Mike and Lian were both working as professionals supporting higher education and various internationalization agendas at their respective institutions. They got connected through the Canadian Bureau for International Education’s (CBIE) International Network of Tomorrow’s Leaders (INTL) learning community. The INTL professional learning community provides an environment for new professionals and emerging leaders to cultivate professional networks and engage themselves in the community of Canadian international education. Lian and Mike found that they had much in common and shared similar joys as well as challenges in the field of international education.
For Mike, as a relative newcomer to working in an international department, the initial motivation to engage in the INTL mentorship program was professional. He hoped to benefit from the wisdom and experience of someone who had been down a similar path already. Mike, also a graduate student, was looking for specific career advice on how to integrate and leverage his professional and academic pursuits. During an initial meeting with Lian, Mike mentioned that he was considering presenting some of his early research at the 2016 Ontario Association of International Education conference. Lian was able to offer guidance on writing a proposal, planning a workshop, and most importantly offered steady encouragement and important feedback. The result was a successful conference proposal and a significant step forward in terms of career development.
Mike suggests that fellow mentees enter the experience with an open mind and also spend time considering their goals and communicate this openly with their mentor.
This is Lian’s third year as a mentor in the INTL program, providing support to new professionals in the community of Canadian international education. In her eyes, participation in a mentorship relationship provides benefits in equal measure to both mentor and mentee. Lian has been involved in international education for over 20 years – mainly as an educator, more recently as an administrator, and always as a learner. As she shared stories of her past experiences, challenges, and lessons learned, Mike’s thoughtful reflections allowed her to see these experiences with a new perspective.
Mike and Lian agree that what started as a task oriented formal mentorship relationship has evolved into an important friendship. While they found that meeting virtually on Skype enabled a productive meeting space, they hope to actually meet in person one day!
Mike Boylan is a Coordinator for Global Engagement Programming at Wilfrid Laurier University. Evangelia (Lian) Dumouchel is Principal Lecturer at the Tourism Management Department (formerly Director, Global Engagement) at Thompson Rivers University.