The IAP2 Canada Mentorship Program

Are you a relative newcomer to the P2 profession and would like to benefit from the wisdom of a more experienced practitioner? Are you looking for a way to share your lessons-learned with others? Applications are now being taken for the next cycle in the IAP2 Canada Mentorship Program, which starts in February. The deadline is Friday, January 15, 2016. Learn more here.

With that in mind, J. Dyck looks back on some Unexpected Opportunities she found in the IAP2 Canada Mentorship Program.

INBOXThe notice came to my inbox on December 13, 2013, and I had no idea how it would be so instrumental in bringing me to where I am today.

I had joined IAP2 Canada a few months prior and was receiving their monthly newsletters. The December newsletter had a notice for the Mentorship Program. I had never been part of a formal mentorship program before and thought it would be interesting. Being a grad student, I prepared myself to learn that the program was open only to working professionals, but, happily, my application was accepted. I was paired with Karla Reesor, and since she lived in Alberta and I lived in Ontario we held our meetings via Skype and telephone calls. In our Mentorship Terms of Reference our plan included this line:

“A face-to-face meeting at the Winnipeg conference would be great, or at some other time if the opportunity arises.”

Little did we know the opportunities ahead…

Karla and I had an interesting, productive, and fun mentoring relationship. She supported me by sharing her experiences and helping me through challenging situations. We talked through my academic projects, her work projects, my job search, my job resignation, more of my projects, more of her work.

After six months of regular calls we still hadn’t met face-to-face. Around that time Karla was involved with a conference that was looking for volunteers; she suggested that I come, so I did. She was generous with introductions and I was given the opportunity to do some facilitation work. The Mentorship Program was scheduled to wrap-up after eight months but we agreed to continue for a bit longer. Karla needed some writing work done and offered it to me, and I gratefully accepted.

Then there was another conference that she asked if I would be interested in helping with, and I did. Our chats continued until I secured a work contract and we agreed that the formal mentorship would end. We kept in touch and when my contract was about half over Karla sent me a message and mentioned that she was possibly looking for someone to do a few projects with Moving Forward, and would I be interested?

            Just knock …

Our possible face-to-face meeting has become nearly daily face-to-face interactions as I am currently working with Moving Forward Ltd. The opportunities that Karla has offered me to learn from her and alongside her is the sort of thing that you hear about and wonder “how do those things even happen?”.

Now I know that ‘these things’ happen because taking opportunities and building relationships morphs into new unexpected opportunities.

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