Why I Mentor- Salim Bhojani, National Director, Business Strategy & Marketing

People take on leadership roles for different reasons. One reason why I enjoy being a leader is the platform to coach, develop and mentor others. Success cannot be achieved alone. When I look at my own life and career, I feel fortunate to have had so many mentors and know this is a key ingredient in my success. My mentors encouraged me to believe in myself, which improved my ability to connect with others, as well as my overall decision-making skills.

Life is busy, and it’s not always easy to find time for mentorship. However, mentorship rejuvenates me and recalibrates my priorities as a leader, which makes each session well-spent time. It’s easy to lose sight of priorities in the midst of busyness, but coaching and guiding others in their professional development should remain a top priority for leaders. I engage in mentorship in a few ways: professional development initiatives and programs, and focused coaching sessions.

I engage in mentorship in a few ways: professional development initiatives and programs, and focused coaching sessions.

I’m fortunate to work for a company like Westburne that believes in, and takes action to invest in the development of our people. This year we introduced an initiative within Westburne marketing to take two individuals from regional marketing teams, and put them on special assignment. These marketing team members have been elevated to support the business on a National level. In addition to increased visibility to all facets of our business, they are exposed to regular coaching and professional development from a manager with a different style and approach than what they are used to. As a result, I’ve seen tremendous personal growth in both of these individuals, and look forward to watching the continued evolution of their careers. Outside work hours, I act as a board member with the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board for Canada. This organization runs over 300 annual events for youth across Canada that range from sporting events and summer camps, to cultural showcases and mentorship programs. These mentorship programs focus on the mental, physical and social health of youth. We specifically focus on young people in challenging circumstances; in particular, those from low income and financially-challenged homes. I have seen these programs change the direction of the lives of young people and their family. This positive impact is truly humbling.

A couple of years ago, I acted as a mentor with Futurpreneur (formally the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.) Futurpreneur is a national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring young business owners. Futurpreneur enables mentorship by pairing an entrepreneur with a senior business leader. To be honest, at the onset I was a little nervous about this! I have worked within large corporations my entire career, but have never started my own business. Regardless, I began to meet with my mentee each month to discuss how to take her event planning business to the next level. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that many skills and tactics used in traditional corporate environments are incredibly applicable to an entrepreneur; particularly around strategy, market research and tracking of results for continuous improvement. Ultimately, my work with Futurpreneur was an incredibly positive experience for me and my mentee alike.

Each of these unique mentorship opportunities have allowed me the privilege to watch people grow, both personally and professionally, to the next level – and I’ve met some amazing people along the way. The rewards of mentorship go both ways. Though it may sound cliché, I have learned more from my mentees than they know, and for that, I’m thankful.

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