Mentorship Program

Ginny Jones discussing 'what a mentor is' with 2015-16 Mentorship Program participants.

Ginny Jones discussing ‘what a mentor is’ with 2015-16 Mentorship Program participants.

Each year more than a dozen mentor/mentee relationships are formed through the CPRS Hamilton mentorship program.

Below are some frequently asked questions to help you determine if the program is the right fit for you.

What is the time commitment and program structure?

As a member of the CPRS Hamilton Mentorship Program, you will make a seven-month commitment (October 2016 to April 2017) to building a two-way relationship and staying connected.

Together, you will develop a set of goals based on your individual needs and interests and set out a path for how you’ll achieve those goals.

The mentorship committee will provide you with interactive and learning-based event programming and support to help build your relationship.

Important: Mentees are expected to attend, at the least five out of six mentorship events and together as a group will participate in the planning of a reverse mentoring event.

You must be available to attend the first mentorship match-up event, which will be held during the second week of October.

You are committing to join not only a program – but a professional community of other mentees and mentors, in which contribution and active participation is a requirement. You’ll find that the greater the involvement, the better the experience and learning!

What are benefits of this program?

Being a Mentee can help you develop personal and professional skills and insights that will help you advance in your career. As a mentee you’ll gain:

  • Access to an intermediate or senior practitioner in your field of interest who can serve as a guide and confidant as you progress in your PR career.
  • An opportunity to gain valuable industry skills and knowledge.
    Building essential networking skills as well as establishing a network of PR contacts.
  • Guidance with writing your resume, developing your portfolio or other career advice.

Being a Mentor can be a highly rewarding and satisfying experience. Some of the benefits to you include:

  • An opportunity to enhance your communication and leadership skills.
    A chance to broaden your own network as you become engaged in the world of an intermediate or junior practitioner or PR student.
  • A sense of accomplishment and pride as you participate in the successes of your mentee.
  • Increased recognition from your peers and professional society for your contributions to our profession.
  • Learning through the knowledge of your mentee and other mentees and mentors in the program.

How can I join?

Applications are now closed for the 2016-2017 program year.

Important: The program is open to CPRS members only. Visit the CPRS Hamilton Membership page for membership benefits and fees.

An ideal mentor is someone with a minimum of five to 10 years’ full-time experience in Public Relations in any employment sector. An APR designation is an asset.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please contact the CPRS Hamilton Mentorship Committee at:

What have previous years' mentees liked best?

As part of the CPRS Hamilton mentorship program evaluation, we asked our program participants to share their feedback.

Here’s what mentees and mentors liked best:

  • Networking and practical advice
  • Close guidance, supervision and friendly advice of my mentor
  • Opportunity to share skills and knowledge
  • Learning about the different areas within PR
  • Access to a good cross section of mentors with my career

What have previous years' mentors liked best?

  • Really well organized
  • Opportunity to meet and work with emerging PR practitioners
  • Opportunity to share expertise and knowledge of the profession
  • Opportunity to give back to the profession
  • Having something to do for my profession that wasn’t directly related to my work
  • Meeting & talking with the students – exchange of ideas.

Group Events Schedule

Six group events take place during the program, from mid-October 2016 to April 2017. Here is the tentative schedule (dates and locations are subject to change):

October 12, 2016 – Mentorship Match Up
6:30 to 9 p.m. – The Hamilton Spectator, Auditorium, 44 Frid St., Hamilton

November 3, 2016 – Table Talk – Choose your own adventure: Career Paths in Communications & PR
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Burlington City Hall, 426 Brant St., Rm. 247

December 7, 2016 – The Art of Small Talk: Survival Guide to Networking & CPRS Social (Humbug)
5:30 p.m. sharp – Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Rd. W, Burlington

January 9, 2017 – Career Planning Workshop: Resume Writing & Interview Techniques
6:30 to 9 p.m. – CoMotion on King, 115 King St. E, 3rd Floor, Hamilton

February 2017 – Mix & Match: Mock Interviews (independently led)
Mentors/mentees team up with another mentorship pair to facilitate mock interviews. Mentees can apply what they learned at the January event.

March 30, 2017 – Reverse Mentoring Event
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – venue TBD

May 17, 2017 – Program Wrap Up &
10 Year Anniversary Celebration

Hamilton Club
Keynote speaker and year-end social to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the program.

In the case of inclement weather, the event will be re-scheduled for the following week, time and venue availability permitting.

For more information, contact CPRS Hamilton
2016-17 Mentorship Committee Co-Chairs
Holly Unruh and Kim Sopko at:

Hilary Sadler presenting a personal branding workshop to 2015-16 Mentorship Program participants.

Hilary Sadler presenting a personal branding workshop to 2015-16 Mentorship Program participants.

The 2016-2017 Mentorship Program will be wrapping up with a 10-year anniversary celebration of the program during the May 17 AGM at the Hamilton Club. We’re looking forward to having our current and previous mentees and mentors join us for an exciting evening of awards, keynote speakers, and celebration!

Applications are now closed for the 2016-17 mentorship program.
Keep an eye out for applications for the 2017-18 program this summer.

Mentorship Articles

Profile of the Ideal Mentor

By R. Bruce Stock, CD, BA, APR, FCPRS

Bruce Stock shares his wisdom on the kinds of qualifications and skills today’s mentor requires to be effective and some of the many inherent rewards that mentoring offers. Bruce was named 2009-2010 Mentor of the Year at the CPRS Hamilton Pinnacle Awards Gala. Bruce has served as a mentor for both CPRS Hamilton and CPRS Toronto and is an active member of the CPRS Hamilton Mentorship Committee.

In the second decade of the 21st Century, younger Public Relations practitioners are frequently graduates of postsecondary programs that provide important writing and PR planning skills. Their early careers are spent building a foundation in the practice of Public Relations and their involvement in professional associations, like the Canadian Public Relations Society, means they can develop a network and a knowledge-base by participating in professional development events, the awards programs (local and national), APR accreditation at the 5+ year milestone and via the mentorship program.

In response, CPRS Hamilton has created programming and, a superior mentorship program, which ensures our mentors are equipped and ready to deliver a quality mentoring experience. The mentorship committee seeks mentors who see mentoring as both a gift they can offer younger practitioners as well as, a privilege to participate and learn from today’s talent.

Are coaching and mentoring the same thing?

(reprinted with permission from Gord Neufeld)

We were recently asked by a prospective client “what was the difference between a mentor and a coach?” We answered that “the relationship between a coach and a client is fundamentally different than that of mentor/mentee. The coach is responsible for performance while the mentor is focused on the individual. Mentors have a bias that is toward the individual. If the mentor didn’t like the mentee it’s likely the relationship would not flourish. A coach on the other hand is more impartial; focused on improvement and understanding.” Coaches can certainly like their client – mentoring often begins with a friendship.

Have you ever had a mentor? I have just finished a rewarding experience as a mentor for a young woman in public relations. This mentoring relationship was through an organized program established by the Hamilton chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society, to match mentors (experienced senior practitioners) and young practitioners embarking on a PR career. Some of the mentees were already starting their careers and others were just leaving school. I have been a mentor in the program for three years – with very different mentees. The process is always one of discovery for both mentor and mentee. In fact as part of the mentoring process I got a crash course in social media from a group of Gen Y mentees.

In my career I have had several mentors who have been extremely valuable in many ways. One helped to direct me toward a profession. Another helped to direct me away from same profession! (with a span of almost 15 years in between.) My mentors were always the unofficial kind, open to having a tea or a beer and helping to put things in perspective. Today I still have friends whom I would call mentors and I also have a coach with whom I meet virtually every two weeks.

“In Greek mythology, Mentor was the son of Alcumus and, in his old age, a friend of Odysseus. When Odysseus left for the Trojan War he placed Mentor in charge of his son, Telemachus, and of his palace. When Athena visited Telemachus she took the disguise of Mentor to hide herself from the suitors of Telemachus’ mother Penelope. As Mentor, the goddess encourages Telemachus to stand up against the suitors and go abroad to find out what happened to his father.When Odysseus returns to Ithaca, Athena (in the form of Mentor) takes the form of a swallow and the suitors’ arrows have no effect on him.” (wikipedia)

I love how the Mentor somehow is not affected by the suitors’ arrows. Mentors are protectors and nurturers while coaches are about soaring and reaching new heights.

Do you have a mentor? Has your company or organization established a mentorship program? Engaging your people in an activity such as mentoring can offer many possibilities for both parties. Take the above example of social media. The pairing of a more senior executive with a newer recruit can expand to a valuable knowledge transfer of company history, relationships and information. Turning it around allows the more experienced executive to be mentored on the possibilities of new media within the organization. The real value of course is in the learning. The type of learning: organized, spontaneous, unexpected – doesn’t change the outcome of knowledge expansion that is both deeper and broader across the organization.

Do you know someone who could benefit from a mentor with your knowledge? Offering your wisdom to a young leader reaps mutual benefit for both. Have you had someone who you have considered a mentor? If you have been lucky enough to have experienced this special relationship, a coaching opportunity would be: acknowledge their contribution to your success.