Immigrant and refugee women in Canada can benefit from mentorship: Four mentoring success strategies

Published January 10, 2023.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes 

In summary: 

  • Newcomer women face greater barriers to career advancement, income growth and employment than other groups in Canada. 
  • Mentorship can help counteract those barriers by providing counsel and connections to help immigrant and refugee women reach their Canadian career goals. 
  • It’s important to find a mentor who can recognize your value and help you expand your network and build your knowledge of the sector in which you aspire to work in Canada. 

  • Ensure you mutually agree on expectations and goals for the mentoring relationship. 

Immigrant and refugee women in Canada, especially racialized women, earn less and face greater barriers to employment than other newcomers or Canadian-born individuals in this country. 

There are a number of systemic and historic reasons for such inequities but this offers little solace to new Canadian women looking to establish their lives and careers and rise to their fullest potential in Canada. 

However, research has shown that newcomer women can overcome some of these challenges through access to mentorship programs and support. 

Windmill Microlending partner Deloitte Canada also believes in the power of mentorship. It is a supporter of Windmill’s newcomer Mentorship Program, collaborating to expand the program across Canada, contributing 30 employee mentors and partnering with Windmill to grow a Deloitte Fund of $15,000 for affordable loans to benefit skilled immigrants and refugees. 

Want to understand the in-demand job opportunities in different parts of Canada? Download Windmill Microlending’s Trending Jobs Report, today. Learn more. 

As well, Deloitte has previously partnered with the Ottawa Community Immigration Services Organization (OCISO) and facilitated speed mentoring and networking sessions for newcomer women, supporting a total of 10 women across different industries in enhancing interview, communication and networking skills. Participants have had the opportunity to meet with Deloitte practitioners to strengthen their knowledge of personal branding. 

Recognizing the benefits of mentorship for immigrant and refugee women, Deloitte consultants Wiam Ben Karroum and Livia Cooper, themselves newcomer mentors, share four mentoring success strategies to empower newcomer women to reach their career goals in Canada. 






Wiam Ben Karroum and Livia Cooper of Deloitte Canada support immigrant and refugee career success by volunteering as mentors. They offer four mentorship success strategies to help newcomer women reach their fullest potential in their new country. 


Mentorship success strategies for immigrant and refugee women

Success Strategy No. 1: Find a mentor! Whether you sign up for Windmill’s Mentorship Program or another free offering or program, across Canada, you can be matched with an established mentor who can help change the course of your career. Some programs even offer women-only mentorship matches. Consider whether having a woman mentor matters to you. Mentors can help you tailor your resume to a specific industry and share insights on navigating the Canadian workplace culture. They can also help you understand what the job landscape or compensation range might look like for a particular sector, organization or position. 

Success Strategy No. 2: Co-create a mentoring relationship that is welcoming and focused on results. Mentoring relationships involve creating a safe and supportive environment between a mentor and a mentee. This can be especially important for newcomer women, who may be more vulnerable, either financially or for other reasons. Set aside time to reflect on your mentorship relationship and be intentional about building trust, together. It’s also important to be intentional about your career goals and communicating those goals to your mentor. 


HubSpot Video

LISTEN: Deloitte Canada’s Wiam Ben Karroum and Livia Cooper share more mentoring success tips to help newcomer women rise to their fullest career potential in Canada.  


Success Strategy No. 3: Leverage your mentor to expand your network. A strong mentor can help you grow your professional network in Canada. They can point you to in-person or virtual events crucial to building your network and help make business connections and find jobs. They may advise you to use Eventbrite or LinkedIn to search for networking events in your local community. Immigrant or ethnoprofessional associations can be very helpful for finding such events and growing your professional network. Mentors can also help newcomer women by highlighting examples of other immigrant and refugee women's success stories which can serve as inspiration on your Canadian career journey. 

Success Strategy No. 4: Not every mentor is right for every mentee and vice versa. Be prepared to pivot, change and adapt. It is critical to identify what you're looking for in a mentor and mutually define what is expected from both of you for an effective and successful relationship to take place. You may need to meet with several mentors before you decide which is the best fit for you. Is your mentor an immigrant or refugee woman who has established herself in the field you aspire to succeed? Think carefully about the profile of the individual who you’d like to serve as your mentor. Then, using LinkedIn or your existing community network, go and find that person!  

Finally, as you progress in your Canadian career, you may decide you need new mentors and new perspectives on your own career advancement. Don’t be afraid to expand your mentorship network. The more information and advice you get, the better prepared you’ll be to succeed in Canada. 

Did you know Windmill Microlending can help you pay for the costs of your professional development courses, qualifying exams, designation or certification in Canada? Our affordable loans, of up to $15,000, can be used to cover fees and tuition for education and training on your path to career success. Find out more about how our microloans can be used on Windmill’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

Categorized in: Career Success and Planning, Mentorship, A Newcomer's Journey, Settlement and Life in Canada,