Mentor Highlight: Celia Oliveiria
By Gayatri Gadre, Volunteer, Mentoring for Change Program
The Mentoring for Change program at Skills for Change has 25 years positive track record of connecting skilled internationally educated professionals with industry-specific mentors. In our mentor high series, we want to feature Celia Oliveira, a former mentee at Skills for Change who is now giving back to the community as a mentor for Canadian newcomers. Celia is a national general manager at Modern Niagara. Read below Celia’s journey from mentee to mentor.
Could you please share what inspired you to become a mentor?
When I first arrived in Canada, I came with my resume ready and I had researched several places where I could send it to. After a week or so I realized that the country’s job market is very different from Brazil’s. When I finally got into the Skills for Change mentoring program, I was set in the right direction: I leanred how to properly make resumes and attend interviews; what you can and can’t say; what is allowed or not allowed to be asked. It was all so helpful that now I want to be able to share this with other newcomers. I think I can relate and hopefully inspire them to stay focused and not give up, as hard as the beginning might sound.
How has your journey been from being a mentee to becoming a mentor?
After getting used to the whole job search process, I was unfortunately hired by a company that was not very promising. Maybe “unfortunately” is not the right word, as it gave me a kick start to many things I had to learn. That lasted about 8 months. I also learned that you need to value yourself, and that was a mentor learning moment. I left that company and was hired by the organization I currently work for. This happened in 2012 and I am still going strong.
How did being mentored impact you?
a) As a professional and as an individual – I think the previous answers respond to this question, but my emphasis is on the value you need to give yourself as a professional and as an immigrant and – in my case – as a woman. Although your background is different, the main focus of any professional is to do your best in the career you chose and never stop.
b) Mentoring impacted the community around me (family, friends, colleagues and workplace) – I knew when I first arrived here that any decision I made would impact directly on my family. If you are not well grounded, how can you even think of supporting your children? In my case, it was a daughter in Grade 9. I knew that fitting into a new life would mean I had to be clearly satisfied to be able to transfer that confidence to her. After the few meetings I had with my mentor, I can honestly say that my confidence was hyped 100%.
Could you please share with us your experience on why mentoring matters to you?
Mentoring matters because the mentor has the chance to influence the mentee positively. Nowadays there is so much going on in our lives that a lot of people tend to get lost on their own paths. A mentor – whether to a young worker, to an immigrant or to anybody else – should be a confident person who is able to transfer this confidence to somebody who needs it.
If somebody wants to become a mentor, what will you tell them?
I am still to actually experience the mentorship role, but I’d say: “If you think that you have something good to give to somebody else, go for it. The world cannot get enough of good being shared.”
About the Mentoring for Change program
The Mentoring for Change program provides opportunities for internationally-educated professionals to make supportive connections with established professionals who are passionate about helping newcomers settle and advance their career in Canada.
For over 25 years, volunteer mentors have been instrumental in helping job seekers expand their professional network, strengthen communication skills, build tools for effective job search and identify settlement resources in the community.
Those who are optimistic and excited about sharing their professional expertise with newcomers will find a mentoring experience fulfilling. Years of evidence has revealed that mentoring works! Our mentoring program has evolved to cover wider areas such as mentoring for professional newcomers, entrepreneurs, youth, women, and health informatics.
The mentoring time commitment is usually one/half hour per week for up to four months. Meetings can occur face-to face or by using relevant tech tools.
To register as a mentor, please contact us – mentoring@skillsforchange.
Learn more about Skills for Chagne’s Mentoring program at wwww.skillsforchange.org/mentoring