Mentors for Life


There are some experiences that stick with you for life. For Tamara Smith-Deglow, one of them is being a Mentor. She is a Senior Human Resources Specialist, Recruitment with Shaw Communications and has been a Mentor for a new Canadian professional 8 times through the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC) -Bow Valley College (BVC) Mentoring strategy. “I had a mentor who guided me when I changed careers, and I was blessed to have her,” Tamara shared.

Tamara knows what it’s like to break into a new industry, and she believes giving back by being a Mentor is a strong part of community engagement. She was the featured presenter at CRIEC’s recent “MentorShare” session, focusing on addressing “gaps” when mentoring an internationally trained professional.

“It’s never going to go the way you think it’s going to go,” she said, “especially with a new Canadian. There are a lot of cultural issues you don’t realize; for example, I had one mentee come to me with an 8 page resume. She said, in her home country the longer the resume the better because it shows you have more experience.” It’s not the same here in Canada – a 2-page resume is more efficient and effective.

Tamara shared tips like this with 40 other CRIEC-BVC Mentors during MentorShare – an opportunity that CRIEC-BVC hosts as Mentors share a meal, stories and even a few successful hints for a more rewarding mentoring relationship with a new Canadian professional. Tamara admits that mentoring as influenced her own HR practice.

Eriata Dania, also a Human Resources professional in Calgary, was one of those Mentors who joined Mentors from across corporate Calgary for the 90-minute session. It was not too long ago that Eriata was a mentee. She was part of operations for a travel agency in Nigeria and had to put her skills to use in a new profession when she arrived in Canada. The Human Resources profession was appealing to her, and she leaned on her mentor for guidance. “My mentor had more than 10 years of experience in HR. She gave me that reality check into what the industry was like,” said Eriata.

Eriata now sits in the room listening to Tamara, learning even more about being a mentor. “I have been a CRIEC-BVC Mentor once, and I am looking forward to doing it again.” And again, and again. Like Tamara, Eriata believes Mentoring is now a part of her life.

“It’s all about the relationships that you build,” says Tamara. “They are worth every minute of time you put in.”

This MentorShare session hosted by CRIEC-BVC is a crucial part of one of community’s most successful mentoring strategy. If you are an Engineer, Finance/Accountant, Human Resources pro; Project Manager; Lawyer; IT guru or any other professional, you too can be a Mentor! Learn more about becoming a Mentor here