The benefits of mentorship are vast, both for mentees and mentors. Numerous studies have even proven the powerful effects mentoring can have, from mental and emotional health to increased likelihood of promotion and higher compensation.

But even with all these compelling stats and reasons for joining the HRPA Mentorship Program at your fingertips, we know that some things are best understood when experienced. So, during International Mentoring Month, we’re giving members the opportunity to sign up to the online mentoring program for a 1-2 hour, one-off conversation with a mentee enrolled into the program. Support, inspire and share your insights with a mentee by signing up for this opportunity! Email the team at to learn more.

Need more inspiration? We spoke with HRPA mentor, Helen Patterson, LL.B., LL.M., HR Strategic Consultant, Life Works Well, and her mentee (and current mentor), Sania Sanzgiri, CHRP, CHRL, HR Business Partner, The Central Group, about their incredible mentorship experience in the HRPA Mentorship Program. They discussed their mentorship journey and the steps they took to build not only a fulfilling mentoring relationship but one that’s had a huge impact on the HR community. Check out the interview!

Helen Patterson, LL.B., LL.M, HR Strategic Consultant, Life Works Well and Sania Sanzgiri, CHRP, CHRL, HR Business Partner, The Central Group

When did you decide to become a mentor/mentee and why did you make this decision?

Helen Patterson: Mentorship is a huge passion of mine mainly because I didn’t always have mentors growing up or in the early stages of my career. I wanted to give back to the HR community who contribute to making the world of work a better place.

I first became involved in the HRPA Mentorship Program in 2018 as a volunteer, and then eventually became the Chapter Mentorship Chair. It was at this time I became more actively involved in mentoring.

My belief is that everyone should have a mentor throughout each stage of life and throughout their careers. A world with mentors for all is a better world, where everyone is given the opportunity to reach their full potential. Imagine the possibilities if every child, every teen, every student, every adult and every employee has the opportunity to learn and grow from someone else? That is the world I envision.

Sania Sanzgiri: Mentoring is a journey that never stops! In fact, I decided to become a mentor after my experience in the HRPA Mentorship Program as a mentee. Helen and I were in a mentoring relationship for 3 years and since I was an Internationally Educated HR professional, I benefitted from her experience and advice as I was integrating into the Canadian job market.

Soon after my experience with Helen, I decided to give back as a mentor. Much of my time as a mentor was spent working with Internationally Educated HR Professionals since I was familiar with the challenges and barriers that they generally faced. I have been a mentor for 2+ years now and am grateful to be able to make new relationships and support others through this program.

What do you think are the most important lessons learned from your experiences as a mentor?

Helen Patterson: We can all learn from each other. Mentorship is truly about growing and learning together. I believe another important lesson I’ve learned over the years is that mentoring creates a ripple effect since we always have something to give to each other.

Finally, one of my first mentees was Sania and some of the key things we discovered is that both mentors and mentees need a commitment to the relationship. You need to feel connected to each other and you need structure. Having concrete goals to work towards, and a plan will help a mentee move forward.

Sania Sanzgiri: In my mentoring journey, I realized mentoring is as much about counseling or reassurance as it is about transferring knowledge and skills. In some cases, just being a sounding board for mentees worked wonders.

Secondly, it is important to encourage your mentees to think for themselves. Rather than handing them the solutions, I prefer to teach them the thought processes and general framework for dealing with certain situations. I relate this to my own journey as a mentee with Helen where open discussion and sharing thoughts, questions and concerns were encouraged. Her wisdom and perspective helped me think outside the box and see my career and growth from a new vantage point.

Also, whether you’re a mentee or mentor, I think a bit of reassurance and appreciation can go a long way!

What do you think are the benefits of mentoring for both the mentor and the mentee – and why should people consider joining the HRPA Mentorship Program?

Helen Patterson: Being a mentor is one of the most rewarding experiences. I love watching my mentees grow and develop and move towards their dreams and aspirations.

And it really is a reciprocal relationship as there is always something that you learn from each other. Being there to lift each other up, open up and cheer each other on is a huge part of it. As an HRPA member, finding others who inspire you to reach new goals, or learning from someone who has more experience is incredible and will make your career journey that much easier.

I mean watching Sania grow into this confident, experienced HR professional who can now share her knowledge with others is what I hope everyone experiences!

Sania Sanzgiri: The benefits of mentoring are countless. For instance, as a mentee I found myself being able to ask questions that otherwise I would have hesitated to ask at my workplace. It encouraged me to think big, set goals and develop action plans.

As a mentor, I was able to grow my leadership skills, gain new perspectives, keep myself current and updated and remind myself to follow my own advice!

The HRPA Mentorship Program made it easy for me. It is an all-in-one platform that helps in matching you with someone with similar interests and goals. It’s easy to use, and as a participant, you can use it to share information and keep track of your meetings and development. I would highly recommend using this tool!

Interested in Becoming a Mentor or a Mentee? Sign up today!