Women’s mentorship program invites participants for new year

A successful Brock women’s mentorship program is welcoming a new group of leaders and rising stars to join forces and uplift one another.

Following the success of the inaugural session of the Deborah Rosati Women in Leadership Mentorship Program this past spring, organizers are now accepting applications for a second cohort from January to May.

In 2022, a generous gift from the program’s namesake set the stage for its creation at Brock, her alma mater.

Rosati (BAdmin ’84), who received an honorary doctorate at Brock’s 113th convocation, is a corporate director, accomplished entrepreneur and Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant who has seen first-hand the positive difference mentorship can make in the lives and careers of women. Her own social purpose company, Women Get On Board Inc., saw success with a similar mentorship program that matched aspiring women corporate directors (mentees) with accomplished corporate directors (mentors).

At the time of the donation, Rosati said her support was intended “not only to enable and motivate the next generation of women leaders at Brock but also to encourage other existing women leaders to invest in the future of the next generation of us.”

The program received positive feedback following its first run, which included mentors and mentees from the University and the wider community.

Building on the existing Women in Leadership (WIL) initiative, the program is designed to create and sustain an inclusive mentoring community that fosters diversified knowledge, offers opportunities to learn from colleagues and creates meaningful connections across campus and beyond. The program aims to help women connect with quality mentors who can share their expertise, experience and advice in navigating different fields from the perspective of a woman leader.

Two women pose for a photo in front a cream coloured wall in a bright room.

Courtney Falardeau (left), Med Plus Advisor in Co-op, Career and Experiential Education, was a mentee in the inaugural cohort of the Deborah Rosati Women in Leadership Mentorship Program. Caroline Hummell (right), PhD candidate in Applied Health Sciences, co-ordinates the program.

“Effective leadership doesn’t happen by accident, and it doesn’t happen in isolation,” says Ingrid Makus, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and founding member of WIL. “By linking potential leaders with those already in positions of leadership, we are helping to build a trusted network of mentors and contributing to the leadership capacity of Niagara’s women.”

The program, which includes both individual and group mentoring, requires only a few hours per month. Mentors and mentees decide when and how to arrange their one-on-one meetings, which pair with monthly group sessions, some held in person, that feature guest speakers discussing a variety of topics.

Courtney Falardeau, Med Plus Advisor in Co-op, Career and Experiential Education, was a mentee in the inaugural cohort.

“It was great to be mentored by someone I might not have had a chance to meet in such a large institution, especially during a transitional time to a new role,” says Falardeau. “Better yet, we got along so well that I know we will stay in touch in the future and continue to be friends.”

Falardeau’s mentor was Melanie Elliott, Manager of Educational Technologies in the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation. Elliott says that having similar career experiences helped enrich the partnership.

“It was really great timing for us, because my mentee was going through something in her career that I had just recently gone through and learned a lot about,” says Elliott. “I was in the mentor role in this relationship but I feel like I got just as much out of it, maybe more — it was really beautiful.”

Director of Retail Services and Parking Services Jen Lawson says that, as a first-time mentor, she wasn’t sure what to expect.

“Having completed the program, not only was I able to provide guidance and insight to a mentee, but I learned a lot about myself as I reflected on the questions and situations we were discussing,” says Lawson. “I’d recommend that mentors and mentees check out the opportunity.”

The mentorship program is open to any self-identifying woman from the Niagara region or Brock University community. Mentors must currently hold a leadership position in their field, such as a co-ordinator, manager, director or professor, and be willing to share their knowledge and experiences with other aspirational women leaders. Mentees are individuals looking to enhance their leadership skills and connect with credible role models who can support their life and career goals.

Limited spots are available in the upcoming cohort, so Brock students, faculty and staff, as well as community members, are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Anyone interested in participating as a mentor or a mentee is invited to visit the Deborah Rosati Women in Leadership Mentorship Program web page or contact wilmentorship@brocku.ca for more information.

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