From mentee to mentor: Maya’s story

July 30, 2021

By Mischa Milne, Communications Coordinator

A year after arriving in Canada from Bulgaria, Maya Paskova made a phone call that would change the direction of her career – she joined MOSAIC’s Workplace Connections Mentoring Program.

An electrical engineer by trade, Maya was matched with another engineer – and although the program only lasted three months, the pair have kept in touch for nearly a decade.

Maya’s career as an electrical engineer led her to her current position with the City of Vancouver, a role she said she could never have imagined when she first arrived in Canada.

“To go from not knowing any words in English ten years ago to participating in the decisions made by the City of Vancouver…it’s pretty amazing,” she says.

It was Maya’s Career Mentor that encouraged her to give back to the Workplace Connections program as a Mentor herself, and in 2019 she picked up the phone again to return to MOSAIC as a volunteer.

“I took his encouragement personally and said to him that once I became an engineer, I would come back to MOSAIC – and I did.”

To date, Maya has been a Career Mentor to four newcomers and helped guide them through the job application process in Canada. Her most recent mentee arrived in Canada in the summer of 2020 and was able to secure an engineering position in November, an accomplishment Maya says made her particularly proud due to the delays and challenges that the pandemic has caused for job applicants.

“The small things about mentoring – the look in someone’s eyes when they thank you – are what make me happy. Because I’ve been there, not long ago, and I know that every small act of kindness counts.”

As a newcomer herself, Maya says she is able to inform other newcomers about the cultural differences in the Canadian job market. While each mentee has different needs and is at a unique place in their career journey, working with a Career Mentor is something that can make a world of difference in their transition.

“As a newcomer, I was scared when I’d see really long job postings, and would automatically assume I wasn’t qualified. But when you have a Career Mentor, they can encourage you and help you make your application as strong as possible.”

There are a number of Career Mentors at MOSAIC just like Maya – passionate about supporting newcomers and giving back to their communities. If you’d like to learn more about the Workplace Connections Mentoring Program, click here to apply.