Meet an interVivos Supporter – Rhys Morgan

From the moment Rhys Morgan stepped into the downtown Edmonton coffee shop, it was plain
to see that he is an engaged member of this community. Shaking hands and chatting with people in the shop, waving to those he knew who were passing by, Rhys is clearly passionate about building
relationships with those in this community. As we got to know Rhys a bit better, we learned some of his other passions: family and cycling. Born in Wales, and after a successful career in London, Rhys is happy to call Edmonton home with his partner Ashley and two children, Olive and Ella. Rhys is also an avid cyclist, cycling across the river to his downtown office whenever the weather permits, or when he’s not busy shuttling his eldest daughter to and from school.

Rhys is the Managing Partner and Founder of MorganThomas, which Rhys describes as a “specialist business and technology consulting firm. We help any organization, public sector or private sector, drive innovation and transformation in their business through technology”. Another passion of Rhys’ is the democratic process, as demonstrated by MorganThomas’ sponsorship of A Provincial Affair, interVivos’ provincial election event on April 2nd. 

“I think it’s important. What we’ve seen recently across the world in terms of divisiveness, the Brexit event… I think it’s very important for people to come out, get educated, and see the importance of voting and how impactful it is on their community,” said Rhys. He expressed his concern over low voter turnout, especially amongst young people, and hopes that non-partisan events like these will help drive turnout: “anything that drives turnout is important, regardless of how you vote.”

Rhys also hopes to see his professional contemporaries at the event on April 2nd : “If you’re not going to these events, if you’re not turning up and demonstrating why you think this is important, then I don’t think it sets a good example for the younger generation in terms of how they become future business leaders. That’s why we’re keen to support this.”

InterVivos is lucky to have had Rhys in our corner for quite some time. Both he and his partner Ashley, a former interVivos Board Member, have been mentors for the interVivos mentorship programs. Mentorship is something Rhys views as a key to his past, current, and future success. Rhys said that he can “single-handedly pinpoint [his] success to the people who have been able to mentor [him] throughout [his] career.”

interVivos thanks MorganThomas, their leadership, and their staff, for their generous sponsorship of A Provincial Affair. Make sure to follow them on LinkedIn.

Limited tickets remain for A Provincial Affair on April 2nd ! Purchase your ticket before the event sells out.

A Provincial Affair: An Interview with Shafraaz Kaba

In less than a week we’ll be engaging in passionate discussions on several important topics that impact Albertans: economic diversification, education, employment, environmental issues and healthcare. A Provincial Affair provides young professionals with access to experts on these topics to provide their perspective and answer burning questions.

Shafraaz Kaba is one of our speakers on environmental issues and is a former interVivos mentor. He was previously known for his work at Manasc Isaac Architects, where he focused on the development of buildings that strive for net-zero energy and carbon-emission reducing goals. In his new venture—Ask—Shafraaz now endeavors to facilitate the creation of regenerative, NetZero energy, and carbon neutral architecture using Lean culture and design thinking.

We asked Shafraaz a few questions on what Albertans need to pay attention to this upcoming provincial election to get people thinking about what to ask him during the event.

interVivos: What are the biggest environmental issues facing Albertans?

Shafraaz Kaba: Meeting the Paris Agreement and reducing carbon emissions as soon as possible for us to have a world that is habitable for our children to live in. We need to become carbon neutral as soon as possible.

interVivos: What are some of the ways you think we can accomplish this?

Shafraaz Kaba: From my perspective, it’s helping our society understand how that will change and affect the way we live but not compromise our standard of living. There is an economic opportunity here to really work within our carbon budget. If we prolong action or if we hesitate we’re going to make the planet worse for our children.

interVivos: How do you think we can deal with this on a broader scale?

Shafraaz Kaba: There can be a very large opportunity—if you look at buildings, they consume a lot of our natural resources and they basically produce a third of all our carbon emissions. Buildings have a huge impact on whether we can meet our climate goals.

interVivos: What are some of the provincial policies that either need to continue or be dealt with by the provincial government?

Shafraaz Kaba: Full disclosure, I’m on the board of Energy Efficiency Alberta so we set carbon reduction targets and provide incentives for people. This can be residential, commercial or in businesses to make changes for all of us to live in a lower carbon environment.  We need to look at how we wrap that up even further. Energy Efficiency Alberta and our emissions agency have made some good headway—and it’s a start—but it needs to wrap up significantly within the next decade for us to make a lasting impact.

interVivos: Why are events like A Provincial Affair, and more broadly, citizen engagement events still important for people to participate in?

Shafraaz Kaba: In this day and age, the news has been very shaky at best in terms of how we can get the right information from the right sources, or even understand what information we need to know. I think this event is an opportunity for certain experts and industry folks to speak to their issues, what they know, and how they can inspire others to act. Right now, I think people are turning off news media, and even social media to a certain extent, because it’s becoming biased and negative.

interVivos: How else can Albertans get more informed about issues and party platforms before heading to the polls on April 16?

Shafraaz Kaba: As simple as talking to candidates. In my mind if people can talk directly to their nominees in their own riding to ask them questions they’re concerned about—depending on what information the candidate can tell them will help them decide. Just that conversation alone will show if that candidate is looking into that topic or issue or if they’re simply not engaged. That’s the best thing to do in my opinion.

You can find Shafraaz Kaba on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Limited tickets remain for A Provincial Affair on April 2nd. Get yours before it sells out! We’ll see you there.

Strat Planning is Where It’s At

2018 will be remembered as the year we took the big leap to take time to focus on revisiting our raison d’etre…our mission and vision! After 12 years of events and programs for young professionals in Edmonton, it is time for a new strategic plan.

In early December 2018, we put our advisors, board and some stakeholders in a room to talk about our mission, vision, and what brand characteristics we have. We got help from the Community Development Unit with Alberta Culture and Tourism and Red Executive Services.

And, we are just getting started.

While still offering events and programs to Edmonton’s young professionals in 2019 (check out our events page to see what we have planned), we are going to spend the next few months figuring out the essential stuff.
Do you have thoughts about our Mission? Vision? Brand characteristics? Send us an email and check out this space for updates on this work.


Why Mentoring Matters, and How to Get Started

This article was originally written by Lizz Schumer and can be found at NY Times

“I want the women that I mentor around me to see those possibilities, how they can make a difference when someday they’re in charge,” Ms. Hochul, now New York’s lieutenant governor, said. “I want them to have a more expansive view of their potential. And to me, mentoring is all about letting them see and then helping them find the path to get there.”

While mentoring benefits all participants, it is especially important for young women. A 2015 study from the University of California Haas School of Business found that women gained more social capital from affiliation with a high-status mentor than their male counterparts did. The Department of Labor reports that today, 57 percent of women participate in the work force. As work force demographics continue to change, encouraging mentors and mentees to seek one another out might be more important than ever.

Mentorship advances careers. A study in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that people with mentors are more likely to get promotions. That’s no accident. Jenni Luke, chief executive of the national teen mentorship organization StepUp, knows that those relationships can help propel young women to success.

“When I go into a room full of people and I say, ‘Raise your hand if you’ve gotten your job through somebody,’ every hand goes up,” Ms. Luke said. “Every single person on earth has social capital, and you want to use it with intentionality.”

When mid- and senior-level employees choose to mentor someone newer to the work force, they can boost people who may not otherwise have those opportunities and help level the playing field.

Many companies are “hiring in these kinds of closed networks,” Ms. Luke said. “And unless you’re willing to really understand that and open up your networks,” she added, “the network of folks coming into jobs continues to narrow.”

Mentorship also exposes both parties to new ideas and perspectives. Arlene Kaukus, the director for career services at the University at Buffalo, said she believed that was becoming more and more important, as workplace demographics continue to change.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2024 less than 60 percent of the work force is likely to define itself as “white non-Hispanic.” Latinx people could comprise 20 percent of the labor force in 2024. The proportion of African-Americans in the work force is also projected to rise, to 12.7 percent in 2024 from 12.1 percent in 2014, and the proportion of Asians to 6.6 percent in 2024 from 5.6 percent in 2014.

“The importance of being able to see things from different people’s points of view based on their life experience, their culture, their ethnicity, their gender, becomes even more important,” Ms. Kaukus said.

Ms. Luke emphasized that mentoring should not be paternalistic. “It’s very much reciprocal, and there’s so much to be learned from the younger generation,” she said. Both sides are “meeting different types of people, understanding different experiences, and really growing their own network of young, up-and-coming professionals to be able to support or to be able to offer opportunities.”

Ms. Kaukus, who also volunteers as a mentor to international students, said she also learned a lot from those she mentors. It affords mentors “an opportunity to reach back and continuously develop talent and pay back for the wonderful extension of mentorship that perhaps they were granted at some point in their career,” she said. “I think that is a powerful motivator. And it’s also a powerful benefit for the mentor.”

For the full article, click the link above.

interVivos Mentorship Feature: Nafisa and Stephen

Stephen and Nafisa met at the interVivos Spring 2018 Mentorship Program Launch in May 2019. Nafisa is a professional fundraiser at the Stollery Children’s Hospital and a mentor to Stephen, who is an Urban Planning student at the University of Alberta. They both thought that the interVivos mentorship program would be a good opportunity to build new connections and relationships outside of their own network. Nafisa believes that interVivos stood out amongst other mentorship programs because of the eclectic mix of individuals from all sectors and professions.


Stephen hoped to, “learn from someone outside of [his] area of study who transitioned from post-secondary to the workforce. [He] was also eager to gain insight on how to get integrated into Edmonton’s community-building scene.” Nafisa hopes to, “provide Stephen with different perspectives about his life and career. Stephen is a very smart, high achieving individual… so we teach each other about how to accomplish our goals.” They meet every couple of months and have an unstructured conversation about their goals and challenges.


Nafisa highly encourages experienced professionals to consider mentoring a young professional in Edmonton. Mentoring Stephen has reminded her of herself at his age and has helped her further her own professional development. “It’s a great benefit to mentor a young business person because it has reminded me about some of the goals I wish to achieve and how I am going to achieve them. I think the further you get in your career, it gets harder to make big changes. Mentoring someone to go for it or to pursue their goals has put my goals back into perspective to achieve.”


After the #metoo and #timesup movements gained media attention, there has been some hesitation in entering a mentorship relationship with someone of a different gender. As someone who is in a successful mentorship relationship with a female mentor, Stephen would like to encourage protégés, “to be a little more introspective about how they’re feeling… being the same gender may mean that you’re able to directly connect experiences regarding the intersection of your gender and your professional development. This is important still and people should be encouraged to share these stories, but there are lots of different ways to connect with a mentor. If anything, being mentored by someone who is a different gender allows for a broader understanding of how people relate to one another in the real world and how you, individually, can best approach your life taking more perspectives into account.”


Nafisa encourages other mentors not to stray away from mentoring someone of another gender: “Try it! You will learn something new and gain a different perspective. It will help build you up.” If you’re considering becoming a mentor or a protégé, Nafisa thinks that interVivos has done a great job of attracting a diverse audience and would like to see more community leaders across all sectors as mentors. She encourages others to take on a leadership position and take on a protégé. “Being a mentor has allowed me to meet many diverse and wonderful community contributors and have new and engaging conversations about our careers and community.”



Thank you to Christy Seville, for writing this blog. Christy is a former interVivos intern and is the Communications Coordinator at the MS Society of Canada, AB & NWT Division.

What Happens When Women Mentor Men

This article was originally written by Julia Carpenter and can be found here:

We’re used to seeing men as mentors. We’re used to seeing them mentor other men, and we’re also getting used to seeing them mentor junior women. As more women enter positions of leadership, we’re also seeing a growing number of senior women mentoring other women.But there’s a mentor-mentee relationship we’re not as familiar with: senior women mentoring junior men.

Seeing women as the mentors

Part of the reason we don’t see these relationships as much is because female leaders are still relatively rare. A recent study from McKinsey & Co. and shows that women aren’t promoted to management as quickly as their male colleagues are. As a result, there are fewer opportunities for women to mentor junior employees of any gender.
But research also shows that because men and women are socialized differently — men to be more aggressive and assertive, women to be more submissive and nurturing — they approach mentor-mentee relationships from entirely different perspectives.
Women are also more likely to care about chemistry in these relationships, Athanasopoulou says. Men will mentor a junior employee with less thought about rapport or the bond. Meanwhile, women will spend more time trying to establish that trust on the front end of the relationship.
“When women speak about mentoring another person, they tend to look at mentoring as a two-way process,” she says. Men, she says, are more likely to see it as a transaction than a relationship.

Seeing men as the mentees

The messages we get about gender don’t just shape how we mentor, Schwiebert says. They also change how we receive mentorship.
While women have been socialized to nurture and “mother” in the workplace, men have been socialized to value promotions and other symbols of success.
“There’s this expectation you should want to climb the ladder as far as you can get,”
Schwiebert says. “It’s a vulnerable place for [men] to talk about things like ‘Maybe I don’t want to make a lot of money. Maybe I want to stay here.'”
Schwiebert points to one example from her research, where a male school counselor was offered a promotion to an administrative position, one that would put him on track to one day being a principal or superintendent. He loved his current job, but he know he should want the step up — it meant more prestige and more power. But when he asked female mentors for their input, they helped him see the experience from another side.
“They said, ‘You’re so great with the students. You love them so much. If you do become a principal and agree to it, is that what you want? Do you want to go on and be administrator and make changes at the administrative level, or is your real passion working with the kids?'” Schwiebert remembers. “He ended up turning down that position, because his decision was he really wanted to focus on the thing he loved.”
Walking a mentee through that kind of decision making, she says, and helping him or her find the choice that’s best for them — that is exactly what good mentorship is all about.

What to Talk About With Your Mentors

This blog was originally written by Kristine Henne and can be found at

Recently, we discussed the value in asking questions to keep a conversation going. What happens when you don’t know where to start?

One common answer I’ve heard when I ask mentees if they’ve met with their mentors is, “I would, but I don’t know what to talk about.” Well, that surely can make keeping a conversation going quite a challenge.

When pressed… mentees will disclose a variety of topics they’d like to learn about, skills they’d like to develop or areas in which they’d like to improve. You can almost hear the “click” when they realize they can use these as discussion topics with their mentor. Someone just has to ask that question, “What do you want?” That someone can be a mentor, a peer or preferably, oneself.

Some tips that the article suggests are:

  1. Think about where you’d like to go and what can help get you there.
  2. Do a self-check to see what your current comfort level is with each topic.
  3. Write questions to ask your mentor about each topic and script your next meeting.
  4. Bring it all together by planning your mentoring meeting.

For the full article click the link above.

Building a Professional or Personal Mentoring Program for Millennials

Mentoring is an important aspect of entering the workforce as a millennial, although it is often neglected, even by business owners themselves. While many millennials frequently do well without extra assistance, they can do so through extra effort and work on their part. Many from this generation, however, either lack the opportunity or the will to perform better. As a result, they often require an extra push, or mentoring once they’ve graduated from school.

Are millennials really any different than past generations? It’s true to say that some of the behaviours and attributes of millennials can be explained by their age and limited or lack of experience. However, one of the defining characteristics of the millennial generation is their affinity with the digital world, and their expectations about how technology is used in the workplace. Plus, they need a workplace culture that is robust, flexible, innovative, and a management style and approach that is not restrained by “how things used to be done.” Millennials value a work/life balance, they expect regular detailed feedback and encouragement, and need to feel that their work is worthwhile and that their efforts are being recognized.

Implementing mentoring programs after school-life

Although recognized as an important part of certain academic programs and processes, mentoring remains one of the least understood practices in many corporate institutions. If not implemented properly, a mentoring program can become under-utilized, mismanaged, or even turn out to be a costly yet ineffective endeavor for those involved. To have a positive, successful impact in the design, and implementation of mentoring programs within the corporate or private structure, we need to think and maneuver differently when mentoring millennials. There are key considerations that must be kept in mind:

Proper planning

The goal of mentoring is to improve performance in both personal and professional development, and to ensure that protégés are well-prepared for interaction with their social and professional environments. It is important that an organization, including the mentor and protégé understands what they wish to attain through the mentoring programs by ensuring that qualitative and quantitative standards are in place.

Goals and objectives of the mentoring program, and the mentoring relationship must also be specific, well-structured, and facilitated to allow those implementing the program to determine whether the procedures are being followed, and outcomes achieved. This is important if compliance is an issue in a workplace mentorship program.

Building the core group or staff

A mentoring program within a millennial’s personal or professional life will be more effective when a central core of experienced and dedicated people are on hand to design, implement, and assess it. This will help ensure a well-organized program that is easy to monitor and run.

Recruitment of mentors

The type and quality of mentors to be chosen for the program is indicative of its success. Mentors may be selected through volunteer programs, where other employees and even members of public life can sign up for the task. Mentors could also be selected through active recruitment where they are sought out from the community at-large and asked to join.

A set of qualifications may be set in order for mentors to meet quality standards and to help streamline the application process.

Screening for mentors

The next step in creating any mentoring program is to screen the mentors for eligibility. After reviewing the applications, the core group or staff can begin interviewing the mentor applicants to determine their fit for the program. This is especially important when there are certain activities that may require extra tasks for the mentors or the protégés.

Training for mentors

An important part of a mentoring program is mentor training. Just because a person is qualified does not make them a perfect candidate for mentorship. Mentors must be able to understand the goals and objectives of the program, and be informed about any limitations and boundaries. Certain communication skills must also be checked or improved if necessary.

Matching mentors with protégés

As one of the final steps in implementing a program for mentoring, pairing mentors with protégés can be a challenge given that multi-generations are involved. Therefore, it is important that this is considered carefully. While there are no set standards for pairing, most experts suggest it’s best to consider personality and mentoring styles in order to create the perfect match. If a certain match proves to be ineffective, corrections must be implemented immediately.

A mentoring program can be an extremely rewarding experience and a mutually beneficial relationship for both mentor and protégé. The exchange of information can assist not only the protégé, but also the mentor. We are never too old, young or too successful to learn. What are you waiting for?

To Your Success!

Janice Sarich, M.Ed.
President, It Begins With You Inc.
Former MLA Edmonton-Decore & Parliamentary Assistant to Education Minister



Melissa Scott, MA



Janice (Mentor) and Melissa (Protégé) participated in the Spring 2018 mentorship program and wrote this blog together for our website.

interVivos Mentorship Feature: Ken and Giselle

A successful mentorship depends on several key factors. To help our mentors and protégés get the most out of their mentorship experience, we reached out to a successful mentor/protégé pair for advice. Giselle General is a Volunteer Coordinator with the Edmonton Community Legal Centre with well-defined career goals. And her mentor, Ken Cantor, is an accomplished real estate developer and president of Primavera Development Group with projects that include the restoration of Brighton Block on Jasper Ave.

The pair met at interVivos’ Fall 2017 Mentorship Pairing Event and Ken chose Giselle as his protégé because “she stood out in the specifics of her goals. She is ambitious, well grounded, bright, open-minded, and organized.” Giselle chose Ken as her mentor because she wanted to “understand how our city works from his perspective as someone who has been around for much longer than [she] did, and from the perspective of the development industry.” Giselle explains that if she “were to pursue [her] goal of running for public office, [she] would like to meet people from different areas or industries that [she] currently [is] not able to.”

Giselle was not shy about sharing all that she has gained so far being mentored under Ken. “I have already learned so much,” she says, “how to re-structure my resume for different types of applications and acknowledging that not having answers is okay.”

Giselle’s professional growth is matched by Ken’s experience. “My own personal growth through mentoring is rewarding and ongoing” he explains, “seeing protégés be successful in their endeavors is rewarding; and seeing their horizons expand, whether successful or not in their endeavors, can be equally rewarding.”

To men who are hesitant about mentoring women because of the current sociopolitical climate, Ken has this to say:  “If you’re hesitant, maybe you shouldn’t, but my experience mentoring women is no different than mentoring men.  If the relationship is going to be successful, you have to work on it as equals regardless of gender.” Grateful to have such a successful mentorship experience, Giselle adds, “I think that both parties have so much to learn from mentoring someone from the opposite gender. Interestingly enough, in our case, our ‘differences’ are beyond just gender. We are from different ethnicities, we grew up in different countries, and so much more. If both parties are willing to have thoughtful conversations, and they listen to understand, it will be a very positive experience.”

Giselle and Ken are enjoying their interVivos mentorship experience so much that they plan to continue their mentor/protégé relationship past the 6-month end date. For anyone looking for advice from a seasoned pro or to expand their professional network in a meaningful way, the interVivos mentorship program is the answer for you.

Thank you to interVivos intern, Christy Seville, for writing this blog. Christy is currently wrapping up her Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communication Diploma at MacEwan University.

Feminism Makes Organizations Stronger

This year, #girlbossyeg 2018 had more male attendees than any other year before. We reached out to the first male attendee to register, Mike Kluh, for the event to provide some feedback on the event and a male feminist perspective.

Mike had this to say: Read more