It’s More Than Making Connections; It’s Connecting the Dots
By Sharon Myatt
Mentoring Connection is making a difference—not only in the lives of job seekers with disabilities, but also with professionals from both Deloitte and Scotiabank.
The Ontario JOIN Mentoring Connection is a direct result of the dialogue on diversity round tables held by Deloitte across the country last year.
In July 2010, Deloitte developed a white paper titled The Road to Inclusion based on these round tables, which addressed issues facing Canadians with disabilities in the workplace. One of the recommendations in the paper was a mentorship program for people with disabilities, in which Canadian business professionals would act as mentors.
The partnership with Deloitte and Scotiabank officially launched in Feb. 2011, with the Hon. David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, delivering an audience address and congratulating all on this important program. Leaders from Deloitte and Scotiabank, as well as JOIN Business Leadership Network members, board representatives and JOIN staff, were in attendance. Tim McCallum, an opera singer who is paraplegic, ended the event—and left the audience inspired— with the song “Because We Believe.”
Mentors in the JOIN program are established professionals from recognized Canadian corporate entities with at least three years of work experience and a willingness to commit 12 hours over four months to the mentorship.
The program is not about guaranteeing a job, but about opening doors. Mentorship activities can include: reviewing resumé and cover letters; supporting an effective job search; determining a realistic employment goal; practising interview skills and providing feedback; guidance through licensing and accreditation processes; improving professional terminology; mastering self-marketing; confidence-building; selecting upgrading programs and resources; establishing professional networks; and participating in ongoing evaluation and feedback.
The pilot program includes the initial screening of mentees by Ontario JOIN’s 24 member agencies, orientation sessions at the JOIN offices for potential mentees, orientation sessions at Deloitte and Scotiabank for mentors and meet-and-greet sessions with matched mentors/mentees.
Ontario JOIN plans to expand the program to other organizations and sectors once the pilot program comes to an end in Oct. 2011. Deepak Soni, chair of Ontario JOIN’s board of directors, feels that this program will positively impact the statistics related to the employment of job seekers with disabilities—who have the highest unemployment rate of any demographic in North America.
If you would like to make a difference as a mentor, or participate as a mentee, contact Ontario JOIN at 416-241-5646.
Leaders from JOIN, Deloitte and Scotiabank work together to make the Mentoring Connection program a success.