Mentorship in the digital age

Apr 27th, 2020

Heidi Wicks

Mentorship in the digital age

Alumni Engagement and Student Life have partnered with Ten Thousand Coffees, a digital mentorship tool that links mentors with students and early career professionals, thanks in part to the generosity of RBC Future Launch.

Duos with shared backgrounds, degrees and skill sets are automatically matched each month, and connect on the phone, in Google Hangouts or any preferred conferencing tool.

Good brotherly advice

Yaksh Haranwala has just completed his first year of studies in computer science, with a minor in mathematics. Following the advice of his brother, who suggested that he connect with alumni throughout his university career, Mr. Haranwala’s search led him to Ten Thousand Coffees.

Seeking a mentor with experience in computer science and technology who could guide him throughout projects and help him strengthen his CV, he connected with software developer Randal Greene (B.Comm. Hons. ’91, M.Sc. ’10).

Mr. Greene has been developing software applications ranging from management information for healthcare, tourism and telecommunications, to real-time situation awareness for marine navigation and surveillance for 25 years. He now concentrates on geographic information systems (GIS) for systematic conservation planning, natural resource management and related applications through his consultancy Feaver’s Lane.

“Every time you reach out or give back, the benefits flow in both directions,”—Randal Greene

He believes there is always value in expanding networks, which is what prompted him to explore the Ten Thousand Coffees program.

‘Priceless’ connection

“Every time you reach out or give back, the benefits flow in both directions,” he said. “Yaksh was very interested to learn about opportunities in geographic information systems (GIS), and we talked about GIS companies in southern Ontario where he is from. We also talked about mathematics versus statistics as the focus of his minor and how they complement computer science in different ways.”

Mr. Haranwala is extremely grateful for his connection to Mr. Greene.

“His mentorship is priceless. During these tough times, Mr. Greene encouraged me to try GIS mapping in my projects. He also helped me strengthen my CV, and was very empathetic to the issues that international students face while being here and away from family and home. I can’t be more grateful to him for his wise words of advice and his help during these difficult times.”

Mr. Haranwala and Mr. Greene remain in contact.

This type of connection is exactly what Lynn Squires, assistant director with the Office of Alumni Engagement, likes to see, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Graduating students are looking for support to be career-ready at this time of uncertainty. Mentors and mentees can connect digitally, offering and receiving advice and guidance to help them move forward in their careers,” explained Ms. Squires.

Introductions to students and alumni occur monthly, with the next meeting on May 2. Participants must register with Ten Thousand Coffees in advance.

For more information about programming available for alumni and others in a time of physical divide, read Together apart.