Mentoring is a win-win relationship. While the benefits of being mentored – receiving guidance and support to achieve career goals – are more obvious, the rewards for mentors aren’t always talked about.

That’s why we sat down with HRPA mentor, Nupur Khandelwal, M.Ed, CHRL who is also the Senior Manager of Learning and Development at LCBO and on the HRPA Toronto Chapter’s Board of Directors. She talks about how the HRPA Mentorship Program has been a powerful professional growth tool in her life and the lives of those she mentors.

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

I’ve benefited a lot from having mentors in my life — a number of mentors have supported and guided me throughout my career journey. So, I’ve always wanted to give back and be a mentor. It’s the reason I joined the HRPA Mentorship Program as a mentor a number of years ago.

Since then I’ve had the opportunity to be matched with four incredible mentees. I’ve enjoyed seeing them make progress and develop their own career paths over the past few years. It’s been such an eye-opening opportunity that has really helped to expand my own perspective on the HR profession.

How has becoming a mentor impacted you professionally and personally?

As a first generation immigrant to Canada, I’m very passionate about connecting and supporting newcomers to Canada. So, I was very intentional about aligning many of my mentorship partnerships in such a way that I’m able to connect with internationally-trained professionals — and I can be part of their journey, helping them integrate with the Canadian workforce. So that’s been really meaningful for me.

At every stage of my career, whether it’s when I was new to Canada or I was a student or even when I was a more seasoned professional, I’ve always sought out mentorship relationships. That’s why I would say as a mentor if you can align your partnership with your values and interests, mentoring can be a very impactful experience.

What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to mentoring?

Sometimes life happens, right? And unexpected things come up that may make it a bit harder to stay focused on your initial goals. So, what has helped me is to remain open to change and to keep conversations going to make sure the mentee and I are on track. During conversations with my mentees, I also like to keep revisiting goals to ensure what I’m offering is helpful or to see if there’s anything I can do differently to ensure that they are receiving the proper support.

Here’s an example: Before 2020, I often hosted a lot of in-person mentoring relationships and then during the pandemic it was initially challenging to switch it to a virtual environment and to reestablish trust in a virtual environment. But I think that is something that happened over time through ongoing discussions with my mentees. Challenges come our way, no doubt. Yet if we’re willing to adapt and remain open to having tough, vulnerable conversations, we’re able to navigate through most situations successfully.

What’s your advice to other people considering joining the HRPA Mentorship Program – either as a mentor or a mentee or both?

I find that there’s a lot more interest in joining as a mentee because we tend to focus on our gaps and the areas we want to develop. But there are a ton of professional development opportunities that mentors gain too.

If you’re considering exploring the program as a mentor, I would say reflect back on your life experiences, on your HR journey, and think about the ways you might be able to be of service to others. Also, remember that becoming a mentor does not mean you can’t be a mentee too. As lifelong learners, there’s room in this program to be both.

Interested in Becoming a Mentor?

You don’t need special skills to become a mentor. All you need is an open mind and the willingness to share your knowledge and positively impact the HR professionals in the community. Sign up today!