Sasha’s story: Empowering newcomers through mentorship

Published January 3, 2022.

Windmill mentor, Sasha, discusses how she gives back through mentorship and the importance of sharing personal and professional experience with new Canadians

As a consultant with Deloitte’s Financial Services team, part of Sasha’s role involves using data analytics to help clients, processes and organizations transform.  

In many ways, the transformations Sasha helps support on behalf of her Deloitte clients are not unlike the changes mentees experience through the Windmill Mentorship Program or other mentoring relationships. Mentors use a combination of experiences and information to help their mentees grow and change, professionally and personally. In some ways, mentorship can be like data analytics for a newcomer’s career, leveraging what a mentor has to offer and empowering the mentee toward career success. 

That’s been Sasha’s experience since she began volunteering with Windmill as a mentor two years ago. She says working with a mentee is unlike other volunteer opportunities, offering a level of satisfaction and pride that makes it especially rewarding.  

“I had a unique opportunity to empower my mentees both personally and professionally,” says Sasha. “I tried to offer them tools and knowledge to enable them to succeed in their chosen field. It was a great feeling giving back to new Canadians and helping them through the same problems that I faced.” 

Through the mentor’s lens: Advice for a successful mentoring experience 

Sasha believes great mentors can work with their mentees to define goals and objectives of the mentor-mentee relationship and manage expectations about how realistic and achievable those goals could be. 

Setting the right expectations from the get-go is a key ingredient in having a beneficial mentoring relationship. For both the mentor and mentee, it’s important to articulate what success looks like to you and what your goals are,” she says. 

The University of Toronto Economics grad encourages mentees looking for mentors to be fearless and connect with individuals they believe they can learn from. “Don’t be shy,” she says. “Reach out to mentors directly, or mentoring programs that match mentors and mentees.” Often, these mentoring programs are free of charge and offered in cities across Canada. For mentors, Sasha advises they take on mentorship experiences to grow their leadership skills and make an impact.    

Through Windmill, Sasha has focused on mentoring newcomers and she’s witnessed firsthand the empowerment they experience as a result and how mentorship can help new Canadians adjust to the challenges of an unfamiliar job landscape.  

“Mentoring immigrants and refugees provide a mentor with a unique opportunity to help someone develop professionally and change their life forever. It’s especially hard for newcomers to adapt to the Canadian way of working. A mentor is someone who can give them insights based on their personal experiences and help them get the edge they need to succeed in a competitive job market,” adds Sasha. 

She says mentoring relationships, especially those in the workplace, be they are formal or not, are critical to advancing one’s career. “Building these relationships is vital to navigating your career, at any level, and allows you to learn from individuals who have been through it all.” 

Looking for more career success strategies? Download Windmill’s Skilled Immigrant Career Success Guide for interview and networking tips, mentoring and financial planning advice. 

Categorized in: Mentorship, Settlement and Life in Canada,