Meet our new interns!

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.

PODCAST: How to be a great mentor

This Kellogg Insight podcast is based on insights from Diane Brink and Carter Cast. It can be found at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Getting the right words of wisdom at the right time can make all the difference to your career. But how do you make that happen—both for yourself and for others around you?

In this episode of the Kellogg Insight podcast, we hear from Diane Brink, a senior fellow and adjunct professor within the Kellogg School’s Markets & Customers Initiative who served as CMO for IBM’s global technology services about her own journey from protégé to mentor. Then Carter Cast, a clinical professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at Kellogg, describes how you can solicit advice that can help accelerate your career even in the absence of a mentor.

 

 

Podcast Transcript

Jessica LOVE: Early in her career, Diane Brink was labeled a high-potential future executive. Her employer put her on a senior leadership development track. She was hungry to become an executive. And there was a point when it looked like it was finally going to happen.

Diane BRINK: I had, in my view, based upon all of the input that I had gotten from my management, done everything that I could have possibly done. My next job was going to be that executive job. Checked off every single box in the development plan. My manager came to me and said, “We’ve got this great opportunity. We want you to be the executive assistant to the CFO of North America.” And I wanted to scream, but I didn’t.

LOVE: Executive … assistant.

No, Brink didn’t scream. Instead, she did something much better. She got some career advice.

BRINK: So, I called this man, who I had worked for, and he listened to me. He listened to my frustration. He said to me, “So Diane, how long do you think you’re going to be working for?” I said, “Well, I don’t know. Maybe 25, 35 years.” He said, “These EA jobs are typically 12 to 18 months. So, do you think that there might be something that you’d learn in those 12 to 18 months that might help you down the road?” I literally put my head in my lap because what he was saying was so obvious. It was right in front of me, and I didn’t see it.

LOVE: Brink took the executive assistant job. And as her mentor predicted, what she learned and who she met ended up being incredibly valuable. From that position, she eventually rose to become IBM’s chief marketing officer for global technology services. She’s now a senior fellow and adjunct professor within the Kellogg School’s Markets & Customers Initiative.

Getting the right words of wisdom at the right time can make all the difference to your career. But how do you make that happen?

Welcome to the Kellogg Insight podcast. I’m your host, Jessica Love. Today, our producer Fred Schmalz talks to Kellogg faculty members Diane Brink and Carter Cast about how to find and develop trusted sources of career advice. That can mean establishing a formal relationship with a mentor. Or it can mean seeking out less formal feedback from colleagues and higher-ups about what will help you advance in your company. Stay with us.

Fred SCHMALZ: Diane Brink has gained so much from being mentored that she now routinely mentors others. From her experience on both sides of that mentor–protégé relationship, she’s developed a rock-solid sense of what a healthy, productive mentoring arrangement should look like.

Perhaps the most important thing mentors can do, she says, is to offer nonjudgmental support.

BRINK: The whole idea behind the mentoring relationship is that it’s a penalty-free environment. But unless you create an environment that is open and trusting, you might not necessarily get really what’s on a person’s mind or what’s bothering them or something they really want to ask you but they don’t feel comfortable asking because you happen to be somewhat more senior than they are.

SCHMALZ: A good mentor is also someone who prioritizes being a good mentor.

There are plenty of people who would be glad to act as a sounding board … in theory. But when it comes to making time on their calendar, things just never seem to happen.

Or maybe they show up physically, but aren’t really present.

BRINK: Some mentors fail because they haven’t really embraced the role. They’re there just to listen but not to engage. That’s not very helpful. It’s a missed opportunity for the mentor, and it’s also a missed opportunity for the protégé.

SCHMALZ: Brink has advice for protégés too.

Let’s say you’ve found a mentor who truly makes time for you and who maintains a supportive, nonjudgmental attitude. What should you expect out of the relationship?

According to Brink, the answer may not be as transactional as you think.

BRINK: For example, there was a time I was paired with someone, a young woman exec, who was in the marketing function. A lot of times in function, you do a lot of mentoring to make sure that you’re succession-planning and your talent development is moving into new jobs and opportunities. When we met, she sat down, and not even two minutes into the conversation was a conversation about the next job that she was going to get and how I was going to help her get there.

I had to stop the conversation and say, “Wait, mentoring is not about finding you your next job.”

That’s not your role. Your role is to help that individual realize their potential, offer them perspective for assignments that they might have considered, talk about where their strengths are and maybe work a little bit more on their weaknesses. It’s not about finding this person their next job.

SCHMALZ: As with so much in life, what you get out of mentorship mirrors exactly what you put into it. Brink remembers one protégé who asked to meet monthly. Each time, one week before their meeting, he emailed her an agenda. Not only did that impress the heck out of her, it also demonstrated that he was committed to making the relationship as productive as possible.

Protégés also have to be ready to discuss what they want out of their own careers. A mentor can do many things, but they can’t tell you how to live your life.

BRINK: The first thing I start with is a discussion around, do they know what they want? Do they know what’s important to them?

I talk about the fact that they really drive their career. That they’re going to have a lot of people providing their point of view on what you should be doing with your career, and it’s not their decision. It’s your decision.

One of the things that I will do throughout my mentoring relationships is to encourage the individual to think about where they see themselves four or five jobs from now.

I think it forces the person to think more broadly about their development plan and the types of challenges and potential assignments that they should consider so that they can get there.

SCHMALZ: If both mentor and protégé work at the relationship, it can truly change the trajectory of the protégé’s career.

But Brink is also quick to point out that the benefits of mentoring go both ways. And the rewards for mentors go beyond just feeling good about helping someone else. For instance, mentoring can be a great way to learn about new developments—in your organization and in your industry.

BRINK: You get insight in terms of how the power structure is perceived and the political environment. You get a sense of how the culture is working in the organization. If you’re in a senior position, you don’t necessarily get to see front and center all of those different dimensions of what’s happening at whatever level, whether you’re mentoring a professional, whether you’re mentoring a new manager, or whether you’re mentoring another executive.

I think the other insight is how well is the company communicating the strategy to the employees. I think it’s pretty clear from my seat, but when you’re having a conversation, a business conversation, and you begin to appreciate the fact that, wow, that individual missed this aspect of the strategy—that’s an important learning because it helps me to be better at what we need to do to improve to make sure that we’ve got the engagement in place.

SCHMALZ: In addition to having eyes and ears on the ground in a different level of the company, mentors can benefit from protégés in more practical ways.

BRINK: I was recently paired with what I would characterize as a digital native, who’s just incredible on the social and digital aspects of marketing and the techniques and the tools and just really leading edge. She was working with startup companies out in Silicon Valley. She was dealing with a high-growth, unstructured environment. I was paired with her to help her not go crazy, to kind of say, “There’s a way that you can work through this where you’ll be successful and you’ll thrive in this kind of environment, but let’s talk through how you get there from point A to point B. Never a straight line, but point A to point B.”

What she brought to me was an ability to stay current, more current in the digital universe, because there was no way in my role that I could continue to stay apprised of all of the new tools and techniques and the applications and this and that. Just by talking with her, it allowed me to stay current in an area that was interesting to me and essential to my role.

SCHMALZ: Of course, the satisfaction of helping a young colleague learn and grow is pretty awesome all on its own.

BRINK: The best mentor is the one that really works to understand who you are and is not there to judge you, but is there to just help you realize your full potential.

It’s about giving back. It’s not just about taking. The more that you can understand that and incorporate that into who you are, I think the happier and richer your life is going to be.

SCHMALZ: It’s hard to beat personalized career advice from a long-standing, trusted mentor. But mentors can be hard to come by in some companies or professions. If that’s the position you’re in, here’s some valuable career advice that should apply to just about everyone.

Carter Cast is clinical professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at Kellogg. He’s also the former CEO of Walmart.com and the author of The Right (and Wrong) Stuff: How Brilliant Careers are Made—and Unmade, a new book that asks why some talented people flourish while others see their careers stall.

He says that people who excel share three behavioral traits.

Carter CAST: One, they take the initiative. They dive right in. They take accountability for joint outcomes. So if they’re part of a team and there’s a job to be done and things are falling through the cracks because people say, well, that isn’t my area of accountability, and someone else says, well, that’s not my area of accountability—they dive in and do it.

Secondly, they’re good at building relationships. They listen well. They’re open-minded. You know, Saint Francis of Assisi—“They seek to understand before being understood.” And as a result, they engender trust with other coworkers, and so they’re able to enlist them to their cause because they’re a good teammate.

And third, they drive for results. If they say they’re going to get it done Friday, they stay ‘til midnight if they have to to get it out the door on Friday.

“Mentoring is not about finding you your next job.”

— Diane Brink

SCHMALZ: Got that? Take initiative, build relationships, and drive for results, and you are on your way to success.

But what does success look like in practice? Specifically, what should it look like in your job? And no matter how much initiative you take, or how strong your drive for results, do you have the underlying skills—technical or interpersonal—to actually pull it off?

The best way to find out, says Cast, is to actually … ask.

CAST: It’s incumbent on us to ask our boss, “What are the key competencies in this position that really are important that I need to develop?”

SCHMALZ: And if your boss doesn’t seem open to this type of conversation….

CAST: I’ve always gone to peers or people that were a level above me who’ve been there before. Because they can really help you develop that roadmap of success. And generally, they’re flattered when a younger underling says, “I really admire your career, your career trajectory. Can I buy you lunch and can you talk to me about what you’ve learned and what’s important for me to build from a skillset standpoint?” I’ve never had anybody say no when I’ve done that.

People will talk all day about that stuff; they love talking about themselves.

SCHMALZ: Once you have your answer, or better yet, many answers, it’s time to get methodical.

Cast recommends compiling a list—an actual, written list of the skills that you need to have to do your job well—and then grading yourself on each and every one.

CAST: I was in brand marketing and I had a list of about, I think it was 14 activities or skills that I needed to be able to do. For example, I needed to be able to do regression analysis. I needed to be able to do a break-even analysis. Then there was a whole category of strategic marketing, segmenting markets, figuring out how to position products competitively by looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the competition…. You get the point.

So there were 14 of them. And then I put, here’s where I am now—a C here, a D here, a B+ here. And then I looked at the areas where I had big gaps, and I just slowly but surely went about trying to narrow that gap between what I knew and what I needed to know.

SCHMALZ: If you need help grading yourself on some of these skills, particularly softer skills that are harder to self-evaluate, why not turn to others? Ask them directly: Do I have the attitude or working style to truly succeed at this company?

When Cast was a senior product marketer at FritoLay, he had a conversation with his boss that dramatically changed his trajectory. Cast had thought he was on the fast track at the company. But in reality, he learned, he’d gotten a reputation as uncooperative. Unmanageable. In other words, unpromotable. He also realized that the only way to change his reputation was to take that feedback—those grades—and put them to use.

CAST: It was up to me to say, OK, I tend to have a problem when the heavy hand of authority pushes on me. How am I going to get better at dealing with authority figures?

SCHMALZ: If that sounds like a painful process, it was for Cast. No one likes to find out that they need a major course correction. But as Cast points out, pain is often the impetus for change. And being able to change … well, that can make a huge difference—both in the way you approach learning and in people’s perceptions about your willingness to take criticism.

CAST: Learning how to be learning-agile is the most important thing you can do for your career.

So what does that mean? It means being open-minded and listening and not talking all the time. Innovators have a six-to-one ratio of questions asked to statements made.

And they’re critical of their own performance and reflective about it. How could I have done that better? What could I have done differently? And they ask people for feedback.

So, having this humility about knowledge and never thinking that you’re on top of your game, always feeling a little bit paranoid that there’s a lot you don’t know and that you’re in a state of beta with yourself and your career. I’m 54, and I’m always in this state of testing and trying new things because I don’t know very much.

LOVE: This program was produced by Jessica Love, Fred Schmalz, Emily Stone, and Michael Spikes. It was written by Anne Ford.

Special thanks to our guests, Diane Brink and Carter Cast.

As a reminder, you can find us on iTunes, Google Play, or our website, where you can read more about how to find the best sources of career advice. Visit us at insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu. We’ll be back next month with another episode of the Kellogg Insight podcast.

How interVivos launched a mentorship program during a pandemic

interVivos has connected over 600 high-calibre mentors and ambitious protégés in the Edmonton area through our mentorship program. The program is offered twice per year and typically launches with an in-person event. When COVID-19 hit in March, we knew it was impossible to launch the summer 2020 program the traditional way. We also knew there was still an appetite among Edmontonians to work on their professional goals despite the pandemic.

interVivos wants to continue to inspire and engage Edmontonians during this disconnected time. That is why the Board came together and worked quickly to modify the program. We reduced the number of participants and decided to deliver the launch over Zoom. 

The virtual launch event emulated the elements of an in-person interVivos mentorship launch experience. Mentors and protégés were prompted to get to know one another on a deeper level through group engagement activities, one-on-one rotations, and opportunities for post-event networking.  Over 100 breakout rooms were created during the event to allow mentors and protégés to meet one-on-one and determine who they want to be matched with during the program. There was even a 50/50 raffle and group trivia challenge.

Emcee Jeff Samsonow says, “the interVivos board really put something great together.” Former interVivos protégé, Soni Dasmohapatra, returned as a mentor in the summer 2020 program and was also joined by 2 repeat protégés.  

In the background, interVivos volunteers pulled out all the stops to make the event a success. This included providing support to anyone who ran into technical difficulties. Mentor Terry Tobin says, “if there were any minor apprehensions, they were blown away. We were so well supported.”  Even Peg, the interVivos mascot, supported the launch by moderating the chat box. 

A virtual mentorship launch was a first for interVivos and it was a huge success. The next mentorship program, launching in November 2020, will feature exclusively Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) mentors. interVivos invites protégés from all backgrounds to register. Follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter) or join our mailing list so you don’t miss out on your chance to register. If you are interested in being a mentor with interVivos for this program, please email us.

Success Story: Our Partnership with Edmonton Heritage Council

Last year, our friends at the Edmonton Heritage Council (EHC) reached out for our support to pilot a mentorship program for heritage-sector professionals. interVivos immediately saw the value of sharing resources and expertise with EHC and partnered with them to support their goal of elevating diverse voices.

EHC is a local non-profit organization that connects Edmontonians to the stories of their city through leadership, support, and programs. In an effort to build professional capacity for Heritage professionals and to aid with succession and sustainability planning in the sector, interVivos mentored EHC in developing the structure for the program and hosting the mentor and protégé matching event.

Overall, the pilot mentorship program was a success and serves as a great example of how organizations can maximize their resources and experience through sharing.

You can read more about our collaboration with EHC here.

If you are interested in mentorship opportunities in Edmonton, our Summer 2020 mentorship program launches on July 14, 2020. Check out our events page for more information on how to register.

 

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.

Why Vote?

This past fall, we partnered with Apathy is Boring to offer over 100 Edmontonians an exciting nonpartisan federal election viewing party and an evening of drag at Evolution Wonderlounge.

We thought it would be good to ask people at the party: “Why vote?”

Their responses were captured on Post-It Notes and here are some of them:

  • “For a better future for my kids!”
  • “For my future!”
  • “For my family.”
  • “For progress!”
  • “For those who can’t – to make a better future!”
  • “To change the world!”
  • “To effect change in my country!”
  • “To protect human rights!”
  • “To set a good example!”
  • “To feel heard!”
  • “To pursue equality for all!”
  • “Because we are so lucky to have the chance – many do not!”
  • “Because I can – women and minorities didn’t always have the opportunity!”
  • “Because I care about children, education, women, health and climate change!”
  • “Because rights come with responsibilities!”
  • “Because I can!”
  • “Because you and I can make a difference if we all vote!”
  • “Because why not?”
  • “I want to vote for those who can’t.”
  • “It is easy and a way to have your voice heard!”
  • “It is EASY!”
  • “It’s my right!”
  • “It’s my civic duty!”
  • “Democracy is important to me!”
  • “It’s my democratic right! I matter!”

A huge thank you to all attendees, performers, and volunteers for helping make this wonderful night a huge success!

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.

 

 

 

 

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.