Women in Leadership Foundation is pleased to introduce you to Sonia Draper (Mentor) and Andreanna Mazereeuw (Mentee) who were paired in our Mentorship Program.
What motivated you to participate in the Women in Leadership Mentorship Program as a mentor and mentee? Sonia: As a mentor I have been motivated by others who have helped me along in my journey, both professionally and personally. WIL provides a platform to be able to work with others and share experiences that can help others have more options when they find themselves at a crossroads for decisions, behaviours, and an opportunity to ideate depending on the situation.
Andreanna: Growth! I was excited about the opportunity to work with someone who has navigated a path similar to mine and encountered the same challenges I’m working through. The fact that this was a mentorship opportunity for women was particularly exciting. While you can’t paint everyone with the same brush, I think it’s safe to say that female leaders face many of the same challenges.
What goals did you set at the beginning of your mentorship relationship, and how have you worked towards achieving them? Sonia: The goals set are dependent on different situations mentees face in their career. For this particular session each meeting was very specific in terms of Andreanna having a new role and learning how to elevate during this transition. What got you here, won’t get you there and we were able to discuss different methods of elevating her role at the same time bringing the team along with her.
Andreanna: I approached it with an open mind and a focus on personal growth. I took the time to be introspective and identify areas I wanted to work on with my mentor. I had specific challenges in mind that I wanted support with, so I asked a lot of situational questions to gain insights and guidance.
What have been some of the most valuable lessons or insights you have gained from your mentorship relationship? Sonia: Valuable lessons learned are learning to listen and provide options to assist versus telling someone what to do since every experience is different. I could share what worked and didn’t work with me in the past and to provide options to consider in solving similar challenges.
Insights into how different workplaces operate and how to manage hybrid structures within an organization. Considering hybrid is more common now compared to pre-Covid, insights into how other teams cope and manage and thrive is still an opportunity to learn from each other on what works and what may not.
Feedback loop on what seems to work from suggestions/options provided to provide insight on how my experiences and resources were able to provide clarity on what path to choose was helpful.
Andreanna: To be honest, the most valuable aspect for me was gaining an external perspective. My mentor had encountered many of the situations and challenges I brought to our meetings, and her firsthand experiences in handling them proved incredibly helpful. Having someone who had been there before provided valuable insights and guidance that I wouldn't have gained otherwise.
What advice would you give to those who are entering into a mentorship relationship for the first time? Sonia: Be flexible – some mentors may prefer to have a specific agenda upfront whereas a causal discussion on what is happening or where someone wants help or advice can be a conversation that sparks ideas on what resources may be helpful to help someone navigate their workspace.
Ask for feedback – was this conversation helpful? What can we do to make it more productive – this feedback can help make the most of the time together.
Having a set time that the meetings take place each month (or however often you want to meet?) helps clear the calendar for time spent.
Be open to learn from the mentee as well. Sharing some of their experiences as they live it is also fun to enjoy someone else’s experiences. It's funny how so many workplaces are the same and there is a shared sense of trials for all of us. It doesn’t matter how much time passes; all experiences are relevant.
Andreanna: Take the time to figure out what you want to get out of the relationship. Understand your goals and what areas you hope to work on with your mentor's guidance.
Stay open-minded and be willing to embrace new approaches and ideas. Your mentor can offer fresh perspectives that may challenge your current thinking.
Be honest and open. Talking about challenges or areas for improvement isn’t anyone’s favourite thing, but it’s critical to a successful mentee-mentor relationship.
About Sonia Draper:
Sonia Draper is an experienced leader in marketing strategy and advertising execution with a demonstrated history of success in the retail industry. She is highly skilled in media management, digital strategy, integrated marketing, creative, branding, advertising, and sales. Sonia has a Master of Business Administration from Ivey Business School at Western University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Ottawa.
About Andreanna Mazereeuw:
Andreanna Mazereeuw is an empathetic, analytical, and purpose-driven leader with a career spanning the travel, technology, and advertising industries. As Managing Director at Wallop, Andreanna leads the team in the creation of high-performing digital experiences that enable one-of-a-kind destinations to convert discerning travelers into loyal guests. Andreanna has an M.Sc. in Strategic Marketing (cum laude) from Universiteit Maastricht and a B.A. in International Relations from the University of British Columbia.