meet the men­tors

29 Trail­blaz­ers who in­spire, help and en­cour­age oth­ers to ex­cel

BC Business Magazine - - Front Page - by MAR­CIE GOOD, MATT O'GRADY + NICK ROCKEL por­traits by JOHN LEHMANN on lo­ca­tion at THE VAN­COU­VER CLUB

WHAT IS MEN­TOR­SHIP? Ask a group of women that ques­tion, and you'll prob­a­bly get more an­swers than there are peo­ple in the room. That was our ex­pe­ri­ence at the Van­cou­ver Club in Novem­ber, when for the third year we turned to a panel of ex­perts to help us iden­tify B.C.'S most in­flu­en­tial women. The fo­cus this time around: leaders who are out­stand­ing men­tors.

The panel of­fered plenty of sug­ges­tions, leav­ing us to nar­row the field down to 29 women from busi­ness and other walks of life. Our list could have been much longer: those fea­tured here rep­re­sent ex­cel­lence, but they have a host of equally de­serv­ing peers.

As we've learned, men­tor­ship has many di­men­sions and shades of mean­ing. Is a men­tor a sound­ing board? A role model? Should men­tor­ship be for­mal or in­for­mal? Should it have a di­rect out­come? For pan­el­list Nanon de Gaspé Beaubien-mat­trick, the ul­ti­mate goal is sponsorship—cham­pi­oning some­one for a po­si­tion. “Be­cause men­tor­ing is quiet, it can be unseen, un­heard, and I don't know if I'm hav­ing an im­pact,” she said. “If I'm a spon­sor, I know I'm hav­ing an im­pact be­cause ei­ther the per­son makes it to the C-suite or the board or they don't.”

The mentees we in­ter­viewed (see page 33) have found en­cour­age­ment and sup­port for their per­sonal lives as valu­able as help with that pro­mo­tion. For men­tors, the re­wards can also be gen­er­ous. “Men­tor­ship is more lis­ten­ing and coach­ing,” said pan­el­list Ta­mara Vrooman, pres­i­dent and CEO of Van­cou­ver City Sav­ings Credit Union. “Through that lis­ten­ing, the men­tor—at least in my case—learns as much as, if not more than, the mentee.”

Talk­ing to men­tors and mentees also showed us how many B.C. or­ga­ni­za­tions make it their goal to help women suc­ceed. With back­ing from our men­tors, these groups and agencies seek to level the play­ing field in what is still a man's world.

What­ever men­tor­ship means to you, we hope you find the women (and a few good men) rec­og­nized here as in­spir­ing as we do.

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