In this episode of The Business Gay Podcast, host Calan Breckon speaks with mentor specialist, Jennifer Petrela.
Jennifer is a mentoring expert at the Mentorat, Québec’s Mentorship Accelerator. A dynamic speaker and avid learner, Jennifer studied and worked on four continents before settling in Montréal, Quebec, where she implements mentorship programs that promote equity and the inclusion of diversity. Jennifer is herself a mentor and mentee in constant evolution.
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Links mentioned in this episode:
- Jennifer Petrela on LinkedIn
- CGLCC OUT for Business Mentorship Program
- Futurpreneur Mentoring
Key Takeaways for quick navigation:
- 01:01 Mentorship is a powerful force that can positively impact personal and professional lives.
- 01:39 Jennifer Petrela specializes in inclusive mentorship, especially focusing on LGBTQ+ mentorship.
- 03:47 Jennifer emphasizes the transformative and empowering nature of mentorship, highlighting its higher return on investment compared to other endeavors.
- 09:30 Open-mindedness, honesty, and courage are key qualities for a successful mentee, fostering a constructive mentor-mentee relationship.
- 18:31 Active listening, understanding, and respecting the unique qualities of each mentee are crucial for mentors in tailoring their approach effectively.
- 23:05 Actively listen in mentorship; introverts may need more time to speak, create a safe space for them.
- 24:42 As mentors, make the space safer by talking less, waiting, and encouraging others to express themselves.
- 25:13 Congratulations to those seeking mentors; studies show seeking mentorship correlates with higher success.
- 25:56 When seeking mentors, avoid being seduced by big names; focus on compatibility and needs.
- 26:40 Be dependable as a mentee; communicate, honor commitments, and maintain the mentorship relationship.
[00:00:00] Calan Breckon: I don’t have time to create social media content for this podcast. It’s just a fact. When you’re a solo entrepreneur, your time is very, very precious and the thought of me taking that time and syncing it into editing a bunch of short videos for social media was absolutely not at the top of my list of things to do. Problem is, how are people going to find out about my show if I don’t have anything on social media? Thank goodness today’s sponsor was invented and saves me countless of hours editing each and every week. OpusClip is a generative AI video tool that repurposes long form videos into short social clips for social media in one simple click. Seriously. After I record an episode, I upload the video into OpusClip and within minutes the powerful AI tool has created about 25 ready to use short videos for me. You can even create templates for the AI to follow so that your videos come out perfect each and every time. I 100% would not be sharing any videos on my social media if it was not for OpusClip. Check out OpusClip by going to CalanBreckon.com/opusclip or click the link in the show notes to start repurposing your long form content today with an easy, simple click. Now let’s get into today’s episode.
Welcome to The Business Gay podcast where we talk about all things business, marketing and entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Calan Breckon and on today’s episode, I have Jennifer Petrela. Jennifer is a mentoring expert at. Now please forgive me, I do not speak French so I’m probably not going to pronounce this correctly, but Montreal, Quebec’s mentorship accelerator. A dynamic Calan Breckonnd avid learner, Jennifer studied and worked on four continents before settling in Montreal, Quebec, where she implements mentorship programs that promote equity and the inclusion of diversity. Jennifer is herself a mentor and mentee in constant evolution. Mentoring completely changed my life and my business. So I’m really excited to talk to Jennifer today on the topic of mentoring. So let’s jump in.
[00:02:12] Calan Breckon: Welcome to the podcast, Jennifer. I’m so excited to have you. How are you doing?
[00:02:17] Jennifer Petrela: I’m doing so great. I’m so excited to be starting off 2024 with this podcast with you, Calan.
[00:02:22] Calan Breckon: Yes, because mentorship is so huge. I’m so excited that this is like kicking off 2024 as well because I know mentorship has absolutely changed my life and my business life. And when I saw you at the Queer tech conference in Montreal, I was like, I need to have this person on the podcast because you just blew me out of the water, so I want to jump in. How long have you been specializing in mentorship?
[00:02:54] Jennifer Petrela: So I have been either mentored or menteed for 20 years. I’ve been practicing mentorship kind of professionally for 15. And about five years ago, I started to specialize in inclusive mentorship, including LGBTQ plus mentorship.
[00:03:08] Calan Breckon: Yes. Which is why I saw you at the QueerTech conference. And also, if anybody’s listening, there’s the QueerTech podcast. I did live at the event, which is, I don’t know how many episodes ago from here, but it was one of the best events I had been to in a long time. Did you really enjoy yourself when you were there?
[00:03:27] Jennifer Petrela: I loved every minute of that conference. Calan, I think that queer tech is doing such a public service with their annual conference and with all of their work, including their mentoring program.
[00:03:37] Calan Breckon: Yes. I hope. Are you going to be there next year?
[00:03:41] Jennifer Petrela: If they don’t invite me, I’ll come knocking.
[00:03:44] Calan Breckon: Awesome, because I would love to see you there again. I think your presentation was just so unique compared to so many of the other presentations that went on. And there’s definitely a huge need for it because everybody, afterwards, you do this mix and mingle kind of a thing where you can find mentors and mentees on one side and then on the other. And I think that that was exactly what a lot of people were there looking for. And you just provided that space so beautifully, and it was phenomenal. We’re all very grateful for it. Can I ask, why did you decide to focus on mentorship as a career path?
[00:04:20] Jennifer Petrela: So, Calan, the truth is that I’ve done a lot of things in my career that I think are good and that I think are useful. But mentorship I know is good. It’s useful. It’s powerful. I have witnessed it turn around people’s lives, and when their lives get turned around, then there’s a ripple effect.
They empower themselves. They empower other people.
The return on investment in mentorship is so much higher than anything else that I have done, and I have a very eclectic career. I’ve done a lot of things.
I can’t say much. I have more about it than that. It’s fabulous.
[00:04:58] Calan Breckon: And So, when did you kind of make that choice of being like, okay, I’ve been mentored. I’ve been a mentee, but now I want to make it a real career. When did that kind of come along for you? Because it’s not something somebody thinks about of like, oh, I can make this a didn’t.
[00:05:12] Jennifer Petrela: I’m very lucky. I’ve had that opportunity. About five years ago, Montara, Quebec got a grant from the status of women Quebec. It’s called the secretariat Laconzi san feminine to put together inclusive mentorship programs for women in male dominated industries. And when Montara, Quebec started looking around for somebody to do this, I said to myself, this is an opportunity that I cannot pass up. So I just kind of cleared my.
[00:05:36] Calan Breckon: Desk and you just got ready and jumped right in?
[00:05:40] Jennifer Petrela: I jumped right in with 2ft.
[00:05:42] Calan Breckon: So if you were going to say, so, if mentorship were a superhero, what would its superpower be? And how can us mere mortals tap into them for professional growth?
[00:05:54] Jennifer Petrela: Right? So my first comment about this is that I don’t think that we’re mere mortals. I know that you mean that in a funny way, and I agree, but at the same time, we’re mortals. Our possibilities and our potential is actually infinite, okay? And we only realize a very small percentage of what we’re capable of because we just don’t have perhaps the conditions, either the mental or the material conditions, to go further. But our potential is unlimited. So if mentorship had superpowers, what would it be? It would be to reveal the potential. And I think of it, mentorship, for me, is actually a touchstone. Okay? So, historically, what was a touchstone? A touchstone was a black stone that revealed the quality of gold. So if you take gold and you draw pure gold and you draw a line on this black stone, and people have been doing this since 2000 bc, okay? It’s thousands of years old, this technique, they didn’t have laboratories, they had this blackstone, and you would take the gold and draw a line on it. And if it were true gold, real gold, pure gold, you would see a very clear line. If the gold had been fiddled with, if it weren’t pure, the line wouldn’t come true. And mentorship is that black touchstone, it allows us to reveal the gold, the mentor to reveal the gold in the mentee. And if the line isn’t coming through, clearly the mentor helps polish that glass, helps the mentee spin their strengths into.
Spin their weaknesses into strength, until they get clearer and clearer, purer and purer, until we’re all gold. We all have gold inside of us. And the mentorship touchstone function allows that to shine through.
[00:07:34] Calan Breckon: Okay, wow. Yes, I would 100% agree. I would say that with my. I have a mentor. I’ve had her since, I think, 2020 or 2021 maybe. I think it was that January we just talked about this. It just came to two years this January, so we’re very excited.
But she’s just pulled so many things out of me that I didn’t think were there and just guided me in so many ways that I didn’t even know I needed. And one thing I will say about mentorship is that it’s not always going to be the person you think or you want to have as your mentor. Because when I entered this one program that she came with, I went in being like, oh, I want a marketer. I want this because that’s the world that I lived in. I was like, I want to learn this world, and so I want a professional in that world so that I can learn from them. That’s what I kind of had in mind. And what I got was a financial advisor, kind of a bookkeeper, tax specialist, and I was like, okay, well, I really want to be part of this program, so I guess I’ll take that. But that’s not sexy. It’s not what I thought I wanted. And then the energy was there. We clicked as human beings and as people, and I didn’t know that that’s who I really, truly needed for my business in order to succeed because she saved me so many times around finances and what to do. And I started investing for the first time in my life. Like, not investing investing, but like RRSP and TFSAs. Like all these kinds of things that scare us when you don’t really know or you didn’t have parents that taught you about it, and just all this whole world opened up to me. That wouldn’t have happened had I had another mentor. And I’m so grateful for her and for that mentorship, for that polishing of the rock of be like, no, it’s there. It’s in you. Just got to teach you how to pull it out a little by little. So I love that.
[00:09:30] Jennifer Petrela: It’s beautiful, beautiful experience. Now, you said use the word open in your description, and I understand that you’re grateful to your mentor, and I understand that she was totally miraculous for you and opened your eyes and everything, but your eyes opened and that you may, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, Calan, but that’s the number one, I would say, quality or condition that we need when we want to be mentorable, because you’re not always mentorable. We’re not always mentorable. Sometimes we resist. You could have said, no, I want a marketer, and I’m not part of this. Whatever, but for whatever reason there’s that open mindedness in you that you brought to the relationship that made it all possible. So let’s all recognize that mentors are magical, but we as mentees, sometimes bring the magic, too. It’s a two way relationship.
[00:10:15] Calan Breckon: Yeah. And also you need to find the right match because I’ve been matched with mentors that was not a match and it didn’t work out. And that’s okay, too.
It’s not just going to be one or the other. You have to kind of go through this process of like, oh, well, maybe this person is a right match. Maybe this person isn’t such a right match. I do want to know, in your opinion, what are the key qualities that make a mentoring relationship successful, and how do you navigate the challenges that might arise around that?
[00:10:43] Jennifer Petrela: Yeah, excellent question. So we just talked about open mindedness as a key quality on the part of the mentee. To that, I would also add honesty.
As a mentee, if you’re going to get the most out of the mentoring relationship, you have to take advantage of what is there in front of you and what is. There is a safe space to try things out. Now, normally, the mentor mentoring relationship is such that you’re not dependent on your mentor. It’s not your boss, it’s not your best friend. It’s not somebody who knows your entourage necessarily. It’s somebody who’s independent. A little bit removed can give you the 360 and that you can test things with. And you have to be open. You have to be honest and say, listen, I want to do this crazy thing. Everybody tells me it’s not going to work.
Look, I’m not getting along with my boss and my colleague. They frustrate the hell out of me. Whatever. You have to bring honesty to the relationship so that you can get feedback. Otherwise, you’re kind of sitting there not taking full advantage. And then, of course, courage. Okay, so honesty takes courage and then also takes courage to put into application whatever your mentor is telling you to do. So you mentioned your accountability or accountant, financial management.
It sounds like you had to maybe make some adjustments into your business model. Maybe you had to stop working on marketing and go back to the basics and look again at your finances. Perhaps you had to restructure. Sometimes we don’t really want to do any of that stuff, but we’re there because we’re in a posture of learning. And so the courage to take on, roll up your sleeves and get the hard work done, it has a good payoff in terms of mentors. What do we need. What kind of key qualities?
I don’t know. Let’s talk about this, Callie, because everybody has a different thing that they appreciate the most in their mentor. When I do mentor trainings, one of the things I really emphasize is the desire to truly listen.
[00:12:49] Calan Breckon: Yes, that’s exactly. I was like, please say this first.
[00:12:53] Jennifer Petrela: Okay, let’s hear it.
[00:12:56] Calan Breckon: My thing is really listening, and hearing what is being said and what is going on is crucial to me to learn and to grow.
I can’t handle it. Just drives me crazy when somebody I can tell they’re listening to think about what they want to respond with, not listening to what’s actually being said, taking it in, and then forming a response to that. And for me, that’s the difference between a really great, amazing mentor and somebody who’s just kind of helping you along maybe a little bit in the journey. And maybe one of my other mentors that didn’t work out, that’s what I felt like it was happening.
I was saying things and they were like, but I don’t want that for you. Or I don’t think that that’s right. But it wasn’t in I’m listening to you and what your goals and what your reasoning is. It was like, that’s not how I see the world. And so I’m going to craft you in my image, not in the image you want to be. And that is a huge differentiation for me between listening for somebody who really wants you to just be helped on your journey versus, oh, I want to kind of craft you in my image. That is not mentorship.
[00:14:13] Jennifer Petrela: Absolutely. And that’s why I think it’s very unfair that we ask people to be mentors. Companies and organizations ask them to be mentors without training them, because in our professional lives, when we are approached as an expert, we expect to provide expertise.
If somebody comes to me as a mentorship expert and says to me, what kind of program should I apply? I try to provide them with my best expertise. That’s why they’re hiring me. But as a mentor, your strength is actually not to go out and tell your mentee exactly what they should do, exactly why you’re an expert in this and what you do as an expert. Your role is completely different. And it’s important that we teach these to mentors because it’s not intuitive. We have to teach mentors how to listen. You see how slowly I’m talking now? This is something that we also go through with mentors. We teach them to slow down. We teach them to listen to the other person to look at their body language, to not formulate ideas in their heads beforehand, to use their intuition. Now there’s a counter mainstream concept. Use your intuition when you’re reacting to somebody, listen to them, really feel, have some empathy, and then reflect to them, not tell them, oh, well, this is what you should do. It would be like, wow, Calan, that’s an interesting question.
This is what it brings up in me. What do you think about that?
[00:15:44] Calan Breckon: Yes, because that’s helping, leading them to their own decisions and their own inner thoughts and feelings, which helps them figure that out for themselves. Whereas if you’re telling them what the answer is, that might be the right answer for you, but that’s not the right answer for them necessarily. And if you don’t help them pull out those questions for themselves or those answers for themselves, they’re not going to get to the place that they really want to get in the way that they need to get there. Does that make sense?
[00:16:15] Jennifer Petrela: Makes perfect sense. And the powerful questions are one of the most important aspects of being a good mentor. So when I train mentors, I talk about communication. I talk about three things. First is active listening. Second is powerful questions.
Second is not telling them what you think. Second is not telling them what to do. Second is asking powerful questions. And then the third and only the third is feedback, and it has to fulfill very specific conditions to be useful.
[00:16:50] Calan Breckon: Yeah, I definitely say that because I would say my mentor, she is really good at going slow, being very thoughtful and asking me what I think. She provides her expertise in regards to the questions that I ask because finances, taxes, all these things, those are very specific questions. But when it comes to the more, I guess you can say esoteric kind of questions or like, inner thought.
Yeah, exactly. It’s very my own stuff. And she kind of is really good at just asking a question of like, okay, let’s talk a little bit more about, or tell me more about that, or open up a little bit more about that. And then I inevitably get to my own answer.
But it’s through her sitting and listening and being patient that really gets me there, because a lot of this is stuff you could potentially do by yourself, like meditation and getting quiet and listening to your inner thoughts, but having another human being to bounce these ideas off of. Sometimes we just want somebody as a mentee, we just want somebody to be like, you’re not crazy.
I felt like this as well. I went through this as well. It’s part of the learning journey and just be reassured.
[00:18:09] Jennifer Petrela: Yeah, there’s such a thing as collective intelligence?
Yes, absolutely. We have to clarify our thoughts. We can’t come to our mentors with a complete jumble and expect a miracle to happen. But there is such a thing as collective intelligence. Bouncing things off of people.
There’s a reason that we spend a lot of money in mirrors, because we need to look at ourselves. We need to have somebody reflect us. Absolutely. And, yeah, I agree with you. Going back to the touchstone image, mentors reveal the degree to which a mentee is clear in their thought.
Their project makes sense. It stands up to scrutiny and everything like that. But we’re not actually goldsmiths where we’ll beat the metal, beat the impurities out of the gold. That’s not our job. It’s the mentee who’s going to decide what to keep, what to throw away, what to develop, and so forth.
[00:19:05] Calan Breckon: Yeah, exactly. And I’m really curious. When it comes to actually being a mentor and tailoring your approach to the unique goals of each mentee, what are the considerations that the individual needs to have and to match the different personalities? Because I can only assume you’ve mentored probably a ton of people, and everybody’s so different. How do you kind of navigate those journeys of uniqueness?
[00:19:35] Jennifer Petrela: Yeah. So, this is the most important question in mentoring. Now, if you had asked me another question that might have been the most important, but this is a very important one, and it’s especially important for people who aren’t part of a majority group. Right. So, like, in many cases, people, LGBTQ plus people are not part of the majority group. And if we want people to shine, if we want them to realize their full potential, then we have to recognize and honor and teach them to honor everything in them that makes them unique. Okay, so how do we do that?
The rule of thumb always, of course, is 90% listening and asking questions and 10% talking as a mentor. Okay.
Second rule, I would say, or second advice would be to understand them. Don’t leap into advice. Seek to understand. So, how to tailor to their individual person? Well, listen with all your might.
Hold your breath and listen. That’s how hard you’re listening. And once you understand their individual personalities, what comes out of your mouth is likely to be a lot more pertinent. Third would be to open horizons. Right. So, sometimes. You mentioned earlier you were very focused on marketing. Well, what about this other aspect? And now you brought mentor ability to it because you’re open minded, but the mentor is not there only in a reactive stance, and it’s good that we’re clarifying this. Because just listening or listening, hard listening, actively asking powerful questions, doesn’t mean that you’re in a reactive stance.
It just gives you the information gathering stance, the information gathering kind of like status that allows you to open horizons, make suggestions. They can be crazy suggestions. Nothing wrong with crazy suggestions. It allows the mentee to reject them and say why they’re rejecting them.
But there may be a little something in that crazy suggestion that actually resonates. Right. So being courageous, opening horizons, making different suggestions.
Having said that, fourth rule of thumb, respect the mentee’s solutions and respect their timing, especially when people are not members of a majority group, right?
[00:21:49] Calan Breckon: Yes.
[00:21:50] Jennifer Petrela: This is very clear in the LGBTQ plus community. People come out when they’re good and ready to come out, and this is something that straight mentors sometimes need to be explained.
We explain this to mentors when we train mentors. We always say, don’t rush your mentee. They have their own timing, and there’s often very good reasons for it. You can ask questions and you should ask questions, but respecting their timing, not just in terms of coming out, but in terms of anything.
[00:22:20] Calan Breckon: Yeah.
You said something that I think is incredibly powerful. That hit me.
[00:22:27] Jennifer Petrela: Yes.
[00:22:27] Calan Breckon: That you said, listen, like, hold your breath. That’s how much you’re listening. And that strikes me really powerfully as somebody who is good at talking and grew up feeling like a bit of a. Bit of a know it all. I’m not at all, but I know I bring that energy and so If I were to be a mentor, I would have to hold on to that really tightly and be like, hold your breath.
And really, to get to that 90, 10%, 90% kind of rule, I would definitely have to hold my breath. I really like that because I think that.
I think there’s actually, like, what’s the right word? Pandemic, endemic epidemic of people who have absolutely no idea how to listen, even just in general in life. There are so many people out there in the world who have no idea how to listen to other people. And I see this in groups of friends, like gays. They’re all just talking at each other and over each other, and everybody’s just waiting for their time to speak and look important, and nobody’s actually listening or communicating with each other. There are. It’s not a paintbrush over everybody, but there’s a large majority of people who just speak and just don’t actually pay attention to what other people are saying. And it’s crazy.
[00:23:54] Jennifer Petrela: It is crazy. There’s a book that really opened my eyes to this. I think it’s called quiet the power of the.
[00:24:02] Calan Breckon: I I think I have that book.
[00:24:06] Jennifer Petrela: Well, I recommend it because it really underlined to me as a talker. Callan. I like to talk as well, but it really underlined to me the fact that when I’m quicker to talk than to listen, I’m actually excluding people. Okay. Because certain introverts often need longer silences in order to authorize themselves to listen. Sometimes they even need to be invited to speak in order to feel comfortable speaking. And there is no reason why the introverts among us should have less of an opportunity to express themselves than people like you and I, who like pretty comfortable talking. And so that has changed my practice quite a lot. I no longer assume that it’s just if somebody’s quiet, it’s because they like being quiet or whatever. I go out and seek them.
[00:25:02] Calan Breckon: Yeah, I do the same because I’m actually secret time. I’m actually a huge introvert. Like, I’m that shy kid who didn’t talk to anybody growing up, and I’m hugely introverted. I work from home. I love working from home. I love staying home and not going out. And when I’m in a large group or even just groups of people, I don’t know, I am more quiet than not. And people don’t notice it because they just kind of paint a certain picture of me. But if they really paid attention, they’d be like, it’s not really saying too much today, like, what’s going on? And it’s because there’s people I’ve not met before in that room.
[00:25:38] Jennifer Petrela: Right? Absolutely.
[00:25:40] Calan Breckon: And you need that space to be like, oh, okay. I feel comfortable. I’ve now observed enough to feel safe enough to talk in this room, and I think that that’s what it comes down for me.
[00:25:50] Jennifer Petrela: Absolutely.
And as mentors, we can make the space safer. We can talk less. We can wait. We can ask somebody else their opinion.
[00:26:04] Calan Breckon: Not feeling the need to fill the silence.
I want to ask, as a seasoned mentor, what advice would you offer someone who is seeking a mentor for the first time and looking to make the most out of this relationship?
[00:26:20] Jennifer Petrela: First of all, I would congratulate the person who’s thinking, because those who seek are already a little bit ahead of those who don’t. Okay. And studies have shown this, people who seek out a mentor are likelier to succeed, whether or not they are part of a formal mentorship, than people who even have access to a formal mentorship and decide to turn it down. Okay, so congratulations on you for seeking.
So there’s advice I would give about seeking and advice I would give about making the most of the mentoring relationship. So about seeking. Number one, don’t be seduced by big names. Sometimes we want to be mentored by Bill Gates. Not that I have anything for against Bill Gates, but the big name is seductive. Sometimes people in those positions don’t have the time or the bandwidth or whatever. So review your criteria carefully and try to think about who you need. And perhaps the big name isn’t exactly it. You might need that name for networking, but perhaps not for mentoring.
Second piece of advice, leave yourself a little bit of wiggle room. To match or to not match. So you mentioned earlier, Callum, that it doesn’t always gel.
Instead of approaching somebody and saying, hey, will you be my mentor for the next six months as I do this project? Maybe start with a little coffee or a little two meetings or something before kind of deciding, maybe look around a little bit.
Third piece of advice might be to be dependable. Okay, so here we are talking about how to practice good mentorship skills as a mentee.
Communicate if you’re late for a meeting, if you can’t make a meeting, if the meeting is too hard on the heels of another deadline, be responsible and communicate. Don’t leave your mentor without news. If you can’t meet with them as quickly as you do, say, listen, I’m still interested, but this is going on. I’ll get back to you in two weeks or whatever, and then honor your commitments. These kind of basic kind of relationship maintenance skills are very important in mentoring because mentoring is essentially a relationship. And then the fourth piece of advice when seeking is to make a move. Right. So give yourself a little bit of a timeline. Don’t sit there and say, okay, well, I want to have a mentor and perhaps I’ll find one. Okay, so what am I going to do this week? This week I’m going to look at LinkedIn and make myself a list of five potential mentors. Next week I’m going to write to two of them, that kind of thing.
What do you think about those?
[00:28:50] Calan Breckon: I love those. That’s very good. And also about the seeking the mentors. Sometimes we want the person who we notice, who talks a lot, who’s very boisterous, very loud and fun personality, and I really like that energy. And I want them to be the mentor. But taking this back to the really good listeners, sometimes they’re not the good listeners. So they might not necessarily actually make a good mentor. They could be great at both. I’m not saying they’re not. I’m just saying take that into consideration when you’re going through that. Let’s have a coffee or two. In the understanding that I’m looking for a mentor and making sure that you’ve let them know that you’re not. Just like, let’s go for a coffee. Make sure your intentions are known, that it’s like, I’m actively looking for this, but would you be interested? Let’s have a coffee and see if there’s the right kind of an energy there so that they also know that that’s what’s being looked at.
[00:29:49] Jennifer Petrela: Absolutely. I think, and you make a very good point.
I’m an advisor for a mentorship program in an artificial intelligence company, and one of the mentors there, he’s autistic. And the first thing he says to you when he meets you is, hi, blah, blah. I’m autistic.
And he finds it very difficult, not surprisingly, social interaction, so forth. He lifts his hand to be a mentor year after year in this program, and he is one of the most popular and effective mentors. He doesn’t speak very much in public settings, but he’s the unlikely candidate, if you will. And sometimes his mentees are the most social, gregarious, outgoing people, and they just adore him.
[00:30:35] Calan Breckon: Yeah. Because he’s probably a really good listener.
[00:30:38] Jennifer Petrela: Probably he is.
[00:30:41] Calan Breckon: This has been absolutely enlightening. I love mentorship. It has completely changed my life. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. I’m super excited about the work that you do. Where can people find out more about the work you do and all of that jazz?
[00:30:59] Jennifer Petrela: Oh, well, thank you so much, Calan. If you’re an anglophone, my LinkedIn site is the best place to look. All my articles are there in English. If you’re francophone, go to Montara, Quebec’s website because they’re all published there.
This is mentoring month. January is mentoring month of a year, and this year, Montara, Quebec, is kicking off the month with a webinar on LGBTQ plus mentoring. It’s on January 10, and it’s only in French, regrettably, but you’re more than welcome to take part of that. And this year, we’re also doing something special, is we’re developing a kit, a mentoring kit specifically focused on LGBTQ plus communities. So stay tuned. It’ll be published by the end of the year.
[00:31:42] Calan Breckon: Amazing. And on top of that, are there other programs just off the top of your head that you’re aware of? That also mentoring. Like, you could look here and you could look there.
[00:31:52] Jennifer Petrela: Absolutely. So the Canadian Chamber of LGBTQ plus Chamber of Commerce has a mentorship program.
[00:31:58] Calan Breckon: I went through it. You did the CGLCC folks. Yeah.
[00:32:04] Jennifer Petrela: Shout out to them. Shout out to queer tech. So if you’re in tech and you’re queer, they have a great mentorship program that has accomplished miracles.
And there’s others out there. Fondaco Merchants has a number of pride at work, talks about the importance of mentorship, and their latest publication gives examples of different companies that have LGBTQ mentorship. If you look around, you should find.
[00:32:29] Calan Breckon: Yeah, definitely. And the one that I got my mentor, my great mentor from is futurepreneur. They do a lot of loaning to people who might not necessarily qualify for loans, but with their program comes the agreement that you work with a mentor, and that’s where I found mine. So lots of good stuff out there. Thank you so much, Jen, for being on the show. I’m forever grateful for you and I look forward to seeing you at the.
[00:32:55] Jennifer Petrela: Next conference call, and you do fabulous work. Thanks to you. And we’ll see you there.
[00:33:01] Calan Breckon: Magical. Have a great one. Bye. I’m so glad I was able to get Jennifer on the podcast. If you have the opportunity to see her present anywhere, she is just absolutely, I highly, highly, highly suggest it.
Thank you again for tuning in today. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button. And if you really enjoyed today’s episode, I would love a star rating from you. The business gay podcast is written, produced, and edited by me, Calan Breckon. And if you’re looking for some SEO website audit advice, you can head on over to calanbreckon.com/audit and set up one with me. Or just click the link in the show notes. That’s it for today. Peace, love, rainbows.