Like most immigrants, I landed in a new country devoid of any contacts professionally and socially. Sure, you do have LinkedIn and other networking sites, but how many of you have the most powerful tool in your arsenal? I am talking about mentorship of course.
Now back ‘home’ I didn’t have any formal mentors but certainly had a few who guided me as a young, impetuous professional. And when I started my first entrepreneurial journey in Canada, I did a lot of reading and found that mentors can dictate the outcomes of a new business by being coaches, teachers and a sounding board.
So I went out and got twelve mentors. And honestly, I firmly believe any success I had was a result of these mentors who pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me strive higher.
Many immigrants I speak to talk about how difficult it is to find a mentor. I just can’t accept that. My very first mentor was featured in the newspaper, and I just called him and we had lunch and he agreed to be my mentor. It truly is a case of ‘finding a way’ to do what you need to.
Many professional associations offer this type of “buddy” program, where a seasoned member guides a junior one. A survey conducted amongst immigrants showed incredible results. Twelve months after the start of their mentoring relationship, unemployment dropped from 73% to 19%. In addition, 71% of mentees were employed in their field, compared to 27% pre-mentoring. Average full-time earnings increased by more than 60% from $36,905 to $59,944.
So, go out, find people in your profession, your community and read up about them before you approach them.