“Having someone tell you that you are on the right track is a big deal”

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 

interVivos launches Summer 2020 Mentorship Program virtually

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/

Remembering A Provincial Affair

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.

Join the interVivos Board!

We are expanding the interVivos board! We are currently looking for people who are civic minded and also have a background in one or more of the following:

  • Strategic planning
  • External communications
  • Fund development

If you have experience with one or more of the above, we invite you to apply before noon on March 15, 2020 to become an interVivos Board Member!

Why should you be an interVivos board member?
Why not? Being an interVivos board member will allow you to connect with engaged leaders, complete tasks that are not part of your normal routine, and get further involved in the community!

A former board member had the following to say of her experience on the board:
“I learned valuable lessons during my time with the board. My understanding of board governance and board accountability developed substantially. I also had the opportunity to meet an incredible amount of people and my network grew. I attribute this to the array of topics and professional paths that intersect at this organization. I was given many chances to try so many new roles and responsibilities. I am so grateful to interVivos and its board members for new friendships, many laughs and diverse experiences.”

What is expected of board members?
Board members are expected to complete a two year term during which they attend monthly board meetings, bi-weekly working sessions, interVivos special events, as well as other ad hoc activities which mostly fall on evenings or weekends. They also complete a variety of administrative tasks to keep a small nonprofit with no staff going. Also, they are interVivos ambassadors who strongly believe in our vision of a generation of inspired and informed leaders.

Interested in applying?
To apply, click here and fill out the application form and upload your resume. Applications close March 15 at noon. We will contact you on the 16th if you have been selected for an interview. Interviews will be taking place only during the evening of March 19 at Incite (10507 Saskatchewan Drive).

Successful candidates MUST be available during the evenings of March 31 and May 7 to attend the Annual General Meeting and the Spring 2020 Mentorship Launch.

Questions? Please email connect@intervivos.ca.

Interview with a Founder: Ardyce Kouri

Ardyce Kouri is a partner and owner of Leaders International, an organization designed to support their clients in identifying the senior leadership they need to keep driving their organizations forward. Ardyce is also a founding board member of interVivos and served many roles within the organization as a board member, volunteer, mentor and now an advisor.

Given her extensive professional network and business expertise, Ardyce is highly qualified to offer advice to young business professionals. She encourages young businesspeople to, “identify a core group of professionals to help you deal with any potential challenges that will undoubtedly arise as you navigate your business journey.” She also preaches the importance of volunteerism: “Stay involved in the community.  Volunteer; sit on a board; stay connected. This helps you stay balanced and also helps your network grow.”

Ardyce has also been an advocate for building mentoring relationships. She was “lucky to work with some great partners at Leaders International (formerly Davies Park) and was mentored by all of them, included the founders – Gerry Davies and Darwin Park.” Ardyce credits her mentorship opportunities for much of her professional growth: “Having the opportunity to learn from a variety of leaders was great as I learned different perspectives and approaches, as I developed my own.” Ardyce is now key in helping other young business professionals develop their leadership approaches as a mentor. “Whenever you get a chance to meet someone new and listen to their experience you can learn something. Even if you are considered the ’mentor’ you are still getting a chance to learn and grow as a professional. It’s great!” Expanding, Ardyce adds, “By mentoring a young businessperson, you will add value to someone else, but you will also learn something about yourself in the process. It’s a win-win.”

As a founding member of interVivos, Ardyce highly encourages everyone to become involved with the organization as either a mentor or a protégé: “When I was asked to be a mentor, I was honoured and excited. I know the power a positive mentoring relationship can have on both protégé and mentor and I felt I could make a positive difference. interVivos is a diverse group and you will get the opportunity to learn from many different people and expand your perspective. You will also find it supportive and dynamic!”

The Winter 2019 Mentorship Program launches on December 10, 2019. To register, please check: https://bit.ly/2XHniyl .

interVivos launches Summer 2019 Mentorship Program

interVivos is launching its Summer 2019 Mentorship Program Wednesday, June 19, 2019. interVivos is inviting ambitious professionals from across the capital region to take part in its ever-popular mentorship program and have the opportunity to connect with highly sought-after mentors.

interVivos has organized close to 20 mentorship programs since the society started in 2006. This year interVivos will provide protègès the opportunity to be paired with successful women with varied careers, backgrounds and perspectives.

The Mentorship Program launch is a unique and engaging concept. Protègès and mentors will have the opportunity to meet with all the participants, discuss what their goals are in person, and then choose who the best match would be for them.

Our speakers from #girlbossyeg 2018! This is the event that influenced the all-female mentor lineup for the 2019 Summer Mentorship program! Photo by Karen Lee

“Allowing our participants the choice, increases the likelihood that the partnership will be fruitful for everyone involved,” says Board President, Zohreh Saher. “We are especially excited to showcase the talented and successful women in our community with our first all-female mentor group.”

The program launches June 19 and begins in early August. It runs for 6 months and matches are expected to meet at least three times. If you’re an ambitious professional in the capital region, you can learn more about the program and register as a protègè by visiting this Eventbrite link.

interVivos Mentorship Research

In fall of 2018, board members were tasked with conducting a research project to audit its own mentorship program and uncover the needs of young professionals and trends in mentorship. The following are the highlights.

  • Since the inception of interVivos’ Mentorship Program, females make up 2/3rds of protégés and males make up 1/3rd; mentors are evenly split
  • interVivos mentors have an average of 17 years in their respective industry
  • 2/3rds of mentors are in the private sector and 1/3rd belong to the non-profit or public sector
  • Protégés who participate in interVivos’ Mentorship Programs are largely looking:
    • to learn and grow professional and personally
    • to access expertise and knowledge
    • for advice, feedback and guidance in their career
    • and to network and broaden their professional relationships
  • Mentors who participate in interVivos’ Mentorship Programs are largely looking:
    • to support protégé growth and development
    • to pay it forward by opening doors and creating opportunities
    • to learn from the protégé in an exchange of ideas
    • and to help shape a better community
  • In light of the #metoo and #timesup movement, research has shown that some male bosses are becoming afraid of working one-on-one with female employees and thus are becoming less likely to mentor them
  • More organizations are realizing the value of mentorship; many mentorship programs exists, and more are being created every year
  • Within Edmonton, mentorship programs are popular but exist within industry associations or as part of a post-secondary offering with varying program structures

Stay tuned for more details on our upcoming mentorship program launching on June 19, 2019. Email us at mentorship@intervivos.ca to find out more.

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.

 

Meet Your Panelists: Grace Cleveland

Tonight’s the night for #girlbossyeg 2018! We have an incredible group of female leaders from the Edmonton community on our panel this year. Here’s a chance to get to know one of our awesome panelists a little bit better: Grace Cleveland! Read more

Connecting the Dots

A protégé from the Spring 2017 mentorship program recently wrote for our blog about her experience at the pairing event. —– You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something […]