Oxford Canadian Dictionary (2006) defines a mentor as “an experienced and trusted adviser or guide.” Advice and guidance are exactly what mentors in IABC Edmonton’s Mentorship Program provide for the partners they’re matched with.
Mentors are mid-to senior-level communicators in various facets of communications. They graciously volunteer their time to newcomers to the field or junior-level communicators called “mentees.” The specific professional advice and guidance mentors offer depends on their experience and strengths and on their partner’s program goals.
Each month, IABC hosts a mentorship event. Two successful fall events have already taken place.
Welcome event recap: October 11
About 50 people attended the welcome event, hosted by Hudson’s on 109th Street. The event was a chance for mentors to meet their assigned partners for the first time or to connect with several potential partners if a match hadn’t been set in advance. The evening featured delicious appetizers and delightful conversations.
At the beginning, a musical-chairs-styled approach allowed program participants to meet many mentors and mentees and to get to know a bit about their backgrounds. A worksheet provided discussion topics such as characteristics of a good mentor, reasons for joining the program and goals for the year. By the end, some valuable new relationships were beginning to grow.
Media and government relations panel recap: November 2
Relationships started at the first event continued to bloom at the November 2 event that featured a panel discussion on media and government relations. NAIT’s JR Shaw School of Business hosted the event—and provided free snacks—in its beautiful brand new Centre for Applied Technology (CAT).
Before the panel discussion, about 60 attendees mingled with other participants and connected with their partners (or potential partners if they didn’t yet have a formal match). Panelists Ron Kustra, Cheryl Oxford, Amanda Nielson and Wade Wilson, who have diverse backgrounds in the field, then shared insightful tips.
Three takeaways from this panel discussion
As a mentee whose goal is to transition to a communications career, these are my three most useful takeaways from the panel.
Get to know others in the field and develop a support network. Then when you need support you already know who you can connect with and rely on.
Like the Boy Scouts say, “Be prepared.” Plan for every imaginable contingency. Don’t wait until a crisis; with a plan in place, you only need to tweak it rather than start from zero.
Know your limits
Know your limits and be up front about them. It’s better to be honest than to take on a task you can’t follow through with.
Why does the mentorship program matter?
The IABC Mentorship Program brings value to mentors, mentees and the broader Northern Alberta communications field because it helps grow our community and strengthen our collective knowledge base.
Crystal Komanchuk, Mentorship Director, says these partnerships benefit both sides. Mentors “can add leadership, guidance and mentorship with IABC to their resumes.” Mentees, many of whom are students, “can gain valuable industry insight from their experienced peers, all while networking with communications colleagues.” The 2016-17 season is the second for the program, which has nearly 100 participants.
These are important advantages for us all because isn’t community what communications is really all about?
Next mentorship event
The next mentorship event, on leadership development will be held on December 6, 2016. If you’re interested in taking part in this valuable program, too, as a mentor or a mentee, join here or email questions to Crystal Komanchuk, Mentorship Director.