Building a great mentor/mentee relationship is not always easy, but Puja succeeded at it.
As a child of immigrants herself, Puja understands the newcomer experience can be very challenging. Her parents moved to Canada from India before she was born and had a hard time settling in. However, they rose above those challenges and became very successful. Because she saw how challenging it was for her parents and witnessed them overcoming it, Puja knew she wanted to help immigrants succeed.
Throughout her professional career, Puja has had both formal and informal mentors. Some had been assigned through her work; others have taken an interest in her career development. They advised her about different law options and how she could advance her career and improve her legal skills.
“You can’t do much without the help of good mentors, and since I have received that benefit, I wanted to pass it forward,” says Puja.
While working as a Senior Legal Counsel at Intact, an insurance company based in Toronto that supports Windmill’s Mentorship Program, a colleague informed Puja that they were looking for lawyers to participate in the program. She volunteered.
For six months in 2020, Puja worked with her mentee, a skilled lawyer from India, and actively listened to better understand how she could help. “We talked about her background and experience, what she was interested in, and the challenges she was going through. It was challenging for her to get a job as an immigrant, and she needed an articling role to kick start her career in Canada,” indicates Puja.
During their virtual meetings, they exchanged ideas and talked about the kind of support Puja could offer. Since her mentee was interested in a different area of law, Puja connected her with some of her colleagues and peers. Together, they worked on improving her mentee’s resume and cover letter and did interview preparation.
When an articling position opened at Intact, Puja’s mentee applied for the job. Puja reached out to her colleagues to recommend her mentee based on her skill set and experience. The interview went great, and Puja’s mentee was hired.
Without a doubt, Puja’s greatest satisfaction is knowing that she made a difference in her mentee’s life. By helping her grow her network, spending time guiding and advising her, offering unconditional support and being candid with her, Puja contributed to her mentee’s career success.
Even though Puja got involved in the Mentorship Program to give back to those new to the country, by participating in the program, she learned that mentoring could have a significant impact on a mentors’ growth: Being a mentor helps develop your leadership skills while offering the opportunity to connect with others.
For her contributions to the Mentorship Program, especially for going out of her way to help her mentee, we want to recognize Puja as Windmill’s Mentor of the Month.