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Best Way To Learn - Through Experience, The Smarter Way to Learn - From Other Peoples' Experiences

Mentoring Program

My name is Garry Donaghy. I’m a Project Manager for a Canadian supermarket chain, and a certified PMP. I am also currently a mentee in the Fall 2020 Career Accelerator Program, a mentoring program led by PMI Toronto that runs from October to December.


CAP is a 1:1 mentoring program led by volunteers. They provide a framework for the mentors and mentees to follow throughout the 12 weeks of the program, while also organising and leading the group sessions (kick-off, mid-term, and lessons learned). Additionally there are often external speakers at the group meetings, and all the participants are encouraged to join a LinkedIn group for the program to further network with each other.


The Fall 2020 cohort kicked off on Sep 12. On Saturday, Oct 24, we had the mid-term meeting, with over 60 mentees and mentors attending.


Theme of the session: Sharing Experiences

Interactive Sessions: Elevator Pitches, Quiz, Raffle

Guest Speakers: Networking in the Age of COVID19 and Beyond (Dean Kulaweera, Career Coach), Managing Project Remotely (Swati Suyal Yelsangi, TD Bank)

Highlight for me: The guest presenters, and winning the quiz session!




After some breakout room sessions to network and critique elevator pitches, we had 2 guest speakers. The presenters were engaging and shared topical advice for the participants.


Key Takeaways from Dean’s Session?

  1. The Best Way to learn is through experience, but the smartest way is to learn from other peoples' experience, e.g. mentoring
  2. LinkedIn is the best tool for networking today. You can use it to build your personal brand
  3. If you are being your authentic self and networking well, it is ok to ask others for referrals or help or advice, but first make sure you Be of Value. Give give give before you try to get. You need to earn the ask


Key Takeaways from Swati’s Session?

  1. Project Management is often about people. During COVID, more so than before, people have to be at the centre of how we manage our projects
  2. Make sure you take care of your own well-being and health before looking out for others
  3. Ensure you provide an atmosphere of trust and respect to your team members. If they have family or personal challenges right now (elder care, child-care, children in “Zoom school”) enable them to take care of those priorities first
  4. Maintain strong communication to stakeholders and team-members. Foster a positive environment by still finding ways to celebrate successes even in our new virtual normal


The CAP program’s final session, Lessons Learned, is coming up on Dec 12th. I look forward to sharing and learning from all the mentees and mentors there. Until then, I will keep meeting my mentor and working towards my goals for the program!




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