Case Study: PLT Canada

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Project Learning Tree (PLT Canada) believes in a society that values and benefits from sustainably managed forests and the great outdoors. PLT Canada is committed to engaging youth in learning about the world around them – in rural, Indigenous, and urban communities – and advancing environmental literacy, stewardship and career pathways using trees and forests as windows to the world. As a premier provider of forest-related education, training and advocacy, PLT Canada has created a multi-purpose platform for mentoring programs.

Manulife is a leading international financial services group that helps people make their decisions easier and lives better. Manulife operates primarily as John Hancock in the United States and Manulife elsewhere, including at their headquarters in Canada and global offices across Europe and Asia. Manulife provides financial advice, insurance, as well as wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions.

The Challenge:

PLT Canada aims to increase the number and diversity of young people entering the forest sector and to develop future leaders. They identified mentoring as a critical tool for providing supportive coaching, reducing barriers facing underserved youth in Canada, and helping to facilitate employer education to increase the success of diverse youth employment. They wanted a mentoring program that would be accessible for people in regions across Canada, including in remote areas that would make it hard for mentees to meet mentors in their field. In the spring of 2020 PLT Canada launched the “My Green Mentor” mentoring program with the support of Pollinate Networks.

Program Objectives:

  • Support both good employment practices and effective employee behaviours within the forest sector
  • Increase access to resources and a supportive community that will enhance youth career pathway development
  • Provide mentees with tools and resources to support personal lifelong career advocacy
  • Create partnerships that might not otherwise exist
  • Enhance diversity in the sector through culturally informed program delivery and inclusive recruitment practices.
The Challenge: To support Manulife’s most senior leaders as they grow into more advanced executive roles, through an exclusive mentoring program aimed to role model Manulife’s core values and leadership behaviours.

Pollinate Approach

Pollinate worked with PLT Canada to develop a mentorship program that would meet the specific needs of the mentees by providing tools and supports to ensure their success in an agile manner. Program creation involved collaboration with like-minded partners with the goal of incorporating the unique viewpoints, cultures and customs of the diverse populations being engaged. The program involves careful mentor selection, feedback, and training. Other priorities include ensuring respectful, honest communication, and seeing evidence that mentees are participating in a meaningful way in return for the benefits provided.

Additional highlights:

  • Pollinate created a unique mentorship standard operating procedure to meet PLT Canada’s specific needs, which encompassed consultation, assessment, measurement strategies and recruitment.
  • The program intake was tailored to meet the unique needs of the industry.
  • Pollinate provided assessments and tailored the mentor-matching process to meet PLT Canada’s specific goals.
  • Pollinate provided support for the creation, testing and hosting of learning materials for career development.
  • Pollinate delivered expert webinars for mentors and mentees.
  • PLT Canada licensed Pollinate’s mentorship education content for best practices learning materials.

Results

Pollinate matched 25 mentee-mentor pairs for the pilot, using a proprietary algorithm that takes into account individual personalities, learning styles, goals, locations, interests, and existing skills and expertise. The pairs met virtually for six months, with mentees also taking part in a parallel learning process (the Green Pathway Plan) to help them develop their career pathway in the forest and conservation sector. The Green Pathway Plan included a career development guidebook and an online workbook.

Additional highlights:

  • 96% of respondents gave a satisfaction score of 7 or more out of 10.
  • 92% met with their mentor/mentee 4 or more times. 88% stated that their mentor-mentee interactions were “really good.”
  • 96% felt that they and their mentoring partner were able to work towards the goals that they set for the program.
  • 96% stated they received sufficient training and support to be successful in their mentoring relationship
  • Mentors were “amazed at how easily they were able to connect with their mentees.”

The second cohort of the My Green Mentor program launched in the fall of 2020 with 75 mentoring pairs.

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CLIENT TESTIMONIAL

“The algorithm-based mentor-matching is a great strength of the program. Our mentors tell us that the matching was a little uncanny: they were amazed at how easily they were able to connect with their mentees! Everyone who committed to the program was matched really well and are finding great success because of the connections made.”

— Tara Topping, Manager, Career Education Project Learning Tree Canada

Highlights

High participation in a blend of successful live and asynchronous engagement despite the global pandemic

Successful recruitment of mentors and mentees + experiences designed to serve underrepresented populations

Participants had the opportunity to complete a substantive career plan within the 6-month program

“I also really enjoyed when my mentor shared her experiences working with different stakeholders in the environmental sector and lessons she has learned during her career.”

  — Mentee, My Green Mentor Program

“My favourite experience has been hearing about my mentor's journey to his current position and how personality traits that were similar between the two of us got him there.”

  — Mentee, My Green Mentor Program

“One of the things that I found interesting was that my mentee was/is experiencing some of the same issues and uncertainties that I did early in my career, so I could really relate and empathize with him. I hope I was able to provide him with some tools to help him meet his career goals but my greatest hope is that I provided him some comfort and hope that things will improve and that his future is bright.”

— Mentor: My Green Mentor Program