I wish I weren’t here right now. I’m back, enduring the slightly-warmer March temperatures, having just returned from ten days enjoying the glorious, sunny beaches of Hawaii.
It wasn’t just a vacation. In fact, I was there to participate in a conference, and to deliver a presentation entitled: “Be a Coach; Find a Mentor; Become a Leader”. My talk was aimed at university administrators like myself, and it focused on the importance of finding a mentor, since doing so can help you grow professionally in remarkable ways.
Mentorship has returned to the forefront in recent leadership research, and the overall findings make it clear that mentoring is terrific for all involved. Mentees (those being mentored) are obvious beneficiaries of the practical wisdom and insights offered by their mentors. But mentors themselves gain much from the mentoring relationship.
Some mentors express that the most rewarding element is the opportunity to experience, at arm’s-length, the energy and enthusiasm of someone just starting out. Other mentors enjoy the process of nurturing young leaders along on their journey. And most mentors have revealed that they actually learn a fair bit from their mentees, since their mentees are often operating with unique challenges or environments new to their mentor.
So just as I’ve returned from my conference, with the benefits of mentoring on my mind, I’ve discovered that Mississauga’s I-CUBE Accelerator has launched its own mentoring initiative that aims to pair established entrepreneurs with a venture team that’s hoping to take a product to market. (If you’d be interested in mentoring an up-and-coming young team of entrepreneurs, there is a mentor application process online.)
Whether it’s through a structured formal system, or informally through acquaintances or chance meetings, being a mentor is a win-win for all involved. So, go forth, and mentor the next generation of budding entrepreneurs!
Devin Kreuger is Director of the Office of the Vice-Principal Research at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He can be contacted at [email protected] Visit www.utm.utoronto.ca/research