Calgary: Talking Mentoring

May 18th, 2011

On May 5 and 6, ALLIES (Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies) held a mentoring conference in Calgary, Canada to celebrate the successes of current mentoring initiatives. Participants shared their experiences, explored new opportunities, and continued to build mentoring initiatives that impact the lives of skilled immigrants and local employers across the country.

Here is an excerpt from Maytree’s blog.

On day one of the ALLIES conference (May 5, 2011), participants spent the afternoon in roundtable discussions on particular issues related to mentoring programs for skilled immigrant professionals.

Here is a quick report of the ideas that emerged:

Intercultural Communication

  • Cross-cultural competencies are important for both groups, not just for mentees. Each side needs to develop those skills equally. Change needs to come from both sides
  • Need for a toolkit on how to prepare small and medium enterprises to deal with intercultural communication issues.

Job Readiness for Mentees

  • Communicate Canadian employers’ expectations on English language level pre-immigration.
  • Activities need to be developed to manage expectations of both mentees and mentors on what job readiness entails.

Building Partnerships

  • Beg, borrow and steal. Use what has worked in other programs and adapt it to your context.
  • Establish a common front for employers.
  • Allow for coordination among multiple funding bodies to avoid competition where there should be collaboration on the field.
  • Engage several stakeholders: small and medium enterprises, private and public sectors, industry sectors, targeting high-growth industries that are in high demand and recruiting. In these partnerships there must be a range of diversity, a level of expertise.
  • Each stakeholder’s expectations must be clear.
  • Constant follow-up is important for partnerships. This entails resources.

Mentoring for Regulated Professions

  • Embed mentoring into professional development plans for mentors who come from employer partners.
  • Offer e-mentoring pre-arrival from professionals within the regulated professions.
  • Work with regulatory bodies to embed mentoring as a qualifier for their members professional development and re-certification credits.


  • Marketing for Mentees: connect with mentees through ethnic organisations, faith organisations, public library talks, and before they get to Canada.
  • Marketing to employers: set up an advisory committee of initial employer champions who can recruit other employers to the program. “Speak to the choir first.”

The complete list of topics including pre-mentoring and post-mentoring activities to make mentoring more successful; professional development for mentors; and evaluation are available on the Maytree blog.

Also check out the curated tweets for Day One and Day Two from the conference!

A full report about what was learned at the conference will be released by the beginning of June and will be available on the ALLIES website.

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