Entering the workforce after graduation can be an intimidating and challenging step for students. Their insights and opinions are valuable for building vibrant, diverse, and inclusive business cultures, but they don’t always have the confidence or knowledge on how to have an impact in a larger organization. This is why cultivating relationships and working alongside the next generation to build their confidence and gain insights into how they see the world is essential to both organizations and students. Providing thoughtful and reliable mentorship to up-and-coming talent can be the key to identifying new opportunities, understanding emerging trends, and meeting the challenges of unpredictable markets and technology.
Izabela Nanushi, Director, Innovation, Kashmera Self, Vice-President, Strategy & Innovation and Anna Long, BA Social Work Candidate (expected 2023), participated in Advancing YU at York University, a program that connects upcoming graduates with York alumni from a variety of professional careers, including several leaders from Interac. Here, Anna, Izabela, and Kashmera explored the reciprocal benefits of mentorship and building relationships with the next generation of talent.
1. Mentorship happens at all different stages through one’s journey
Mentorship isn’t a one-off experience or something only senior executives can participate in. It’s a lifelong practice that contributes to an individual’s learning and development at all stages of their lives and careers.
“We all have valuable experiences we can share with others, as well as opportunities for personal and professional growth, regardless of our job title, age, or profession. Whether we take on the role of mentor or mentee, mentorship is a continuous process that evolves throughout our careers, adapting to new challenges, opportunities, and experiences as they arise.” said Kashmera.
Mentorship provides different perspectives depending on where someone is in their life and their career, and it can greatly enhance its value and impact on the individual and their organization over time.
2. Mentorship is a reciprocal relationship
Though some might think it is only mentees who gain knowledge, that is not the case.
“Mentorship isn’t just about setting up people who are entering the workforce – it also gives mentors with established careers different perspectives and insights from mentees who are about to step into the working world,” Izabela said. “It’s a two-way street, even when it comes to topics not necessarily related to business. There is always an opportunity to learn from each other’s strengths and interests.”
A great mentor-mentee experience comes down to building trust between two individuals. If that is done right, then both parties can benefit from a lifelong opportunity for growth, connection, and learning.
3. Mentorship inspires confidence and provides a safe space
Anna was able to adopt a new approach to leadership within the organization they were leading at York thanks in part to the mentorship experience she received in the Advancing YU program. Anna learned how leadership meant “passing the torch and providing opportunities” to others around you, and giving them the tools to succeed on their own. Anna was able to become more comfortable as a leader and learn how to “lead with kindness”.
“A good mentor wants nothing from you other than for you to succeed,” Anna said. The mentor-mentee relationship can be a safe space for serious discussion, reflection, and contemplation, allowing both parties to, according to Anna, “explore together, which cuts down on the time it takes to get you where you want to go.”
In this way, mentorship provides new leaders with valuable first-hand experience, then challenges them to meet and exceed that experience with their unique perspectives. At Interac, we are committed to excellent corporate citizenship and community investment that is rooted in helping Canadians get more out of life. Through our CSR partnerships with organizations like ACCES Employment, job seekers receive support in building new professional networks and integrating into the Canadian job market. This can be a vital stepping stone for those seeking mentorship.
Embracing Canada’s diversity with the Interac Youth Council
Mentorship can help participants improve their confidence and discover new perspectives. Moreover, mentorship’s reciprocal nature helps to create more equitable and respectful spaces for these diverse voices to be heard.
That’s why the Interac Youth Council was founded as a way to help ensure accessibility and equity continue to be built into what we do by tapping into the diverse perspectives of Canada’s future consumers and business leaders. Similar to other CSR partnerships like ACCES Employment, Youth Council looks to discover new perspectives and offer valuable community-building opportunities that promote further diversity and inclusion across the Canadian tech and finance sectors, and subsequently spur innovation.
The Youth Council will feature youth aged 16-24 from a diverse range of backgrounds and educational experiences across Canada who will meet throughout the year for workshops and training sessions to enhance their leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills. Serving as advocates and advisors, participants will consult, advise and inform on strategic initiatives for futureproofing Interac and the Canadian financial sector.
Using the reciprocal mentorship model, the Youth Council will help empower Canadian youth to learn and grow, expand their networks and drive meaningful impact through collaborative initiatives that can directly shape Canada’s digital economy. At Interac, we believe that embracing these diverse perspectives and experiences is essential to ensure a more equitable fintech ecosystem for all.
Interested in joining the Interac Youth Council?