Community engagement during a year of physical distancing
The COVID-19 virus caused everyone to change how they communicate with each other. For interVivos, it changed the way we “meet” as a board and how we run our programs, like modifying our in-person mentorship program into a virtual one.
At the pandemic’s onset, interVivos evaluated if we could continue our programming through a public health emergency. We wanted to dialogue with the community-at-large in a safe and engaging way.
interVivos was fortunate enough to facilitate two mentorship program launches via Zoom in 2020. We were able to connect 23 protégés with 23 mentors in our community. In early 2021, we chatted with a Fall 2020 protégé and mentor to hear their thoughts about interVivos and the program launch.
Our protégé perspective comes from Bonnie Chiu. She graduated from the University of Alberta in 2019 with a Degree in Human Ecology and is currently working in healthcare philanthropy. She first heard about interVivos through our posts on LinkedIn and eventually decided to sign up as a protégé for the Fall 2020 Program— her very first experience with interVivos. “I wanted to expand my social and professional network. I find that those opportunities, especially now [due to the pandemic], can be more difficult to come by.”
We asked her to share more about her experience with the mentorship program launch. “It was a very positive experience for me. I felt there was great communication from interVivos leading up to the event, on event day, and afterwards. It is tough to run a virtual event, but everything was well-planned and running very smoothly. I enjoyed connecting with everyone— it was the most social interaction I’ve had in months beyond my usual circle.”
Bonnie loved that the event showcased the unique talents and people in Edmonton. “I walked away with a lot of great advice from the 13 mentors during the speed rotations. There were so many takeaways just in that one night! I’m looking forward to staying involved with interVivos and whatever they plan in the future when they can run more events programs.”
Renée Williams, Vice President Customer Experience at the Fort Edmonton Management Company, was a first-time mentor for our Fall 2020 Program. She heard about interVivos through her friend, Mary Bailey of The Tomato, who was a Summer 2020 mentor. Renée decided to join as a mentor for our first program focused on highlighting Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour (or BIPOC) volunteer mentors because she would have loved to have had a mentor who looked like her during her career journey.
“I have been very successful in the communications and tourism industry, but I often feel like I did it on my own. As the only Black woman in a senior leadership position in the tourism industry across the province, I am a rarity in this field. Mentorship programs like these are important. I want my son to see himself in a career because representation is an opportunity that I did not have. I want to give him every opportunity to succeed, and these programs can help make that happen for people like him.”
We spoke to Renée about her first-time experience with interVivos. “The launch was very well thought out and thorough. Everything was organized and easy to understand. I was impressed with the mentors at interVivos. Many of my former colleagues have been involved with interVivos in the past. There were also many mentors participating in the program that I was interested in connecting with in the future!”
Renée was also impressed with the talent she saw in the protégé pool at the event. “There were so many protégés with diverse interests like government, politics, or simply looking to make a career shift. I learned little nuggets from each person I met. The world will be set up for great success if mentors and protégés are interested in making things better by reaching out, connecting, and asking questions.”
Thank you to all of the fantastic mentors and protégés who have been involved with interVivos for the past 15 years! We are delighted to share the many unique talents and perspectives that our community has to offer.
interVivos is always looking for protégés and mentors from all backgrounds for our future programs. You can follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter) or join our mailing list, so you don’t miss out on your opportunity to get more involved with our organization.