Brian Curry was an interVivos protége in the Summer 2020 mentorship program. Brian was matched with mentor Amarjeet Sohi. Brian shared his mentorship journey for the readers of our blog.
A friendly reminder that interVivos is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that does not endorse municipal election candidates.
There is emerging evidence that access to mentors directly correlates with measures of success in an individual’s personal and professional life. While that research and academic discussion are necessary, take that all away and you are left with one powerful idea: sometimes it is nice to talk to someone that has been where you want to be. I found myself in that same situation in the summer of 2020 when I matched up with my interVivos mentor, Amarjeet Sohi.
I think most Edmontonians know Amarjeet’s story by now, so you could understand my excitement when he was announced as one of the mentors for the Summer 2020 program. He was the reason I signed up for the program. While all of the mentors were amazing, I felt Amarjeet had the specific skill set that I was looking for at the time. A few days after the Zoom launch, I found out I was matched up with Amarjeet!
Amarjeet has the qualities that make a perfect mentor: fantastic listening skills, genuine care and consideration for your feelings, and experience that he draws on when you ask for advice. Another awesome quality is his memory. Every time we spoke, he would always ask about my family and remembered everyone’s names and what was going on in our pandemic-affected lives. It showed a level of active listening and engagement that not many people have.
Amarjeet and I met every three weeks during the 6-month program via Zoom. As you could imagine, Amarjeet had many things going on: working, teaching at MacEwan, and mulling a bid for Mayor. So, you can appreciate the type of person he is that he set aside the time to meet with me regularly. We had relatively informal conversations. I would talk about what was going on in my life, including serving on the Edmonton Safety and Well-being Task Force. He offers advice in such a way that does not give answers but forces you to reflect and come up with your solutions to problems. And I can’t forget the pep talks! As a Black man, I was having a rough year with the death of George Floyd and the BLM protests. When I was feeling down, Amarjeet was there encouraging me to keep on fighting.
The mentorship program was a success for me. I met a long-term mentor and friend, someone I can genuinely rely on. Amarjeet recently asked me to speak to his MacEwan class, Compassionate, Collaborative & Inclusive Leadership: Anti-Racism Capacity-Building, about my experiences with racism.
The program was terrific. The best mentorship relationships are when both parties can get something from it. I hope I have added something of value to Amarjeet’s life as much as he has added a great deal to mine.
My advice to future protégés would be to do your research, have an idea of what you are looking for in a mentor, and be honest with each one during the launch. All the mentors in the program will be unique, and I trust you will be matched up with someone that will bring value to your life. And finally, never underestimate the power of mentors in your life. It can be a life-changing experience, just like it was for me.