Hannah Tait standing in room with greenery in background.
Teaching & Learning Alumni

UR Linked mentorship program helps build community through networking

06 April 2023
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As the days grow longer and lighter, and the winter semester draws to a close, many students are thinking about what may lay ahead after graduation. Questions about the future — and a lack of clear direction — often comes with the territory of being a new graduate. Finding a mentor is a great way to learn and benefit from the experience of others, and makes those first steps into the working world a bit easier to take.

UR Linked, the University of Regina’s mentoring hub, provides opportunities for current U of R students and recent graduates to be matched with alumni mentoring in their fields of study or interest. The program runs through the 10,000 Coffees platform which creates regular matches between those looking for guidance and mentors with experience to share.

Mentors can offer much-needed career guidance

Hannah Tait BBA’22 knows what it’s like to explore a number of avenues before finding one’s path. Before graduating from the University of Regina, she’d pursued a variety of areas of study — from finance to biomedical science. Last year, she took part in the Cultivator Powered by Conexus 24 Hour AgTech Start Up at the Canada Farm Show, presenting an app aimed at fighting food insecurity. Tait got involved with UR Linked while still a student and says the mentors she was connected with offered a lot of much-needed guidance – not just around the nuts and bolts of how to navigate the road from student-to-working life, but also through exposure to those leadership skills that help lay the foundation for a dynamic career.

“My mentors have shared stories from their working lives, and I’ve been able to learn about emotional intelligence – how they’ve spoken to people, how they’ve dealt with frustrating situations or uncertainty,” Tait says. “I think that my mentors really helped me cultivate the values that I started developing at university — and now in my career — inspiring me to continue exploring while staying true to my values.

A point that’s sometimes lost when people consider pursuing mentorship opportunities: It’s helpful for students to know that finding out what you don’t want is just as important as discovering what you do want. Mid-and late-career mentors are able to share the realities of their fields of expertise, and shed light on the finer points of their work that may not be immediately obvious from the outside.

“I was able to connect with one person in particular through UR Linked who held a position I thought I wanted to pursue,” Tait says. “I ended up deciding that career wasn’t for me. I'm still in touch with this mentor, but I just knew that I wouldn't really be able to get my dream job if I continued on that path.”

 My mentors really helped me cultivate the values that I started developing at university — and now in my career — inspiring me to continue exploring while staying true to my values.
- Hannah Tait BBA’22

The relationships formed through mentorship match-ups can last throughout one’s working life, with mentors often getting as much out of the partnerships as students.

Mark Stefan BAdmin’85 is a long-time mentor, having offered guidance to more than 17 students since he started mentoring in 2010. “For me, it’s a part of who I am,” he says. “The students think it’s all about them, but I really get energized by spending time with young people. I’ve been matched with three or four International graduate students through the U of R, and it’s very interesting to hear their perspective.”

These days, Tait is working in business development with a Saskatchewan-based digital marketing company. She says the networking skills and connections she developed through UR Linked have been a definite advantage, even now with her foot firmly in the door of the working world.

Find out how you can sign up for mentoring through UR Linked.

“It’s about building relationships that leaves both parties better off – and when you’re doing it in multiple ways through something like UR Linked, you're building a community that you can fall back on when you have a question or need help, or want to make a connection with another person,” she says. “In the business field, everybody talks about building networks, which is great but building a ‘network’ sounds cold. I think, fundamentally, networking is really about building a community.”

Banner photo credit: U of R Photography

About the University of Regina

Set in the heart of the Canadian prairies we are a comprehensive, mid-sized university where the opportunities are as limitless as the horizon. Our campuses are on Treaty 4 and 6 - the territories of the nêhiyawak, Anihšināpēk, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda peoples, and the homeland of the Michif/Métis nation. It is our responsibility to strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities to build a more inclusive future for all. Our three federated colleges, 10 faculties, 25 academic departments, and 18 research centres foster innovative research with practical and theoretical applications. We are committed to cultivating the potential of our 16,000 students and supporting their health and well-being. We take learning beyond the classroom through work and volunteer experiences to develop career-ready graduates.

Let’s go far, together.

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