interVivos recognizes the importance of supporting one another in creating a sense of belonging for all—which is why we strive to create programs and events that can help build this sense in the Edmonton community. 

In Fall 2020, we launched our very first mentorship program to showcase Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) volunteer mentors. There are unique challenges and opportunities associated with being a BIPOC professional in Edmonton. One of our Fall 2020 Mentors, Keenan Pascal, recently shared about his own challenges in an Edmonton Journal article, “A lot of times you’re like the only Black guy in the room in a lot of these professional circles. It’s just (the) reality. In the beginning, you’re a little shyer, you’re a little, like, ‘Nobody looks like me,’ they don’t have the same background to connect. It kind of forced me to quickly evolve in terms of having to be more outgoing. I can’t sit in the back and be the quiet Black guy. You’ve got to put your hand up and get noticed.” 

interVivos endeavours to create a safe space for our participants to share these experiences. For our BIPOC program, we recognized that some of our mentors and protégés may wish to discuss the challenges of being BIPOC or may simply want to learn more about these experiences. We welcomed this critical dialogue and even created a unique BIPOC Resources List for our program participants to help them get more informed, find additional support, or connect with other community organizations engaging in these critical conversations. 

One volunteer mentor shared about the safe space that interVivos created: “Really impressed with how this process rolled out and the thought and intention behind it. It is great to see the board, already a very diverse group of young women, driven to take diversity and inclusion training to ensure the program addresses any potential power mishap. I’ve personally been in networking and mentorship events/programs where mentors grossly abused their position given the stage and power dynamics that were intentionally set up to be highly imbalanced. Not once did I feel uncomfortable, and I did feel everyone was valued and appreciated, whether they are mentors or protéges”.

At interVivos, we desire to put the utmost care and attention into our programs and events to empower the next generation of leaders. We continue to do this by engaging with the community, participating in training, and sharing our resources with Edmontonians like you.  If you have ideas for other resources to include or have something you’d like to teach us, please send an email to mentorship@intervivos.ca. We would love to connect with you! 

Are you interested in participating in a future mentorship program? Sign up for our mailing list and never miss an update! 

The COVID-19 virus caused everyone to change how they communicate with each other. For interVivos, it changed the way we “meet” as a board and how we run our programs, like modifying our in-person mentorship program into a virtual one

At the pandemic’s onset, interVivos evaluated if we could continue our programming through a public health emergency. We wanted to dialogue with the community-at-large in a safe and engaging way.

interVivos was fortunate enough to facilitate two mentorship program launches via Zoom in 2020. We were able to connect 23 protégés with 23 mentors in our community. In early 2021, we chatted with a Fall 2020 protégé and mentor to hear their thoughts about interVivos and the program launch.

Our protégé perspective comes from Bonnie Chiu. She graduated from the University of Alberta in 2019 with a Degree in Human Ecology and is currently working in healthcare philanthropy. She first heard about interVivos through our posts on LinkedIn and eventually decided to sign up as a protégé for the Fall 2020 Program— her very first experience with interVivos. “I wanted to expand my social and professional network. I find that those opportunities, especially now [due to the pandemic], can be more difficult to come by.” 

We asked her to share more about her experience with the mentorship program launch. “It was a very positive experience for me. I felt there was great communication from interVivos leading up to the event, on event day, and afterwards. It is tough to run a virtual event, but everything was well-planned and running very smoothly.  I enjoyed connecting with everyone— it was the most social interaction I’ve had in months beyond my usual circle.”

Bonnie loved that the event showcased the unique talents and people in Edmonton. “I walked away with a lot of great advice from the 13 mentors during the speed rotations. There were so many takeaways just in that one night!  I’m looking forward to staying involved with interVivos and whatever they plan in the future when they can run more events programs.”

Renée Williams, Vice President Customer Experience at the Fort Edmonton Management Company, was a first-time mentor for our Fall 2020 Program. She heard about interVivos through her friend, Mary Bailey of The Tomato, who was a Summer 2020 mentor. Renée decided to join as a mentor for our first program focused on highlighting Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour (or BIPOC) volunteer mentors because she would have loved to have had a mentor who looked like her during her career journey. 

“I have been very successful in the communications and tourism industry, but I often feel like I did it on my own. As the only Black woman in a senior leadership position in the tourism industry across the province, I am a rarity in this field. Mentorship programs like these are important. I want my son to see himself in a career because representation is an opportunity that I did not have. I want to give him every opportunity to succeed, and these programs can help make that happen for people like him.” 

We spoke to Renée about her first-time experience with interVivos. “The launch was very well thought out and thorough. Everything was organized and easy to understand. I was impressed with the mentors at interVivos. Many of my former colleagues have been involved with interVivos in the past. There were also many mentors participating in the program that I was interested in connecting with in the future!” 

Renée was also impressed with the talent she saw in the protégé pool at the event. “There were so many protégés with diverse interests like government, politics, or simply looking to make a career shift. I learned little nuggets from each person I met. The world will be set up for great success if mentors and protégés are interested in making things better by reaching out, connecting, and asking questions.” 

Thank you to all of the fantastic mentors and protégés who have been involved with interVivos for the past 15 years! We are delighted to share the many unique talents and perspectives that our community has to offer. 

interVivos is always looking for protégés and mentors from all backgrounds for our future programs. You can follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter) or join our mailing list, so you don’t miss out on your opportunity to get more involved with our organization.

At interVivos, our mission is to cultivate leadership and impact our community through dialogue, engagement, mentorship programs, and events. Community partnerships play a crucial role in making this happen. 

Last year, Park Power joined interVivos as the Presenting Sponsor for our Fall 2020 Mentorship Program. They are a friendly local business that provides electricity, natural gas, and internet services to Albertans and that also believes in building our community through community involvement.      

Before our Fall Program Launch, we spoke with the owner and founder of Park Power, Kris Kasawski, to learn more about him. 

Kris is a family man, entrepreneur, and community builder. He first got involved with interVivos as a mentor in the Spring 2016 Mentorship Program. We asked him to share more about his experience as one of our mentors. “I enjoyed the speed rotation format. It was a fun experience because it forced you to dig into it with the protégé and get a rank of each other.”

He sees the importance of mentors. “[Mentors] can help you evaluate what you’re doing. They can share their successes, mistakes, how they’ve grown, and pass the knowledge onto their protégés. Life is a long game. Protégés can get advice from those who have lived through longer.”

For our Fall 2020 Program, we chose to showcase Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (or BIPOC) mentors and share the impressive work they do right here in Edmonton. 

Kris was thrilled to help highlight these diverse leaders in the Edmonton community. He understands the importance of connecting mentors and protégés with different backgrounds. “Everyone has their own implicit biases and environments. These matches can help challenge these barriers and biases. We can build more community capacity and increase inclusiveness.”  

Kris is a loyal supporter of interVivos ever since getting involved as a mentor. He has attended many of our community engagement events and has even spoken at some of our events, including this Program Launch! 

We are so grateful that he believes in the work of interVivos. Thank you, Kris Kasawski and Park Power, for your sponsorship of our Fall 2020 Mentorship Program. We look forward to many more opportunities to partner with community leaders like you to impact the city of Edmonton! 

To find out about how you can support us, please email connect@intervivos.ca.

interVivos and our community rely on the small businesses at the heart of them. 2020 has been a tumultuous time for our small businesses with the impacts of COVID-19. 

Small businesses provide character and individuality to a community. They benefit their local communities in many concrete, quantifiable ways. Specifically, if you spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays within the local economy.

Effective Dec. 13, some businesses will be required to close, reduce capacity, or limit their in-person access. These small businesses need our support more than ever as they’ve to pivot. Buy gift cards for friends and family, buy gift cards for your use in the spring, purchase packages and kit, write positive social media reviews, like their social media posts, post about them on your Instagram stories, access their curbside offerings, get delivery, etc.

During the Fall 2020 mentorship program launch, participants shared their favourite local business names. Check out the list below. You might discover a new gem in your backyard that you can support during the holiday season in 2020 and in 2021! We have also included our remarkable Fall 2020 program sponsors in this list. The interVivos board has even added their picks.

Remember to continue practicing safe social distancing, frequent hand washing, and following the guidelines put in place to keep everyone safe. 

Retail

Restaurants and Cafes

Other Amazing Businesses

Registration for Protégés is now open

interVivos is launching its Fall 2020 Mentorship Program on December 1, 2020. This Edmonton program will showcase Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) volunteer mentors. Ambitious professionals from all backgrounds are invited to take part as protégés in the ever-popular mentorship program.

Since 2006, interVivos has connected over 600 high caliber mentors and protégés through its mentorship programs. Mentors are highly sought after and come from a variety of backgrounds, careers, and perspectives. They are volunteers who are looking to give back to their community by sharing their ideas and experiences to assist protégés in their career journey. The Fall 2020 Mentorship Program is an opportunity for BIPOC mentors to empower the next generation of Edmonton’s BIPOC leaders.

“It is important to take proactive and purposeful action to ensure that different voices are heard, included, and supported across the spectrum of roles,” says Jason Syviaxy, former interVivos mentor and Fall  2020 launch event emcee. “If we fail to challenge the system, we perpetuate the norm, which means that we wait for change to catch up rather than embracing and meeting it.”

interVivos mentorship programs are offered twice per year and typically begin with an in-person launch event. Propelled by the virtual Summer 2020 mentorship launch’s success, interVivos will launch the Fall Program over Zoom. Mentors and protégés will connect through Zoom “breakout rooms” for group engagement activities, one-on-one speed rotations, and networking opportunities.

After the launch, mentors and protégés are matched up based on their preferences. The matches will work together over six months to learn from each other, collaborate, and reach professional goals. The program runs from January to June 2021, and matches are required to meet at least three times, either virtually or in-person, with appropriate COVID-19 measures in place.

The following are the confirmed mentors for the Fall 2020 mentorship program:

You can register to be a protégé by visiting:  https://intervivosfall2020.eventbrite.ca

Read the FAQs about our Fall 2020 Mentorship program.


Program Sponsors

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor: Park Power.

Thank you to our program sponsors: Incite, VSM Photo, Coffee Ring Studio, E & J Watch and Jewellery Repair West Edmonton Mall, Soni Dasmohapatra, JGR Communications, Leaders International, Anne McLellan, Doughnut Party, RSM Canada, and Altitude Investments.

Register to be a protégé by visiting: https://intervivosfall2020.eventbrite.ca/

Why is interVivos organizing a mentorship program focused exclusively on BIPOC mentors?

The interVivos board is thrilled to highlight many amazing Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) volunteer mentors in the Edmonton community.  We recognize the importance of diversity and support one another in creating a sense of belonging for all. interVivos is fiercely non-partisan, but diversity has always been one of our values. 

BIPOC citizens are generally underrepresented in leadership positions, leaving a gap in diversity and workforce perspectives. If fewer people mentor BIPOC people, fewer BIPOC people will rise to leadership positions. The program is an opportunity for BIPOC mentors with varied careers, backgrounds, and perspectives to empower the next generation of BIPOC leaders.

Who can register to be a protégé in this program?

Protégés from all backgrounds are welcome to register. We have always encouraged our protégés to pick a mentor who looks different from them and/or has a different professional background from them.  

Do I have to live in Edmonton to participate in the program?

Yes. interVivos is an Edmonton-based nonprofit, and our mentorship programs are focused on supporting our community. Although the program will launch virtually due to COVID-19, we are hopeful that it will be safe for mentors and protégés to meet in person in early 2021 for their match meetings.

What kind of support does interVivos provide to protégés? 

interVivos is creating a safe space for all participants to share their experiences. We use an open-door policy to build trust and a supportive environment. The interVivos board has completed diversity and inclusion training to ensure the program is impactful and serves all participants well. We have several tools and resources available for protégés to prepare for the launch and throughout the program.

What will the BIPOC mentors get out of the program?

Our mentors are volunteers who are looking to give back to their community. Mentors will share their ideas and experiences as a BIPOC leader in Edmonton to assist you in your career journey. 

What will protégés work on during the program?

We understand that some of the protégés in this program may wish to discuss the unique challenges and opportunities associated with being a BIPOC professional in Edmonton. We welcome this, but our mentorship programs offer protégés so much more.

Protégés leave our mentorship programs with enhanced confidence and leadership skills. Others work towards concrete goals that they have set out for themselves, such as creating a business plan or a website.  To find out about the experiences of past protégés in other programs, check out our blog posts featuring Stephen and his mentor Nafisa and Giselle and her mentor Ken.

Will I find a job at the end of the program?

Our mentorship programs are not a platform to ask mentors for a job. This upcoming program is no different. Protégés should pursue this mentorship program if they are looking to elevate their career, change career paths, develop a specific goal, or solve a personal or professional challenge (for example, imposter syndrome). A mentor’s role is to listen, guide, provide constructive feedback, and help you achieve actionable outcomes within the program’s six-month duration. 

Why is there a cost to the mentorship program?

We are a volunteer-run nonprofit. Protégés pay a small fee to keep our operating expenses low and our programs affordable for all Edmontonians. For each program, interVivos uses a portion of revenue to offer no-cost protégé spots to diverse community organizations.  

Typically, interVivos charges our protégés $80 to participate in a mentorship program. We are hardly in a typical time, and the virtual mentorship program’s price reflects the economic reality. interVivos is proud to provide protégé spots on a sliding scale of either $50, $60, or $70 to allow you to pay what you can for a protégé spot. 

How does a virtual mentorship launch work?

We had our first virtual mentorship launch this past summer on Zoom. Mentors and protégés could connect by utilizing the “breakout rooms” feature in Zoom for the speed rotations and networking. 

How does interVivos recruit the protégés?

interVivos protégé spots sell out quickly and the program often has a waiting list.  

All interVivos protégés self-select to be a part of the program. Many hear about the program through social media, our mailing list, our board members, and past mentors and protégés. Some are even repeating protégés who want to work on different goals with another mentor.

How does the organization select the mentors?

Our volunteer mentors are referred to us by former mentors, former protégés, board members, the interVivos Advisors, sponsors, and volunteers. We select mentors for each program to ensure that we have mentors representing diverse professional backgrounds, genders, ages, and racial backgrounds.

Some mentors have reached out to interVivos directly and asked if they can participate. We do some informal screening to ensure that protégés get the best mentors available in the community.

We are also excited to have some former protégés become mentors over the years. And some mentors ask to mentor again! If you know of any potential mentors for future programs, please email mentorship@intervivos.ca at any time.

Will mentors and protégés be able to meet in person during the 6-month program?

interVivos advises that all mentors and protégés follow Alberta Health Service guidelines and City of Edmonton bylaws (check their websites often for the most up to date information). During the program, matches must meet at least three times. This may be done virtually or in-person with Covid-19 protocols in place (physical distancing, mask use, etc.). 


Read more about The Importance of Mentors who are Black, Indigenous, People of Colour.  

Register to be a protégé by visiting: https://intervivosfall2020.eventbrite.ca/

interVivos is pleased to welcome two youth interns. The interns joined the board at our September 2020 bi-monthly board meeting as voting board members until March 2021.

We are a placement organization with Volunteer Alberta’s Youth at the Table program and the University of Alberta’s Non-Profit Board Student Internship Program. The youth will be joining our organization to get first-hand experience of how boards work. They will participate in meetings, learn basic non-profit governance, and will each work on a small project connected to our strategic plan.

interVivos has hosted youth board members for several years. We are delighted that one of the previous youth, Madison Lorenz, has been a board member since May 2020 and will be mentoring our youth this year.

Our vision is a generation of inspired and informed leaders. Initiatives such as this support that vision and work to support youth as they transition from their studies to careers. COVID-19 has impacted many people in the community, but in particular youth dealing with so much uncertainty. Our board interns will be participating in the upcoming Fall 2020 mentorship program to build broader connections during this disconnected time. Their mentors will also help them work on their professional goals.

Meet our interns:

Khadija Memon is our Non-Profit Board intern, and she is currently in her third year of an Arts degree in Psychology and Economics. She volunteers with the Peer Support Centre and works as an English Language Facilitator. Originally from Pakistan, she is passionate about diversity and community engagement. 

 

 

 

 

Victoria Pearson is our Youth at the Table intern and graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science specializing in psychology, with a research certificate. She works as a part-time legal assistant and explored launching a Parenting Support Service with a law firm. When Victoria was in school, she started regularly volunteering with her NDP constituency association, which turned into running the association as President.  She then revived the NDP campus club to get more youth involved in politics and established a lasting board framework that allowed the club to continue, even though there is high membership turnover in a school club.

Two-time interVivos Protégé talks about her experience in the interVivos mentorship program

By: Giselle General
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gisellegeneral/

The interVivos mentorship program was my first experience with a formal mentorship program. Throughout university and shortly after, I kept hearing about the value of having mentors for one’s professional and personal life. I never had one until this program. 

In 2018 I was matched with my first inverVivos mentor, an older gentleman named Ken Cantor. I had such a great experience that when interVivos wanted to interview us about our experience, I immediately said yes. After the formal mentorship period concluded we continued to stay in touch. And then, I signed up again! 

This time around, my mentor was Naz Sohni Uppal. Naz is a well-respected, well-recognized, multi-award-winning radio and television correspondent and producer in Edmonton’s media landscape. She was in Avenue’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2014 and I thought that was incredible! I chose her because there is another aspect of my future that I have not had a formal mentor for, and that is my creative side. 

At the same time, I heard many times that it is valuable to have a mentor that has some similarities to you. With my first mentor, we had very little in common and that is why I liked it a lot! But this time around, what influenced my choice  was similarities that I felt we had. And I was right! 

Naz and I had our meetings between January and June 2019. From my impression, she was not that much older than me which I thought was good. I asked her a lot of questions about her career journey, tips about some of the things I’m pursuing, some harsh realities that I suspected that women, immigrants, and people of colour are likely to experience, and her thoughts about my ambitious goals in the near future. We explored unique and small cafés throughout the city for our meeting locations. For someone like me who does not eat out at restaurants often, this was another opportunity to explore corners of the city I would not have discovered otherwise. 

During our mentorship meetings, I realized how having someone tell you that you are on the right track is a big deal. While unpleasant to hear at the time, having someone remind you of the harsh realities you might have to face, particularly as a woman of colour, was also reassuring to me. The “homework” that she asked me to do was meaningful. It felt like I was talking to a cool cousin or aunt. I felt the same about my other mentor who was like a wise older uncle.

Pursuing opportunities to learn from others is worthwhile, and it is something that anyone, no matter what age, or status in their professional life, should find time for. Given my personal style, I prefer being part of a more structured program and arrangement, though I have heard of many informal relationships forming as well. 

The interVivos mentorship program is also a great example of the power of social media when used positively and productively.  I discovered interVivos through social media. By actively engaging in their announcements, I found a program that ended up fitting my goals at the time. 

Click here to read mentor Naz’s story. 

Next up for interVivos is our Summer 2020 Mentorship Program launch that will take place virtually on July 14, 2020. Stay tuned for more information about our Fall 2020 Mentorship Program that will launch this November. Join our mailing list so you don’t miss the chance to register as a protégé. If you are interested in being a mentor like Naz, please email mentorship@intervivos.ca 

Registrations Are Now Closed

Thank you for your interest in interVivos. We’ve been connecting people from all backgrounds for nearly 15 years through important dialogue, engagements, mentorship programs and events. Please be sure to check us out on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter). If you have any questions or want to know when we will be hosting our next mentorship launch, please email us at mentorship@intervivos.ca.

 

Registration for Protègès is Now Open

interVivos is launching its virtual Summer 2020 Mentorship Program on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Ambitious professionals from the Edmonton area are invited to take part in the ever-popular interVivos mentorship program while physically distancing.

interVivos has organized successful mentorship programs in the capital region since 2006. In 2020, things are going to look a bit different. In order to protect the health and wellbeing of all participants, this year’s program launch will be taking place over (you guessed it) Zoom!

The program launch event is interVivos’ tried and true concept. Although we can’t meet in person this summer, protègès and mentors will have the opportunity to network and discuss their professional goals and ambitions.

After the event, participants are paired up based on their preferences. Mentors and protègès will then collaborate over a 5-month period to realize the protègè’s professional goals. Matches are required to meet at least 3 times from August 2020 to December 2020.

“If your goal is to reinvent yourself during the COVID crisis or you are an ambitious professional looking to connect during a disconnected time, check out this program,” says Board President Zohreh Saher.

The Summer 2020 Mentorship program will provide protègès with the opportunity to connect and be paired with Edmonton’s best and brightest. interVivos mentors are highly sought after and come from a variety of backgrounds, careers, and perspectives.

We understand the impact COVID-19 has had on many people. As we are committed to helping our community, protégés will choose their fee to participate in the summer program.

The following are the confirmed mentors for the Summer 2020 mentorship program:

You can register to be a protègè by visiting https://summer2020protege.eventbrite.ca/

On the one year anniversary of our event, A Provincial Affair, we decided to look back at the event and its impact on attendees.

interVivos’ Provincial Election event, A Provincial Affair, was a sell out in April 2019.

We welcomed a diverse crowd of attendees, all of whom share a passion for political action in our community. We were also fortunate to have many first time attendees, including Derek Volker.

Derek was the first person to register for the event. We caught up with him to ask for his thoughts on the event; this is what Derek had to say:

 

Q: This was your first time attending an interVivos event, and you were the first to register. What prompted you to attend the event?

A: An invitation from a board member and also an awareness of events from following interVivos social media.

 

Q: What do you think is the most important political issue facing Albertans?

A: I think the topics selected at the event were a good representation of the important issues.

 

Q: How can others get engaged in the democratic process, and what can we all do to encourage others?

A: Write your MLA or elected official, follow the democratic process in the news, watch Assembly feeds online (including bill debate and not just Question Period), and join an advocacy campaign for an issue you are passionate about. Having conversations is critical, even if just high level. Politics shouldn’t always be avoided as a topic of conversation. That can lead to further polarization and/or lack of engagement if there are never discussions about it.  Respectful conversations can be both informative and engaging.

 

Q: This was your first time at an interVivos event. What did you think?

A: The event was well planned and had good discussions with varying perspectives. I’m looking forward to attending other events in the future.

 

Q: What was your biggest take away from the event?

A: That there are a lot of people who want to engage in policy discussions on matters that may not be the top ballot issues at any given time, but are still important to discuss and for people to be aware of. I.e. getting past the rhetoric of politics and into real policy discussions/debates.

 

Next up for interVivos is our Summer 2020 Mentorship Program launch that will take place virtually on July 14, 2020! Stay tuned for more information and make sure to check our events page often.

Would you like to submit a blog post to interVivos? Email connect@intervivos.ca.