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Finding a mentor – and why they’re all the rage

One hundred years of professional development and

community activism

Junior Chamber International celebrates its centennial year


The Athena Leadership Leader of Tomorrow Scholarship Recipient Acqueline Masvikeni (middle) with Athena members. Photo by Beibei Lu. If you are passionate about a particular cause, maybe you will

hroughout my education, I often heard the word “mentor” being tossed around. Having a mentor was the thing to do. I understood the term: to my knowledge, a mentor was

a super cool human being who you could look up to and draw inspiration from. Tey were someone that has “been there, done that” – and did a darn good job of doing “that” too, whatever “that” may be to you. Tey were someone whose brain you could pick, to

whom you could run your top-secret ideas by and di- vulge your greatest passions – as well as your deepest darkest secrets, successes, and failures. Essentially, a mentor sounded like a fun, successful new bestie (perhaps sans manicures and wine). All that was left for me was to go out and find this amazing superhu- man who wanted to embark on this mentor/mentee relationship with me. Sounds pretty simple, right? Could I not just start handing out the applications?

find them heading a board that you have just started to volunteer on. If you find yourself instantly impressed by somebody, do your due diligence and learn more about their story. Didn’t instantly hit it off and book a lunch date? Don’t be afraid to con- tact them – but be professional and know your stuff, explaining that you are new to your industry, career, or whatever it may be, and that you would love to have the opportunity to take them for coffee or lunch to pick their brain. After your “first date,” it will usually be clear to both

parties if it is a relationship that is worth pursuing, so make sure to put your best foot forward. 3. It comes full circle. What? Me? A mentor? When

Tere should be tons of people eager to start help shaping this young mind. Tis, folks, is where reality kicked in. Although the concept of having a mentor seemed simple, fun – perhaps even trendy – it’s not quite so easily achievable. Here are a few things I learned upon entering the mentor matchmaking scene. 1. You must have a mutual interest and passion. Finding a

The Corporate Climb

Laura Wittig

I was approached by a younger student with some questions about my path, I was shocked. What could someone possibly learn from me?! Ten I realized that she was me… six or seven years ago. While I was silently smiling and nodding at the then buzzword “mentor” in first-year university, this young student was way ahead of where I was then.

She was reaching out to people and asking them how they

mentor isn’t quite as easy as business school made it sound. It requires a great deal more work that typing out an email with the subject line, “Mentor Me?” In order to have someone want to invest time and passion in

you, you have to first show your own passion. Keep in mind that this person will be investing a lot of their resources in you, out of simply the goodness of their heart and their desire to see you succeed. Maybe they see themselves in you, or maybe they share the same values and ambitions. Whatever it is, they have decided that you are worth their own

very precious time, so don’t let them down. When you schedule time with them, don’t be late, and never waste their time. Come full of questions, but also let them talk and tell their story. It is amazing how much you can learn from not only somebody’s pro- fessional experience, but even more so from their life experience. 2. It will happen naturally. Finding a mentor should be or-

ganic. Don’t ask someone to be your mentor for the sake of having a mentor. It is said that often your mentor will find you, which makes perfect sense. Your mentor could be someone from your same company or in the same industry. You will run into them at events that will emphasize your shared interests.

got to where they are today; strategically trying to figure out her next life steps. Although you may not have all the experience in the world, you have been there and done that when it comes to certain things. Sharing your story on how you made it through school (one venti latte at a time), graduated with honours, and now have started this incredible career might be somebody’s own dream. Don’t sell yourself short, and if you see someone who you think shows a lot of promise, invest in her future as well. You never know what you may have to offer one another. 4. Luck goes both ways. While the concept of finding a mentor

may seem intimidating, there is no better way to learn than from somebody’s own personal real-life successes and failures. Tey are giving you an incredible gift by allowing you to learn from their wealth of experience and knowledge, so make sure you take advantage of this opportunity. Connecting with a mentor can also open up a large portion of their own network to you… and you know what they say: two networks are better than one! Athena Leadership is a Manitoba-based, non-profit organization

dedicated to advancing young women in leadership. Laura Wittig currently serves on the Board of Directors as the Director of Com- munications. She is a proponent of helping other women advance in their careers, and seeks to share her perspective on how we can always keep learning personally and professionally.

Being a mom can make you better at your job D

By Ada Slivinski

o an Internet search of “how hav- ing kids can benefit your career,” and the top results are all focused

on men. Fathers are paid more than childless men – the break and stress-relief children provide seems to stimulate their brains into thinking about work problems in new ways, and thus often leads to pro- motions and new opportunities. But for mothers, the popular narrative

is quite the opposite. Te bookstores and Internet discussion boards are full of cautious tales about why mothers who work outside the home can’t “have it all.” Pregnant women are often told their work will take a hit with all the responsibilities of being a parent. But what’s often over- looked is that parenthood can actually affect work life for mothers in the same positive ways it does for men if we know how to take advantage of the opportunity. When I found out I was pregnant with

my daughter, I was about to move across the country for a fantastic new job. I certainly remember people telling me that a baby would be a significant career roadblock. I can say that it certainly was a challenge to learn the ropes at a new place

March 2015

while struggling with morning sickness and running out for midwife appoint- ments, but it also helped me connect with my new coworkers and interview subjects on a deeper level. As a reporter, I have to ask tough ques-

tions that often put politicians and other decision-makers on the spot. I was sur- prised at how many times my growing belly provided the perfect ice-breaker, putting those I was grilling more at ease and thus leading to a better interview. Now that I have a two-year-old, sharing stories about potty training or hilariously misspoken words has the same effect. Many other mothers who I’ve spoken

with who work outside the home tell me they too were surprised at how their career benefited from the new role of parenthood. Time management. One of the things

mothers talk about is how they become better able to manage their time. A new mother, columnist, and lawyer friend of mine puts it this way, “I don’t have the luxury of saying to myself that I will fin- ish something later. Who knows when later is!” Many parents also say they don’t want to bring work home with them, be- cause that’s the time they have to spend

By Simon Methot T

he JCI movement started on Oct.13, 1915 with one active citizen who had a passion for positive change. Since

then, millions of young active citizens have united to create sustainable impact in their communities. One hundred years later, Junior Cham-

ber International chapters worldwide are celebrating 100 Years of Impact. Here in Canada, we’ve decided to ask our 14 active chapters to submit stories of impact in their communities brought on by projects led by their local JCI. Here is our first story. 1961 Steinbach Jaycees offer a 24-hour

ambulance service Te Steinbach Junior Chamber of Com-

merce, considered in the day to be one of the most active in Manitoba, proved its leader- ship qualities again in 1961 by inaugurating an ambulance service in the area. Incorporated as a town on Dec.31, 1946,

Steinbach, Manitoba was a growing commu- nity located 58 km southeast of Winnipeg. In 1961, with a population of 3,739 inhabit- ants, Steinbach needed many modern-day amenities but did not have the resources to make them a reality. Tis is where the Steinbach Jaycees decided to step up for their hometown. Te Steinbach Jaycees purchased an am-

bulance as well as provided 24-hour service to Steinbach and district residents. A blitz campaign raised $1,500 for the purchase of the unit through a donation from the town and municipality, as well as a smorgasbord donated by a local food store. With the permission of the town council,

the ambulance was stored at the local fire hall. Jaycees became volunteer drivers and were required to all successfully pass and maintain first aid training. Tey took turns being on duty to provide

with their children, so they learn to work smarter during the day and get things done at the office. Patience and acceptance. Tough be-

ing a parent can be extremely draining on your patience at times, it can teach you to be more patient and understand- ing at work, which can be a huge bonus when working with clients or a team. Having children also helps to put work into perspective. “No emergency at the office can compare to having a child with a life-threatening injury in the hospital,” a publisher with two boys recently told me. Downtime better spent. It is also a

great stress-reliever: a little kid running into your arms after a tough day at work immediately makes those office problems fade away. For many parents who choose to continue with a career after kids, having children motivates them at work – they want to provide for their kids so they may be more confident asking for a raise or a promotion, or further their education because they want to be a good role model. As gender roles shift and mothers are no longer the sole caregivers and homemak- ers, we can apply all we learn in our new role as parents to our work as well and see the benefits – just like men.

round-the-clock service. Tis service con- tinued until the area was taken over by the South Eastman Regional Health Authority. An asset to the community

The people of Steinbach, through their

generosity with this project, helped to fur- ther the idea that Jaycees are an asset to their community. The JCI 100th anniversary celebration

connects young active citizens across local, national and global communities to reflect on the positive change created in the last 100 years, while looking forward to some of the new challenges we face in this globally connected world. The challenges transcend borders, and

so, our solutions toward sustainability must also be global. No one individual, organiza- tion, or sector of society can provide sustain- able solutions alone. We, as Jaycees, encourage all young people

to take ownership of the problems faced by their communities; and as the JCI movement propels into the next 100 years of impact, we’ll do our part to rise to the challenge, too. You too can get involved. Join us at a JCI

Winnipeg’s Month End Mixer to share your vision of a better community, engage JCI members toward betterment, and discover the avenues of potential and impact that exist within JCI Winnipeg. Visit jciwinnipeg. for more information.

Smart Biz 7

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