighted that mentors can also learn from their mentees, helping them better understand different perspectives. Gayatri advised newcomer women to have confidence in their skills and pitch them effectively to fit the Canadian job market.

Three key tips for newcomer women emerged from the panel:

Engage in leadership roles in voluntary organizations to give back to the community.

Own your voice and be confident, asking questions in meetings to demonstrate curiosity.

Leadership isn’t just about managing others; it’s also about stepping up when needed in your current role.

During the Q&A session, the panel addressed questions about starting a career in Canada and handling career gaps. Gayatri recommended creating opportunities by networking in local libraries, community centers, and online platforms. Vivian encouraged staying open to various opportunities, while Mariana emphasized reframing gaps as opportunities for growth and learning.

Following the panel discussion, newcomer women and Manulife staff engaged in flash mentoring sessions. They discussed topics like building lasting relationships through networking, practicing mock interviews, and perfecting elevator pitches.  During the event’s closing moments, Annie Singh, Senior Manager of the TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, delivered a poignant address. In her remarks, she highlighted the paramount significance of forging meaningful connections for newcomers and extolled the merits of actively nurturing one’s professional network. She extended a heartfelt call to action, urging volunteers to step into the role of mentors. The TRIEC-Manulife flash mentoring event showcased the transformative power of mentoring and networking. Newcomer women gained valuable insights and advice from experienced professionals, helping them navigate the Canadian job market with confidence. This event not only facilitated knowledge exchange but also emphasized the importance of creating connections and investing in oneself. It was a testament to the positive impact that collaborative initiatives can have on empowering newcomers to succeed in their careers.

“At Manulife, we know that in business and in life, we are stronger when we have greater diversity of perspectives. By increasing representation of women and communities of colour in the workplace, we can help even the playing field for all,” said Joanna Marcovici, Director, Community Investment, Canada Lead. “That’s why we’re proud to support the work TRIEC is doing to drive inclusive economic opportunities for newcomers to Canada, by offering support and resources through the TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, and this flash mentoring event which specifically focused on newcomer women.”

This ongoing collaboration stands as a testament to Manulife’s dedication to the principles of diversity and inclusivity. Through this partnership, Manulife has consistently demonstrated its steadfast support for newcomers, fostering an environment where they can not only expand their professional networks but also gain invaluable insights into the intricacies of the local labour market.


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