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Bridging the Mentorship Gap


Mariella Irivarren On May 24, 2017

This past week I read an article about how millennials are unable to afford homes because they pay too much for avocado toast. Chuckles aside, this article created a large debate on how millennials are perceived by other generations, and how challenging it is for millennials to get ahead in today’s job market and economy.


Now, I can’t promise this post will solve all our generational issues, but hopefully it will enlighten readers to view this gap as an opportunity. Truth is, we have an extremely talented pool of young individuals entering the workforce, most of which have no clue how to deal with “adulting” as some call it. Many skills and behaviours required in a professional environment are not taught, and young talent is often left to fend for themselves. In comes mentorship!


In my own words, mentorship is defined as the relationship and guidance provided between a more experienced or knowledgeable person and someone who wants to learn more about a particular area of expertise.


Only a few years ago when my career was taking flight, I was lucky that the MPI Toronto Chapter paired me up with a mentor as part of a chapter-wide mentorship program; but I also searched for mentors on my own, and some even became “accidental” mentors. They all provided me with valuable knowledge on how to advance personally and professionally, how to build my professional network, and how to market myself as a valuable asset in the industry – The #1 thing that really contributed to my career success was my desire to learn.


The chance to connect with and learn from those more experienced and knowledgeable than you is a gold mine. These days, we either don’t provide enough mentorship platforms and learning opportunities for future leaders; or “up & comers” are completely missing the point and letting these pass by.
We need to seek and create opportunities for ourselves; at the same time, we need others to give us a chance! I learned so much from my industry mentors, and in turn, when I get contacted by someone who is seeking those same opportunities, no matter how busy my schedule is, I will ALWAYS take the time to have a phone call or a coffee with someone who wants to learn. I guess it is my way of saying “thanks” to those who did the same for me.


Mentorship can be extremely rewarding for both parties involved. It can provide a platform to help “bridge the gap” between senior leaders and the younger workforce, and taking advantage of such opportunities can increase the chances at success in this competitive job market. Age is irrelevant though, since young leaders might have knowledge in other areas where “older” folks can learn from too.


So go on, find a mentor/mentee and have that darn avocado toast! Who knows? Maybe they share great advice on how to own a home… or not; but you will most definitely leave having learned something new. 
 

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