WOI ButtonFor our third annual survey of women making an impact on B.C., we honour those who support others’ success

What is mentorship?

Ask a group of women that question, and you’ll probably get more answers than there are people in the room. That was our experience at the Vancouver Club in November, when for the third year we turned to a panel of experts to help us identify B.C.’s most influential women. The focus this time around: leaders who are outstanding mentors.

The panel offered plenty of suggestions, leaving us to narrow the field down to 30 women from business and other walks of life. Our list could have been much longer: those featured here represent excellence, but they have a host of equally deserving peers.

As we’ve learned, mentorship has many dimensions and shades of meaning. Is a mentor a sounding board? A role model? Should mentorship be formal or informal? Should it have a direct outcome? For panellist Nanon de Gaspé Beaubien-Mattrick, the ultimate goal is sponsorship—championing someone for a position. “Because mentoring is quiet, it can be unseen, unheard, and I don’t know if I’m having an impact,” she said. “If I’m a sponsor, I know I’m having an impact because either the person makes it to the C-suite or the board or they don’t.”

The mentees we interviewed have found encouragement and support for their personal lives as valuable as help with that promotion. For mentors, the rewards can also be generous. “Mentorship is more listening and coaching,” said panellist Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancouver City Savings Credit Union. “Through that listening, the mentor—at least in my case—learns as much as, if not more than, the mentee.”

Talking to mentors and mentees also showed us how many B.C. organizations make it their goal to help women succeed. With backing from our mentors, these groups and agencies seek to level the playing field in what is still a man’s world.

Whatever mentorship means to you, we hope you find the women (and a few good men) recognized here as inspiring as we do.

 

Our Panel of Experts

Nanon de Gaspé Beaubien-Mattrick, Founder and President, Beehive Holdings

Fiona Douglas-Crampton, President and CEO, Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education 

Chair, Women’s Leadership Circle, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

Jill Earthy, Chief Growth Officer, FrontFundr

Tracey McVicar, Managing Partner, CAI Capital Management Co.

Kelly Thomas, Director of Sales, The Vancouver Club

Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO, Vancouver City Savings Credit Union