July marked the end of another year for our SOUL Mentorship program. This year was a huge success for SOUL with 30 mentor/mentee matches. We had mentors from a wide variety of industries and professions, ranging from tourism to finance and entrepreneurs to actors. The portfolio of mentees was equally as diverse, with women representing communications, arts and even sciences! As one of the mentees cleverly put it, “even though it’s Young Women in Business, I guess for us it’s Young Women in Biology!”
Last month, we celebrated the end of a successful year at the SOUL Wrap-Up Party. Mentees and mentors shared stories of their experiences; what they learned, what they accomplished, and where they planned to take their relationships now. Some women told of how their mentor pushed them out of their comfort zone, whether it was to apply for a co-op position or plan for an international exchange. Others explained how their mentors encouraged them to slow down, take a breath, and enjoy their now. Many of the mentors also expressed their gratitude for the program; several spoke of how their mentees inspired, surprised, and humbled them.
One mentee/mentor pair expressed how much they enjoyed trying new restaurants together, while another told of how much they appreciated their monthly phone-dates. Many of the mentors were able to provide their mentees with fantastic opportunities, such as office visits and informational interviews. Others helped with interview prep and cover letters, while some simply offered an open mind over a cup of coffee. There were few similarities in how meetings were conducted, how goals were set, or what was accomplished. There was, however, one thing that everyone seemed to agree upon, and that was how grateful they were for their mentors guidance and support. As university students, there are so many doors open to us at one time and it can be difficult (and intimidating!) to pick one. Having the support and advice of someone who has been there and made these tough choices is invaluable. Below is a note from one of this year's mentees, Steph Sia, regarding her experiences in the program:
After being involved in Project GIVE, I knew I wanted to become involved in another YWiB program before I graduated. It was my last semester at SFU and the opportunity with SOUL arose. Since it was my last semester, I couldn't have asked for better timing. As an entrepreneur, I was looking for somebody just like me but to my surprise, I was matched with someone completely different from me. But little did I know, my match was actually what I was looking for. We actually had similar backgrounds and we went through the exact same struggle as graduation soon approached: wish we had studied something else during our undergrad, lack of jobs in the market, and doing something completely unrelated on the side compared to what we actually went to school for. My mentor helped coach me throughout this rocky transition and urged me to stop, take a break from what I was doing, and to travel. Best advice ever. Through SOUL I found someone to coach me for what I think was the toughest part of my life this far and more importantly, a friend. Thank you YWiB!Steph
We are so proud of everything the mentors and mentees accomplished this year, and we are humbled by SOUL’s rapid growth and success. Planning for our 2012/2013 program is already well under way! If you are interested in joining the program, either as a mentee or mentor, or simply curious, please contact our VPs of Mentor Relations, Kathy and Tia, at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.