The recent focus on mentorship in career development raises the
question, "How does the process work and how can it help
professionals advance? " Mentors are important agents in
facilitating career mobility and professional fulfilment. They can
provide a unique perspective and advice, access to meaningful
contacts and support that can make the difference between a
promising business candidate and a successful one. Those fortunate
enough to have benefitted from good mentors know this instinctively
to be true.
Mentorship can make an impact, and thus positively influence
career advancement by:
Fostering skills development,
Offering exposure and visibility,
Promoting protégés within a company and/or
Acting as a role model and/or friend, and
Increasing the protégé's confidence levels
and aspiration to higher levels of success.
Mentoring relationships also provide benefits to the mentor. The
mentor gains respect from colleagues and personal satisfaction for
successfully developing the mentee, creating a win-win
Mentorship plays a particularly important role in advancement of
women professionals. Women may have concerns related to family and
career interruptions and may hold back from pursuing opportunities
because of a perceived incompatibility. Women may resist
self-promotion, and attribute accomplishments to a team effort and
therefore may be overlooked. They may be reluctant to ask for
assistance and/or how to go about asking for assistance and thus
may not develop the skills and tools necessary for advancement.
Mentoring may be even more relevant for women pursuing careers
in non-traditional industries such as the life science industry,
where women role models are generally fewer, particularly at senior
There are many forms that a mentoring relationship can take
– formal or informal, structured or unstructured -and
different mentors can provide varying types of support. Assessing
what skills you are seeking in a mentor is an important first step.
Finding suitable mentors is the second step. Although your
immediate colleagues and contacts are typically fertile ground for
identifying mentors, you may need to look beyond your immediate
colleagues and contacts particularly if you are a young
professional or considering a career change.
The Greater Montreal Chapter of Women in Bio (Greater Montreal
WIB) recognizes the value of mentoring, and as part of its core
mission, has designed a mentorship programme under the skilful
guidance of chair, Andrea Gilpin and her committee. We are
responding to a need expressed by our members and participants in
Women In Bio programmes. Many young graduates who are seeking their
first position are looking for guidance and may be unaware of the
range of opportunities available in the life science industry.
Other women are in transition following restructuring or feel that
they have accomplished their professional goals in a particular
area and wish to take a different direction by accepting a new
In this rapidly changing world it is important to be self-aware
and plan for your career. Whereas plans can change and flexibility
is a key advantage in the current job market, knowing your
strengths and areas where you need improvement and the general
direction you would like to take are key elements to success.
The objective of Women In Bio's mentorship programme is to
help participants identify a few short-term goals that they can
make happen within 12-18 months, and match each of them with a
seasoned executive or academic that can help coach them to better
achieve those goals. Goals are personalized to the individual's
career aspirations, industry and current work and life
Protégés must be members of WIB Greater Montreal
Chapter. Our mentors are senior leaders with more than 10
years' experience in a senior role. Mentors are selected for
their entrepreneurship, leadership, innovation and interest in peer
coaching. They have a strong desire to share real-world practical
advice with protégés on their career development
Mentors and protégés commit to a minimum of five
one-hour meetings over a six-month period, preferably
face–to-face. The protégés are encouraged to
solicit feedback from the mentors throughout the process.
Successful relationships can be built and may be maintained
indefinitely in a mutually rewarding and satisfying experience.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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