Consultant, Professional Speaker, Author, Researcher, Lecturer, Coffee Required
2) What is your educational background?
I am a recent doctoral graduate, a former LHTNB Fellow, and a MITACS Doctoral Fellowship recipient. My academic work can be found in Uncovering the Hidden Cultural Dynamics in Mentoring and the International Journal of Coaching and Mentoring, for example. I am a contributing author in the forthcoming edition of the Handbook of Mentoring by SAGE Publications, a reviewer for the International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring and have a year-long series of articles about mentoring in the world of work being published in Progress Magazine.
I am passionate about mentoring, enjoy sharing my work, and hold a number of professional affiliations. I have published my work and presented at various conferences and speak at provincial, national, and international venues.
I attribute these successes to my alma mater UNB and my many wonderful professors who guided me though the journey. In particular, I would like to thank two women who have been great mentors to me, Dr. Linda Kealey and Dr. Patty Peterson.
3) Talk a little about your career path? Where did your passion for the research/work that you do originate and how did it develop?
I graduated high school and essentially moved overseas for ten years working in Colombia, Italy, and Japan. My research orientation stems from my overseas experiences and can be particularly attributed to my time as president of the Cross-Cultural Association in Nagoya, Japan providing settlement and acculturation support to diplomats, executive expatriates, and business people.
And while I now have Ph.D. after my name, for me, mentored learning, real-life experiential learning, and relationship building have been equally and sometimes more valuable than classroom learning. For me, classrooms and books have never really been my strength. I have had several failed attempts at post-secondary — that’s hard on the soul. I was ultimately diagnosed with learning disabilities in my early thirties.
Wow, did that change the direction of my life! I have to say that most all of my success worth celebrating are victories hard earned and achieved due to the support of mentors. My personal mentoring stories are many. I marvel at how my mentors raised the bar for me, modeled the way, pushed me beyond my personal limits, encouraged me to enlarge my thinking, and believed in me — they saw in me what I couldn’t.
4) Tell us about one or two of your current projects?
As a consultant, I currently work with executives and managers who are struggling with employee recruitment, training, and retention by providing them with the tools to effectively retain, engage, and manage millennials.
A multigenerational workplace that values learning and is productive, efficient and harmonious is everyone’s goal. Top of mind for many managers and leaders is what can be done to encourage employees of different generations to share their knowledge so that organizations can grow and retain institutional knowledge and wisdom.
I intend to continue my research on mentoring for high-potential employees in the corporate sector and mentioning for entrepreneurs, specifically newcomer immigrant entrepreneurs, but I plan bring to the forefront my interest in mentoring women leaders.
5) How do you see your research/work in terms of possibly contributing to evidence-based public policy?
Policy makers wishing to use mentoring as a mechanism for economic development will be guided by these findings. For example, Inter-cultural mentoring and other educational approaches for all immigrant populations are increasingly of vital importance. However, there is a particular urgency when newcomer immigrant entrepreneurs are included. A 2010 Conference Board of Canada study reported that Canada may be missing out on economic growth opportunities driven by newcomers. Immigrants could inject life into Canada’s failing innovation performance, augment job growth, expand Canada’s trade relations, raise the value of exports, increase the number of patents, and boost foreign direct investment. Yet, according to the report too many face “onerous and unnecessary” obstacles that limit their chances of fully participating in the economy. The unrealized potential of immigrant entrepreneurship is thus considerable.
6) Discuss any past achievements that were significant to your professional path?
Every two years the International Mentoring Association (IMA) recognizes outstanding research in the field of mentorship. The Association’s preeminent research award, the IMA Hope Richardson Dissertation Award, recognizes innovative and exceptional contributions. The award is given to foster and disseminate research in the practice of workplace learning and performance.
The research I undertook here at UNB was nominated for the 2014-2016 Award. The president of the IMA called a few months ago with the news of my success. It was a great honour to accept the award, speak at the dinner, and present my research at the conference. I just returned a couple of weeks ago, and so I’m still on a bit of a high from that.
In sum, findings from my work will help businesses with their future workforce requirements by assisting them in their effort to find, train, and retain the best possible people. There is also significant application as organizations endeavour to leverage diverse and age-friendly multi-generational healthy workforces that collaborate, innovate, and thrive.
My doctorial research was presented as an articles-formatted dissertation with the requisite introduction, literature review and concluding chapter, and the three stand-alone manuscripts.
Manuscript #1 – Journal Article: What is Cross-Cultural Mentoring? An integrative Literature Review and Discussion of the Term Cross-Cultural Mentoring
- Research examined descriptions of common cross-cultural mentoring (CCM) processes across 123 sources
- Four types of cross-cultural mentoring research are demarcated (domestic, pan-cultural, global and newcomer)
- Critique of the state of CCM literature is provided
- Outline suggestion to guide future empirical and theoretical work in a meaningful direction
Manuscript #2 – Book Chapter: What Competencies are Necessary in Navigating Cross-Cultural Mentoring Relationships for Immigrant Entrepreneurs? Five Things Skilled Mentors Think, Say, and Do. In F. Kochan, and A. Green (Eds.) (In Print), Uncovering the Hidden Cultural Dynamics in Mentoring.
- Research drew from newcomer immigrant entrepreneur mentee interviews and described skills and/or competencies reported as beneficial to CCM practice
- Five themes emerged accompanied with guidelines for better practice
Manuscript #3 – Commissioned Corporate Document: Corporate Mentorship Programming: Promising Programme Practices for “Fast-Tracking” High Potential Employees
- Programme and process evaluation of six corporate mentoring programmes
- Qualitative and quantitative data collection and document analysis
- Thirty-five summary findings were delineated, and guidelines for better practice were developed
7) Describe in a couple of sentences your involvement with NBSPRN and how your relationship with the Network has contributed to your research/work and/or to social/economic policy?
Because this is graduation season, I’d like to acknowledge NBSPRN’s meaningful engagement with my students. I lecture at UNB’s Faculty of Leadership Studies, Renaissance College. NBSPRN has brought social and economic development conversations into our classroom, and we have also had the opportunity to attend, as a class, various events hosted by NBSPRN. Through these events, my students had the opportunity to contribute to debates on local government reform and economic development in highly public forums and engage with thoughtful leaders outside of academia. For my students, these cross-pollination and networking opportunities were invaluable in blending the requisite soft skill for business, the rigor of academia, and the world of research for those pursuing post-graduate degrees.
8) Any last thoughts?
I’m passionate about what I do and could write reams, but let me leave readers with this… Mentors often have a hierarchical position above their mentees. We’re generally more advanced, more seasoned and more connected. It’s called a status differential. Mentees may be focused on the things you’ve accomplished, the titles you hold, the plaques on your wall and the circles you move in. While many of these elements may dovetail into why they see you as a valuable force they can actually cause odd friction.
As a mentor, I talk a little about my family or my hobbies in an effort to be seen as a whole person. Consider being a bit self-deprecating. In other words, do some laughing at yourself. Be brave share a story about a time when you fell flat on your face or best learning moments. We’ve all heard the sayings “to err is human” and “you live you learn.”
To me good mentors know that in owning your mistakes you also get to own the learning, the progress, and the story. They also know that mistakes aren’t shameful things. Mentees have goals and ambitions if they’re challenging enough then setbacks are inevitable.
I often share a bit about my journey. Many of my mentees find it amusing to know that because I grew up on a farm, I knew which pitchfork to use before I knew which table fork to use. They really sit up and listen when I tell them how many attempts I made at university. By the time I get to some of my other failures and my challenges with learning disabilities their elbows are on the table, their eyes have a lock on me, and their mouth’s agape.
As this happens — this relationship building — they will see you as being a whole, complete person not just an experienced person with a good title. This approach makes them see you. It allows them to know you. Most importantly, it makes them hear you.