Mentorship Matters

In the spirit of International Mentoring Day, ECO Canada recognizes the immense value of mentorship and its transformational power to shape and influence the careers of those within the environmental sector.

According to Oxford Learners Dictionary, the definition of “Mentor” is an experienced person who advises and helps somebody with less experience over a period of time.

A mentor’s guidance has the power to instill confidence and develop the potential of the protégé so that he or she can further develop their skills and contribute to their profession in a meaningful way. Cultivating a productive mentor/mentee relationship ensures that a new generation of protégé can build upon that knowledge and society/industry as a whole can benefit.

January is Mentoring Month and January 17th is International Mentoring Day – a day of international conversation on social media where powerful mentoring stories are shared.

On International Mentoring Day, we recognize the impact mentoring has in shaping and influencing the protégé to develop new skills, deepen their knowledge, elevate performance and support professional development.

Mentorship is essential in bridging the gap between the post-secondary level where students often graduate with technical knowledge, but without the required industry knowledge or soft skills that a mentor can help them develop.

We’re proud to offer the EP Mentorship Program. An exclusive program for certified Environmental Professionals (EP). The program offers an excellent opportunity for experienced environmental professionals to develop their leadership skills while providing much-needed guidance to our up-and-coming Environmental Professional in-training members (EPt).

To further our belief in mentorship, in 2018 ECO Canada partnered with the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences (ALES) to launch a new Mentorship Pilot Program.

Students are given the option of being paired in a traditional mentor-protégé partnership or a triad mentorship between an EPt, the student and the industry professional (where the EPt and industry professional are mentors).

The motive behind the Pilot Mentorship Program is to create a comfortable learning environment, challenge the protégé to explore career paths, be accessible to provide guidance throughout the established mentorship time frame, to set clear boundaries, and to maintain confidentiality.

Mentorship Programs provide a forum for experienced environmental professionals, less experienced professionals, and protégés to discuss professional growth and further development of soft skills, project planning and execution, and working in the environmental sector. Mentoring is a personal and rewarding way to give back to the environmental profession.

Read more: Why Mentorship Matters

In a mentorship relationship, a mentee/protégé may receive the following benefits:

  • Expanded view of the environmental sector
  • Honest and informal feedback
  • Guidance on how to build a greater network
  • Advice on balancing professional responsibilities and set priorities
  • Knowledge of informal rules for employment and advancement (as well as political and substantive pitfalls to be avoided)

The mentor may receive the following benefits:

  • Provide future EP with support and insight that can broaden their mindsets
  • Give back and invest in the future of the profession
  • Enhance your personal growth and professional development from mentoring
  • Professional Development (PD) credit, if the mentor is an EP/EPt with ECO Canada

In celebration of #MentoringMonth we urge environmental professionals to become mentors to students and young graduates in need of career guidance and support. Your leadership can help them go on to lead successful career, give back to their field, and build a strong legacy in the environmental sector.

By Noor Gias


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