The Scotiabank Women Initiative

The Scotiabank Women Initiative has collaborated with Dr. Barbara Orser and Dr. Allan Riding of the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa. Together, we have created learning aids designed to assist with the development of your woman-led, woman-owned business.

Whether you’re a mentor or mentee, High Impact Mentoring is an exercise designed to assist with facilitating two-way conversations. If your personal style is formal or informal, one-to-one, or in groups, we’ll provide the evidence-based tools to help maximize your mentorship objectives and outcomes. This learning aid provides an opportunity for you as a woman entrepreneur to understand and facilitate high impact conversations between mentors and protégés. Evidence-based tools enable you to personalize learning outcomes, structure a relationship that fits your needs, and build trust-based relationships to maximize the power of mentorship.

Studies report that mentoring, while beneficial to all, many be indispensable for women. Protégés experience more positive career outcomes, including higher levels of career satisfaction and compensation, than non-mentored counterparts.

High impact mentoring reflects clear learning objectives and two-way communication. This tool will help you to clarify your needs and expectations.

  • Check off those learning outcomes that apply to you. 
  • Add other learning outcomes to the list. 
  • Create a portfolio of mentors with expertise in different knowledge domains. 
  • Learn about models of mentoring, and what types of mentoring and advisory relationship are right for you and your businesses.

Informal one-on-one
Loosely structured relationships can be customized to fit your learning priorities. Inaugural trust is typically high. Family and friends often act as mentors, building confidence and affirming role legitimacy. But, because women are relative newcomers to business ownership, informal business networks may not be well developed, impacting the quality of mentor advice and support. Relationships are more likely to tolerate stereotyping and focus on psychosocial outcomes.

Formal one-on-one
Often administered by industry intermediaries, entrepreneurs benefit from dedicated time over a specified period with credentialed professionals. This works well when learning outcomes are clear, and the relationship is good, however, advice can be formulaic.

Peer-to-peer mentoring is predicated on community knowledge and experience: “To build each other” is the motto of the Women in Communications & Technology (WCT) Mentorship Circle. GroYourBiz offers monthly “Board” meetings comprised of 15 to 20 non-competing members. The Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) targets women presidents of multimillion-dollar companies. Roundtable discussions function as informal board of advisors for members’ businesses. Most are fee-based and have limited geographic coverage.

If you prefer co-learning, this collaborative approach to mentoring engages individuals who share complementary knowledge, networks and competencies. Women entrepreneurs, for example, mentor corporate managers or government decision-makers. While helpful in gaining visibility, relationships can be fragile given power imbalances.

Virtual (e-mentoring)
Convenient, flexible, available as needed and anonymous, e-platforms match protégés and mentors, often across geographic distances. Online training platforms employ interactive content to engage protégés and mentors. Periodic email surveys are used to assess the health and productivity of the mentoring relationships. For those who prioritize psychosocial support, this model of mentoring may not be the best option.

Do you seek the camaraderie of like-minded women entrepreneurs? If so, consider establishing a peer-to-peer mentoring group. Participants can act as mentors, protégés, or both, depending on the issue. Mentoring is an interpersonal relationship built on trust. This tool presents a series of questions to probe assumptions and nurture trust in the mentoring relationship.

If you’re a Canadian woman entrepreneur, download the learning aid PDF to begin your assessment today.