On January 25, 2017, we recognized outstanding employer partners – leaders in mentor recruitment, and individual mentors at The Mentoring Partnership’s Annual Recognition reception.
Since 2004, The Mentoring Partnership has paired over 13,000 newcomers with mentors in their field in the Toronto region. The Mentoring Partnership’s success to date has been driven by its employer and service delivery partners.
The University of Toronto and Seneca College are such partners: their employees have mentored more than 100 immigrant professionals via the program.
KPMG Canada employees have mentored more than 500 newcomers through The Mentoring Partnership
CIBC received special recognition for their efforts in matching 1,000 immigrant professionals with leaders in their chosen industries.
When CIBC first came on board in 2010 as an employer partner in The Mentoring Partnership, they started out with 35 mentor matches. By December 2014, they had reached the 500 mentoring match milestone. Just two years after that, their participation doubled. Thanks to the mentoring efforts of close to 700 team members, many of whom are repeat mentors, in January 2017, CIBC was recognized by TRIEC for achieving the 1,000 mentoring match milestone and making a difference in the lives of over 1,000 newcomers and their families.
Shemina Khimji, Senior Consultant, Diversity & Inclusion, at CIBC, talks how mentoring benefits the organization’s employees and why mentoring and leadership go hand in hand.
“At CIBC we believe diversity and inclusion enables our bank to better understand the needs of our diverse clients and build a strong, innovative, relationship oriented bank. CIBC’s participation in The Mentoring Partnership furthers our commitment to newcomers to Canada which remain a highly skilled, educated, largely untapped talent pool, and a powerful consumer base for our bank. Mentoring is a great way to understand the newcomer experience which ultimately improves the climate of inclusion in the workplace.
The program is a win/win and both parties benefit –The program has provided our team members with an opportunity to expand their exposure through a wider scope of international talent and the experience to think with a global mindset while further developing their coaching skills.
Experiential learning presents one of the best ways to grow. Our mentors step into the shoes of their mentees to understand first-hand the many challenges they face daily, and take away a better appreciation of their mentees skills and abilities. This diversity of thought further enhances innovation at our bank, and helps build deeper connections with our diverse clients.
Organizations who want to lead in the future need to leverage the unique differences of every individual, and create an inclusive, collaborative and barrier-free environment that allows each individual the opportunity to reach their full potential. By committing to newcomer inclusion through mentoring, our mentors demonstrate leadership and make a difference in the lives of their mentees. They coach, guide and share access to their networks which hugely benefits these new Canadians.
Over 75% of CIBC mentees that undergo this program find jobs in their occupation within twelve months. Mentees also show leadership when they take ownership of their job search with proactive networking and by honing their work ethic in the Canadian workplace.
As mentees succeed, many pay it forward to other newcomer mentees, by volunteering to participate as a mentor. At CIBC, we have recognized many mentees who become mentors. Our team member Pradeep Mathur, Senior Director in Risk Management exemplifies this. He was recognized by TRIEC as a former mentee turned mentor, and went on to mentor many more skilled immigrants through the program. He was once again recognized for having mentored over 10 mentees in a few short years. Team members like Pradeep embody the commitment to inclusion and strong sense of giving back to our communities – which is truly a hallmark of CIBC’s culture.”
This year, Scotiabank reached a milestone with The Mentoring Partnership with unprecedented speed. In just two and a half years, Scotiabank employees mentored more than 500 skilled immigrants, bringing the total number of mentoring matches at the bank to 1000.
“Partnering with The Mentoring Partnership is a win-win for us,” says Rania Llewellyn, Senior Vice President of Cash Management and Payment Services, Global Transaction Banking, at Scotiabank. “Having been a mentor myself, I have seen first-hand the value of the program. On top of the personal satisfaction derived from making a difference in someone’s life, it is a huge professional development opportunity.”
As mentors, Scotiabank employees develop their leadership and coaching skills, gain insight into occupations and industry practices in other parts of the world, developing a more global mindset. In fact, over 600 Scotiabank employees have volunteered as mentors since 2005. A significant number have returned to mentor more than once, highlighting the benefit they see in the program.
The value for Scotiabank extends beyond the professional development of their employees.
“Investing in the communities where we work and live has been a focus of ours for the last 180 years,” says Rania. “Helping newcomers in the Toronto region connect with their careers here in Canada is just a really great way for our employees to give back. As Canada’s international bank, we believe that inclusion makes us stronger. Learning from and embracing the perspectives of those that are different gives the bank an innovative edge, making it a great place to work and a great place for our customers to do business.”
The Mentoring Partnership is just one initiative that contributes to a culture of inclusion at Scotiabank.
A founding employer partner and financial supporter of the program, TD first got involved with the partnership in February 2005. They conducted a pilot mentoring cycle with 20 executives volunteering as mentor and they’ve never looked back. “Senior leadership support has helped to drive interest in the program and get us to where we are today,” says Susan Calahan, Manager, Diversity Recruitment and mentoring coordinator at TD. “It is through the involvement across our businesses and across leadership levels from mid to senior management and executive levels that we have been able to grow to be the largest employer partner. We’re proud to have just initiated our 1000th mentoring relationship.”
TD’s involvement with the program ties in closely with their corporate values and long history of volunteerism and social responsibility. At the same time, the bank sees many benefits from participating in the program. “New Canadians represent an important talent pool. Our involvement in the mentoring program has provided us with more engagement in these communities and the best ‘word of mouth’ advertising that money CAN’T buy,” says Susan. “It also helps educate our staff about different cultures and about new immigrants as a key source of talent.”
The program is a unique way to develop TD employees and to prepare them for future leadership roles in an increasingly diverse social and economic environment. The Mentoring Partnership provides opportunities to develop mentoring leadership skills that are valuable outside of the program. “I’ve found my experience with the program enriching both from a personal and professional standpoint,” says Binu Mathai, a TD mentor. “It’s very rewarding to be in a position to have an impact on someone’s life as they seek employment in their field in Canada and it also allows me to enhance my coaching skills.”
Now with over 100 employees mentoring skilled immigrants every year, TD plans to continue its involvement with The Mentoring Partnership well into the future and strongly encourages other employers to get involved as well. “The Mentoring Partnership Program delivers the proverbial (and elusive) ‘Win-Win-win’,” says Susan. “It better prepares newcomers and provides them with tools and resources to gain productive employment, it develops leaders, it builds understanding, it attracts talent, and it builds your brand.” “We challenge any employer or funder considering the program to find another initiative that can deliver so much return for your investment.”
The firm has been a partner in The Mentoring Partnership since 2005, and to date, 290 of their employees have provided mentorship to 500 newcomer professionals looking to reconnect with their careers in Canada. In fact, 42% of their mentors have mentored more than once – a testament to the value that employees find in the program.
In terms of their commitment to diversity, KPMG has long understood that diversity in thought and experiences is what will ultimately allow them to deliver a differentiated service experience to their clients. The firm has been recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Best Employers for Diversity for eight years running, an achievement they are hugely proud of.
Being a Community Leader for KPMG is about channeling their collective experience, skills and energy to drive positive social change and enable their communities to thrive.
The firm’s work with The Mentoring Partnership has other benefits– in particular, the benefits it brings for their staff. Mentoring fosters the inclusion and integration of new Canadians into their workforce and gives KPMG employees firsthand experience with a global perspective.
“Mentoring is a key part of the KPMG culture and has a played key role in the careers of KPMG professionals”, says Kunal Verma, Senior Manager, Audit, Consumer and Industrial Markets. The Mentoring Partnership provides KPMG professionals with a platform to extend this culture outside the firm to mentor foreign trained professionals.”
Ultimately then, being a part of the program comes down to leadership: by being leaders in in the community, KPMG gives their employees the chance to develop their own leadership skills.
Says Kunal, “Leadership at KPMG means driving positive change – in our culture, our people and our communities. Achieving this 500 match milestone with The Mentoring Partnership is testimony to the KPMG professionals who have driven positive change in the lives of new immigrant professionals.”
Kunal understands the value of mentorship: it has also impacted on him personally. He adds: “I have been very fortunate to have worked with many strong mentors from across the firm throughout my 11 years at KPMG. This has made me a more well-rounded professional and has taught me diverse skills and insights.”
KPMG International’s trademarks are the sole property of KPMG International and their use here does not imply auditing by or endorsement of KPMG International or any of its member firms.
How do you run The Mentoring Partnership successfully in your organization? The Diversity and Inclusion team at CIBC knows a thing or two about this: they were recognized for matching over 500 skilled immigrants with their employees.
Why did you want to start running the program in your organization?
Our employee’s participation in The Mentoring Partnership furthers our commitment to enhance the experience for newcomers to Canada. While Canada presents many opportunities for the skilled immigrants, they also present a multitude of opportunities for Canada. New Canadians are highly skilled, educated and largely untapped talent pool; not to mention a strong and powerful new consumer base.
The program is a phenomenal way to leverage our employee’s as talent scouts for the organization as well as to deepen their personal understanding of the newcomer experience- which ultimately helps us improve the climate of inclusion in our workplace.
What have you gained from being an employer partner? What has been the impact on your organization?
The program serves as a great way to educate our employees on the value of difference and the talent of the newcomer professional. CIBC understands that newcomers offer a tremendous wealth of experience in terms of skills and knowledge acquired through prior careers in their countries of origin. It is important to us that our employees and managers think about the diversity of our workforce and how different life experiences and perspectives ultimately help us improves our ability to serve our clients and communities. We want our workforce to represent our newcomer client base.
The program has also enhanced the ability to think and lead inclusively. CIBC Mentors surveyed last year indicated improvement in their knowledge and skills that would lead to increased hiring of skilled immigrant professionals and increased retention of skilled immigrants in the workforce.
An average of 96% reported a better appreciation of the talent and experience that skilled immigrants brought to the workplace; were more likely to interview and/or hire skilled immigrants; were better able to understand the cultural norms and the labour market barriers faced by this group; better able to motivate, coach and develop people, and better assist immigrant professionals in adapting to the workplace.
Can you think of any examples of great mentoring stories that really stand out?
A few years ago, a CIBC mentor networked her well-qualified mentee who was experiencing barriers in finding meaningful employment in her field. This resulted in an opportunity to join the team on Career Bridge internship as an HR Coordinator. She later joined CIBC in a permanent capacity. She is now a Senior Consultant in Health & Safety at CIBC, and along with her mentor- are paying it forward with the program.
In 2014, CIBC offered three Mentoring Partnership information sessions, and both candidly spoke shared their program experiences with other potential mentors. This employee was recognized today in the mentee-turned-mentor category, and we are very proud of her!
Why would you recommend mentoring to your employees?
The program has provided our employees with a stronger appreciation of international talent and opportunity to think with a global mindset, and enhance their leadership and coaching skills.
Access to Mentor Professional Development Series – workshops and webinars on Solution-Focused Coaching and Cultural Competencies – has been a real value-add for our employees which will undoubtedly result in better supporting the workplace integration of our newcomer employees, and deepened relationships with our newcomer clients, not to mention their personal development.
What are your top three tips for an employer who has just signed up as a partner with The Mentoring Partnership?
- Gain the executive sponsorship and position it as corporate-sponsored program- CIBC employees were organically mentoring since the inception of the program, however it wasn’t until 2010 that CIBC Diversity & Inclusion sponsored and promoted it as a corporate program which contributed to the program’s growth.
- Assign a dedicated Corporate Program Manager– In the last five years the program has grown by over 700%, from 50 matches in 2009 to over 500 matches currently. CIBC is proud of the accomplishments of Shemina Khimji, Senior Consultant, Diversity & Inclusion, and CIBC’s TMP Program Manager. Her passion and dedication in these last five years has contributed to CIBC’s recognition of meeting the 500 mentor matches milestone.
- Communicate your success – personal stories carry a ripple effect and lead to program growth. At CIBC success stories are often showcased on the intranet, and the Diversity & Inclusion news updates in our various lines of business.
To say Scotiabank has embraced The Mentoring Partnership is an understatement.
Having joined the program in 2009, the bank has already surpassed the 500 mentor match milestone, meaning that over 500 skilled immigrants have been mentored by Scotiabank employees. The reason that Scotiabank has been so enthusiastic in their participation in the program is because they see the benefits on three levels: for them as an employer, for their employees and for their community.
As an employer, The Mentoring Partnership provides Scotiabank with a professional development opportunity for their employees, preparing them to lead and manage in Scotiabank’s diverse workforce. For example, 91 per cent of Scotiabank mentors report that they now better understand differences in workplace norms and expectations among different cultures and can communicate and work with colleagues from different cultures more effectively.
Operating in more than 55 countries, this global mindset is critical for Scotiabank to help serve a diverse customer base. For Scotiabank employees, volunteering as mentors is an opportunity to share their knowledge, give back and build on their skill set.
“Scotiabank employees have a spirit of giving,” says Sujay Vardhmane, Senior Manager, Diversity and Inclusion at Scotiabank. “Within 20-30 minutes of sending out invitations for The Mentoring Partnership info sessions, they reach capacity. And it is consistent; it’s the spirit here. And while that spirit of giving may bring many of the employees to the program, once they join, they often find that they gain as much as they give.
“Our mentors often say that while they are there to motivate their mentees, they find it motivates them just as much,” says Sujay. To date, Scotiabank employees have mentored some 582 skilled immigrants in the Toronto Region. Of those mentored, 81 per cent found employment in their field within six months of their mentoring relationship. Those are numbers that we are all proud of and that reflect the impact The Mentoring Partnership can have on the economic health of the Toronto region.
Giving back to the community is high on its agenda. As one of the U of T President’s strategic priorities, it represents one of the key ways in which they stand out as leaders in education.
An employer partner in the program since 2005, to date, 99 University of Toronto staff have given their time to mentor newcomers to Toronto and support them in their search for meaningful employment.
The University was named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers in 2016. Being a partner in The Mentoring Partnership provides an opportunity for their diverse community of staff to ‘pay it forward’, and make a difference in the lives of immigrants to Canada.
It’s not just the newcomer mentee who benefits. As a result of their experiences, the mentees’ families and their communities benefit as well.
In fact, the impact of the program is far-reaching for all involved. As one mentor in the program says, “Being a mentor is a meaningful way to give to the community… a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things can have such immense value to the mentee and the mentor.”
“Staff members have also shared their appreciation for being able to help others in their journey of finding work experience in Canada,” says Beverly Kahn, Coordinator, Career Services in the University’s Human Resources & Equity Division – and who also coordinates The Mentoring Partnership at the University of Toronto. “It gives them the chance to learn and grow their own coaching and leadership skills; as well as expanding their professional networks.”
“There are so many benefits to giving and receiving mentorship,” another mentor comments. “In the TRIEC mentoring partnership, I made new contacts, and I was challenged to help a mentee redefine his career goals in what turned out to be a very different Canadian context.”
For Rosie Parnass, Executive Director, Organizational & Leadership Development and Work Life Support, the reason for partnering in the program is clear, both for her personally and for the institution. She has found mentorship to be “a tremendous asset” in her own journey to becoming and being a leader in the organization. “This is why I consider it to be such an important component of an organization’s leadership and development initiatives.”
Showing leadership through giving back; the University of Toronto’s involvement in mentoring is part of what makes U of T Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation.
Seneca’s commitment to meeting the needs of skilled immigrants is already high: by providing education, training, and support, they help them to become job-ready graduates who are prepared to make valuable contributions to Canada’s workforce.
In joining The Mentoring Partnership, Seneca has been able to more broadly serve internationally-trained professionals, by providing them with mentors to help them build their networks and navigate the local labour market.
According to Denis Gravelle, Chair of the Faculty of Continuing Education and Training, The Mentoring Partnership presented an ideal opportunity for Seneca because the college shares similar goals. “Seneca and The Mentoring Partnership are strongly aligned based on our shared vision of supporting new Canadians as they seek to establish themselves in a new country,” he says.
Seneca has been a partner in The Mentoring Partnership since 2007. So far, 65 staff and faculty have helped to foster more than 100 occupation-specific mentoring relationships through the program.
For the Seneca employees who sign up as mentors, this presents a unique opportunity to share their advanced expertise and diverse career experiences with new Canadians who can benefit from the transfer of knowledge and the meaningful relationships formed.
A key part of what appeals to Seneca about the program is how it supports leaders to grow. “Our world needs leaders who make a difference at work and in the community – and our graduates are those leaders,” said Gravelle. “By supporting initiatives like The Mentoring Partnership, Seneca is able to extend its institutional commitment to developing great leaders who are also engaged citizens, ready for today’s careers and tomorrow’s opportunities.”
The benefits also extend to those coordinating the program for the institution. “Being part of The Mentoring Partnership has allowed me to not only grow as a leader at my organization but to also experience collaboration in its truest sense,” says Amy Koning, Manager, Employer Services. “As [the program lead at Seneca], I have been able to connect with departments in my organization and meet colleagues that otherwise I would have never known. Being part of this initiative has developed my own communication skills and knowledge of diversity.”
Almost five years ago, TELUS launched an employee resource group for new Canadians, Mosaic, with the vision of unleashing the power of multiculturalism among TELUS team members, their clients and the broader community.
“From the beginning, we had the idea that helping new Canadians in our community integrate into the labour market was one way we could bring the Mosaic vision to life,” says David Garcia, Director Service Strategy and National Chair of TELUS Mosaic. “The Mentoring Partnership therefore was a great fit to help achieve our goals.”
TELUS first joined The Mentoring Partnership in 2012. Since then, 108 TELUS employees have mentored more than 140 skilled immigrants in the Toronto Region. The mentors represent a range of professions from IT to marketing to HR and finance.
“The program offers many different benefits to our team members,” says David. “Our mentors report that being a mentor opens their eyes to the reality of the new Canadian experience, helps them grow as coaches and gives them the positive experience of helping someone else.”
The benefits for TELUS are equally apparent to David, “Participating in The Mentoring Partnership helps us reach our overall diversity goals. In particular, it helps us to better understand the needs of new Canadians both as team members and clients.”
The program is one that David believes other employers can equally benefit from. “The Mentoring Partnership is a great opportunity for bringing the reality of diversity to team members and to give them the leadership development opportunities they might not otherwise have,” he says. “It is also a great way to give back to the community and helps ensure that the excellent talent that comes to Canada every year is fully embraced.”
A chance recommendation from a neighbour first led Dentons Partner Michael Schafler to The Mentoring Partnership, but Dentons’ ongoing involvement with the program reflects its long track record of being at the forefront of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.
“The Mentoring Partnership is one of the most important programs in Dentons’ Toronto office that engages all of our team members and lines up with our strategic objective to give back to the community,” says Schafler. “It’s a really proud moment in your career to know that you have made a difference in someone’s life,” adds Schafler. “The program is also really perspective building and gives you a different outlook on your professional and social life that you might not get otherwise. There is of course a real business element to the program – you are exposed to a much larger talent pool and you can expand your business network.”
Dentons, which was then Fraser Milner Casgrain (“FMC”), first joined The Mentoring Partnership in 2008. Since then, 57 Dentons employees have volunteered as mentors for over 100 skilled immigrants. When FMC combined with two other law firms to create the Dentons global firm, The Mentoring Partnership remained consistent with the firm’s strategic objectives.
“One of the strategic guide posts for our global firm is to be ‘in and of the community’” says Schafler. “The Mentoring Partnership allows us to assist and to build connections with highly skilled individuals who often go on to work in companies throughout the GTA. Those connections help us build our networks in the community and they have the potential for business benefits among other positive impacts.”
Schafler attributes the success of The Mentoring Partnership at Dentons to senior management buy-in. “The active involvement and support of Chris Pinnington, Dentons Canada’s CEO, in driving the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion broadly, and involvement in The Mentoring Partnership specifically, is so important,” says Schafler.
When asked what his advice would be for other employers considering joining The Mentoring Partnership, Schafler listed the two elements that are core to Dentons’ success in the program: make it a part of your strategic objectives and get senior management buy-in. “But,” Schafler added, “know that there is flexibility in the system and a great team at TRIEC to make it work for you.”
With a commitment to diversity and employees from a wide range of professions, Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning joined The Mentoring Partnership because they believed that they had a lot to offer new immigrants looking to reconnect with their careers in Canada.
“The Mentoring Partnership is an excellent program,” says Elana Lewis, Manager, Community Employment Services at Humber College. “Diversity is one of the cornerstones of our organization and so we definitely wanted to be a part of it.”
Humber College first joined The Mentoring Partnership in 2007. Since then, over 60 Humber employees have volunteered as mentors for 100 skilled immigrants. Mentors come from across all disciplines and include deans, instructors, enrollment advisors, facility managers and more. Forty per cent of Humber mentors have mentored more than once, attesting to the value they see in the program.
“Our mentors comment that they learn as much from their mentees as they give,” says Elana. “It really builds a sense of connection with the community. I remember one mentor telling me how humble he felt by meeting these individuals who are bringing such great experience and culture to Canada.”
Named a Best Employers for New Canadians in 2013, Humber College’s participation in The Mentoring Partnership is just one way they support their commitment to a workforce that reflects the diversity of our students, our city and Canada.
“Being part of this program allows us to showcase Humber College as an educational institution,” says Elana. “It is really a reflection of our values and our desire to reflect and to give back and be a part of the community.”
For Canadian-based IT services provider CGI Group Inc. mentoring skilled immigrants new to Canada seemed like a great way to give back to the community.
However, since the IT service provider became an employer partner with The Mentoring Partnership, they have also discovered a lot of benefits for the business and their employees. “Mentoring a skilled immigrant gives us insight into a new pool of talented candidates,” said Michael Grahlman, Director, Business Systems Analysis at CGI and a mentor with the program. “We’ve recently hired several skilled immigrants into my team and through my experience as a mentor I’ve learned how to better equip them to succeed on the job.”
In 2012, CGI reached the 100 mentoring matches milestone since they first joined the program in 2009. That means that CGI employees have mentored over 100 new immigrants, helping them to learn more about their professional fields here in Canada and build their networks.
CGI has consistently supported the mentorship of new immigrants, undertaking two mentoring cycles with their employees every year. The CGI mentors use the experience to develop leadership and coaching skills they can apply in their work. “There is no downside to being a mentor,” says Grahlman. “I found it really valuable. From a business perspective we were able to tap into new talent pools and skillsets. And from a personal perspective, it forces you to look at the work environment and the norms, boundaries and expectations in a different way and think about the implications of these in your business and area of expertise.”
At Mackenzie Investments, they believe that everyone is a leader – whether they are leading a team or simply leading themselves on their own career path.
That means everyone needs leadership skills, and one strategy that Mackenzie has adopted to develop those skills is to encourage their employees to mentor skilled immigrants new to Canada.
Since 2007, Mackenzie employees have been volunteering their time and effort as mentors. This year, they crossed an important milestone – Mackenzie employees have mentored over 100 new immigrants. “We continue to take part in The Mentoring Partnership for three main reasons,” says Pamela Preston, Senior Learning Consultant and mentoring coordinator at Mackenzie. “In addition to the professional growth opportunity for our employees, it is a way for us to get involved and give back to the community, plus it gives us insight into potential job candidates whom we might not have been aware of otherwise.”
Mackenzie employee Nicolae Stanca has experienced the benefits of The Mentoring Partnership from all angles. A former mentee with the program, he can draw a direct link between the program and his securing a position at Mackenzie. Now a three-time mentor, Nicolae sees the benefits for his professional development. “As a mentor, you meet so many people and learn so many interesting facts about their countries and cultures that you would never learn from your day-to-day work,” says Nicolae. “My experience as a mentor is helping to strengthen my leadership and communication skills and will help me succeed with my long-term goals at Mackenzie.”
Participation in The Mentoring Partnership at Mackenzie goes above and beyond just the mentors’ involvement. The company organizes internal coaching and communications workshops for both mentors and mentees. In addition, the Human Resources team reviews and provides advice on mentees’ resumes. It is a group effort across the organization to ensure the best experience for both mentees and mentors. “It really is an opportunity for everyone at Mackenzie to collaborate and develop our skills,” says Pamela. “We’re involved for the long-term, to develop the skills of our employees, build a network of mentors for the organization and support individual immigrants and the community.”
Talking to Torontonians about the importance of immigrants to the labour market isn’t enough for The City of Toronto – the organization is leading by example.
“Taking a leadership position in furthering the employment of skilled immigrants is key to Toronto’s economic and social development,” says Cheryl Borland, Workforce Transition & Employment Equity. One of the original corporate partners to come onboard, over 225 City of Toronto employees have now participated in the program. The Mentoring Partnership has proven its popularity: Many City staff are repeat mentors and in fact, seven current mentors have been involved in the program since it launched at The City in 2004.
Recently The City of Toronto surpassed all expectations, reaching 500 matches. Initially the program began with 29 mentors representing accounting, engineering and IT. Today the program has spread to include 16 professions across the organization, resulting in more mentoring opportunities for more skilled immigrants. One of those immigrants was Maggie Chen, a PhD in economics, who was paired with Senior Policy Advisor, Susan Brown. By accompanying Susan to workplace meetings, Maggie recognized differences between the Chinese and Canadian workplaces.
“Taking initiative is a common expectation here,” says Maggie. “Coming from a much more formal workplace culture, I learned that I had to adapt. I know I fully understand the different approach because my mentor gave me the opportunity to learn by doing.” Senior management at The City champion the program and push for the organization to open the workplace to skilled immigrant mentees. Mentors are encouraged to invite their mentees to attend professional development sessions with them, adding value to the experience for the mentees. The City hosts an annual recognition event, as well as networking sessions to further enhance the mentor and mentee experiences.
As one of Canada’s largest financial services companies, CIBC strives to attract a multicultural workforce representative of the communities it serves.
That’s why CIBC has been a corporate partner of The Mentoring Partnership since 2005. Now CIBC has reached the milestone of having contributed 100 mentoring matches to the program.
“CIBC is proud to play a role in helping newcomers to Canada establish a strong new start through mentoring relationships,” says Sharon Wingfelder, Vice President, Human Resources, Diversity & Resourcing, CIBC. “Mentoring also benefits our employees who gain a better understanding of the newcomer experience while making a real difference in the community.”
Support for The Mentoring Partnership comes directly from Sharon and the leadership team of CIBC. In 2010 Sharon personally stepped forward to elevate the level of internal participation by dedicating program managers Gene Jamieson and Shemina Khimji to ultimately be accountable for the success of the program.
It’s clear that this significantly contributed to an increase in mentor recruitment by 175 per cent and helped push the bank past the milestone of 100 matches in mentoring in 2011. Employees from across CIBC’s business units are encouraged to become mentors in The Mentoring Partnership through CIBC’s Employment Equity & Diversity Advisory Committees.
These committees, made up of senior leaders in the organization, ensure that employees are aware of the personal and professional development opportunities in The Mentoring Partnership, which support the overall diversity strategy at CIBC. Supported by CIBC’s Employment Equity & Diversity team, the bank hosts The Mentoring Partnership information sessions and orientation sessions for their mentors and mentees to communicate CIBC’s commitment to providing support during the mentoring relationship.
“I know what newcomers need is a chance to present their credentials and prove themselves on the job,” says Pradeep Mathur, former mentee, mentor and Head of Policy Support, Capital Markets Risk Management, CIBC. “I mentor now to help position an immigrant to land that opportunity. I do not have all the answers, but there are plenty of resources from The Mentoring Partnership and CIBC.”
Deloitte Vice Chairman, Yezdi Pavri, is a firm believer in leading by example.
Back in 2005, Yezdi championed mentoring at Deloitte and has since infused the practice into the firm’s culture. As a former immigrant himself, Yezdi appreciated the social imperative, but as the former GTA Managing Partner, Yezdi also understood the business case.
“Deloitte’s clients are diverse, so we need to be diverse,” says Yezdi. “Mentoring provides our staff with opportunities to learn about the cultural nuances of doing business in a diverse community. It also gets them excited to work for an employer that is doing innovative things to benefit society.”
Deloitte measures the success of the program by the number of mentors who sign on to mentor, not just once, but again and again – and there are many. Over 200 Deloitte employees have provided coaching and networking opportunities to newcomers.
To support mentors, the firm has developed a mentoring guide that offers tips and feedback from other mentors. The firm also views skilled immigrants as a growing talent pool and is eager to leverage their potential.
“You can tell that Deloitte staff appreciate your international experience and education, and that gave me a huge confidence boost,” says Anirudh Vij, a current Deloitte mentee. As Deloitte grows it continues to focus on skills, competencies and relevant experience, no matter where they were gained. Considering the inevitable changes in staff, it’s critical that Deloitte managers be equipped to lead an increasingly diverse workforce. Mentoring skilled immigrants continues to serve Deloitte’s business and staff development needs, while giving back to the community.
As a professional services firm, KPMG counts its people as its biggest asset.
The company is driven to develop its people and mentoring skilled immigrants has proven to be a successful strategy to do this. KPMG has formalized its involvement with The Mentoring Partnership to ensure that time spent mentoring is part of the work day, reflecting the importance the company places on the program.
Mentoring has even become integrated into employee goal setting and is built into annual performance reviews – ensuring that the professional development gained from mentoring is reflected in the employee’s evaluation.
KPMG is committed. Some staff have mentored over 10 times. It’s this display of passion that really effects change and is the benchmark that has inspired KPMG to surpass its commitment to skilled immigrant employment by reaching over 100 mentor matches. Participating in The Mentoring Partnership aligns with KPMG’s Community Leadership Strategy.
“We believe in helping newcomers get connected to the Canadian workforce,” says Michael Bach, National Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He also jokes: “KPMG wants to be known as the diversity employer of choice, so we push ourselves to contribute as much as Deloitte – some friendly competition that works in everybody’s favour!”
Joking aside, KPMG is keen to collaborate. Together with Fraser Milner Casgrain, the two companies hosted the first-ever joint corporate partner event for mentors and mentees.
“KPMG is forward thinking for recognizing that there is significant value in knowledgeable, tenured immigrants who can help companies stay competitive in the marketplace,” says mentee, Alana Mohan. “I really appreciate KPMG employees investing the time and resources to mentor immigrants, demonstrating the organization’s commitment to developing people as a treasured resource and its belief that the return on investment will be worthwhile.”
There was no question that joining The Mentoring Partnership was a natural fit for Scotiabank.
Operating in over 50 countries around the world, the bank had made the link between understanding local cultural nuances and being successful.
With Toronto’s cultural make-up changing so quickly, it was clear that joining The Mentoring Partnership made good business sense. In addition to the professional development potential, Scotiabank employees have embraced the idea of mentoring skilled immigrants for personal fulfillment – and it shows.
Since coming onboard just over a year ago, Scotiabank employees have mentored over 175 skilled immigrants. Mentors are able to develop leadership skills by coaching their mentees. In turn, mentees walk away with the confidence and understanding of how to successfully pursue Canadian work opportunities.
Says Mohammed Chowdhury, a business analyst from Bangladesh who was paired with a Scotiabank mentor: “My mentor helped me prepare for job opportunities through mock interviews. Now I know how to ‘own’ an interview and this confidence has led me to a job in my field.”
Scotiabank has deliberately promoted The Mentoring Partnership to hiring managers to help them to gain a more global mindset and consider skilled immigrant candidates.
“By encouraging Scotiabank employees to approach their work from varying perspectives, we are opening up the organization for increased innovation and creativity,” says Deanna Matzanke, Director, Global Employment Strategies. The bank also conducts workshops for their employees’ mentees in areas such as cross cultural understanding and job search strategies in the Canadian context. It’s clear that Scotiabank is committed to helping newcomers succeed.