Women for Nature is developing a strong and engaged next generation of women leaders in science, nature and conservation through a mentoring program delivered by Pollinate Networks Inc.
The Women for Nature mentoring program first began in 2017, pairing 10 mentees between the ages of 18 to 35 with 10 experienced members of Women for Nature. The second phase of the program, which took place in 2019, doubled in size to involve 20 mentee-mentor pairs.
“We’re about knowledge sharing to the next generation to empower young women leaders,” said Jodi Joy, Director of Development for Nature Canada and lead on Women for Nature. “The first year with 10 mentees was a very successful, positive experience with lots of life lessons learned and confidence building. The mentees were encouraged to realize their career is a journey, but there are trials on the journey and you don’t need to know your perfect path at the outset.”
Women for Nature is a signature philanthropic initiative of Nature Canada that brings together professional women from diverse sectors and backgrounds across Canada. Its goals are to promote the importance of nature and to encourage more Canadians to connect with nature.
“I am very thankful to have been a part of this initiative. I’ve learned so many things that have and will continue to significantly impact my career development.” – 2019 mentee
“Through the development of the Women for Nature mentoring program, Nature Canada has invested not only in the development of young women leaders but also in the success of multiple planet-saving projects mentees bring to the table,” said Christy Pettit, CEO of Pollinate Networks Inc.
“Good mentoring provides experienced help where needed. All of the women in this program already lead in some way. Our goal is to deepen leadership, general knowledge, decision-making and critical thinking through conversation and taking action. Mentoring has some great byproducts, too: it reduces barriers to career success, promotes feelings of connectedness to a field and strengthens subject matter networks.”
“It seems fitting that Women for Nature want to nurture and empower young women to become leaders for nature too, as we connect with others to find ways to preserve our natural heritage and use nature to promote important skills, such as STEM,” said Janet Bax, Women for Nature co-chair and mentorships project leader.
The mentoring program is funded through support from The Chawkers Foundation and Natural Resources Canada, with a matching gift from Pollinate Networks Inc.
Pollinate Mentoring Programs ensure a good, productive mentoring experience, Pettit said. “Our mentor matching technology matches pairs or cohorts based on inputs including individual psychometric assessments (the Pollinate Knowledge Transfer Index), demographics, organizational levels and mentee goals.
“Good mentoring provides high yield learning and priceless connections. It ensures people with the motivation have the inspiration, knowledge and know-how to meet their goals.”
Key outcomes of Nature Canada’s Women for Nature mentoring program:
- 93% reported they recommend this mentoring program
- 80% would mentor again in the program
- 50% will be carrying relationships forward into informal mentorships
Comments about the program:
“This is a wonderful program, absolutely encourage its continuation and explore possibilities for growth.”
“It helps accelerate professional development, broaden perspectives and builds confidence.”
“Excellent matching exercise, I encourage you to continue the program, many transferable learnings (both ways)… my mentee also shared her expertise with me and that helped build our relationship and her sense of mastery/contribution and what I learned from my mentee, I have been able to use in my volunteer work.”
“I am very thankful to have been a part of this initiative. I’ve learned so many things that have and will continue to significantly impact my career development.”
“It’s my first time in a formal mentorship program and even though it can be tricky to fit into life’s busy schedule, it’s amazing what can be organized across the country in a virtual capacity. One great lesson learned is there are opportunities for informal mentorships and understanding the value and benefits of a mentor, I plan to continue to seek out mentors elsewhere and find opportunities to mentor in future.”
“It is an excellent fit. I feel we can get to valuable issues and timely advice.”
“You have done a great job matching my mentor, we are off to a great start. I noticed our difference regarding details vs big picture. It is a good thing. I get stuck in details and like working with big picture people.”
“It has been very helpful when we have spoken. We are rather similar in personality so it is nice to hear how she has navigated similar challenges throughout her career.”
“Talking through leadership obstacles with a mentor has real value, provides insight.”
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