Ready…Set…Mentor! event pairs students with accomplished alumni

If you could bend the ear of a CEO or media guru for five minutes, what would you discuss?

This is the question 47 York students asked themselves in preparation for the third annual Ready…Set…Mentor! event, held in York Hall on the Glendon campus.

Based on the popular concept of speed dating, Ready…Set…Mentor! pairs York students with industry leaders from business, media, arts, entertainment, law and government for one hour of five-minute, one-on-one sessions. Students ask questions and seek advice on a variety of topics ranging from career options to academics to life coaching.

Above: From left, Mentors Terrie-Lynne Devonish (BA ’92, LLB ’95), chief counsel, Aon Consulting Inc. and member of York’s Board of Governors; Guy Burry (BA ’82), chairman, president & CEO of Tenth Power Technologies Inc, member of York’s Board of Governors and the York University Foundation’s Board of Directors; and Sandra Levy (BA ’90, LLB ’95), vice-president, human resources and chief people officer, Canadian National Institute for the Blind

Among the participating alumni were former Ontario premier Ernie Eves (LLB ’70); York Regional Police Chief Armand La Barge (BA ’95); Ellis Jacob (MBA ’76), president & CEO, Cineplex Entertainment LP; former CIBC CEO John Hunkin (MBA ’69, Hon. LLD ’04); Sandie Rinaldo (BA Hons. ’73), weekend anchor, “CTV National News”; Terrie-Lynne Devonish (BA ’92, LLB ’95), chief counsel, Aon Canada Inc.; Paul Tsaparis (MBA ’84), vice-president, technology support for Americas region, Hewlett-Packard Company; Chiefswood Investors Ltd. President Robert Krembil (MBA ’71, Hon. LLD ’00); and Lata Pada (MA ’96), artistic director & dancer/choreographer, Sampradaya Dance Creations.

Left: Mentor Ellis Jacob (MBA ’76), president & CEO, Cineplex Entertainment LP, with a York student

“York University is fortunate to have a network of accomplished and supportive alumni eager to share their time and wisdom with our students,” says Mamdouh Shoukri, York’s president & vice-chancellor. “It is really great to see that this institution has the support of so many kind and generous individuals, who are equally as passionate about this University.”

Right: York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri

One of the nearly 50 mentors showing their York spirit at the Sept. 21 event was a voice familiar to CBC Radio One listeners. Jill Dempsey (BA ’04), host and newsreader of “Metro Morning”, emceed the event and served as a mentor. Dempsey, the show’s longtime news writer and newsreader, majored in political science as a mature student in the former Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies.

“I’m a big supporter of mentorship, so when I was asked to get involved, I didn’t even have to think about it,” says Dempsey. “I urge students here tonight to take the advice given by the mentors and I hope that when the time comes, York students of today will return the favour for the next generation.”

Students appeared to heed Dempsey’s advice, engaging enthusiastically with mentors and sticking around for extended networking after the sessions ended.

Left: Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts with mentor Robert Krembil (MBA ’71, Hon. LLD ’00), president, Chiefswood Investors Ltd, and Paul Marcus, president & CEO, York University Foundation

“Ready…Set…Mentor! creates an environment where it’s easier to speak with CEOs,” says Ankit Mishra, a fifth-year mathematics student at the Glendon campus who intends to pursue graduate studies in international economics. “The informal setting takes away some of the awe and intimidation we might otherwise feel, allowing us to see leaders in a different light.”

The low-pressure atmosphere is one of the event’s strengths, says Paul Marcus, president & CEO of the York University Foundation.

Right: Linda Goldberg (BSW ’03, MSW ’05) with student Eve Kachaje

“Most students can’t get direct access to Canada’s leaders and pick their brains. This is a unique opportunity for York students to learn from those who have gone before them so that they may forge their own paths, personally and professionally,” says Marcus. “We thank mentors and student mentees for making the event a success.”

Ready…Set…Mentor! was sponsored by TD Meloche Monnex as part of the York Alumni Perks Program and by Mackenzie Investments.