Randall Kahrim: A Mentor Story

Randall, born and raised in Edmonton, is a graduate of NAIT’s computer engineering technology program. He started his career as a software developer, and then worked with the IT service desk for the City of Edmonton before joining Enbridge Pipelines.

He first heard about ERIEC and the Career Mentorship Program in the Enbridge coffee room. Randall tips his hat to Enbridge for its strong belief in diversification in the workforce, and for tapping into the immigrant talent pool.

Randall says communication, spoken and non-verbal, is a major challenge for many newcomers.“Newcomers also have problems just picking up on the social cues of the Canadian culture – being able to find the right resources and the right job search tools. Newcomers just lack experience in the Canadian workplace.”

Randall also saw an opportunity to improve his leadership skills through mentoring, “but the bottom line is I just like helping people.”

He offers kudos to the organizers of the Career Mentorship Program. “I’m impressed with the program. I really like the process of selection and pairing, and the materials set out the ideal scenarios for both the mentee and the mentor. My mentee (Lourdes Pelayo from Mexico) and I get along very well.”

The pair met first at the career mentoring orientation session after which they met weekly to get to know each other, set their goals and identify areas that need improvement.

“I offered lots of feedback on areas I felt she could improve for the Canadian job market. We also looked at available job postings, reviewed cover letters and resumes and practised mock interviews.”

Randall said Lourdes’ understanding of the Canadian work culture was accurate – to a point; however, some things covered in the mentorship workshop proved surprising to her. In Mexico, for example, most employees don’t try to make themselves noticed by going above and beyond. The Mexican culture sees such action as showy, over-confident. “In Canada, that’s one of the ways you get ahead.”

Randall and Lourdes also talked through various job scenarios. For example, they discussed how a new employee could build relationships with colleagues. “Simple things to us like inviting a fellow employee to coffee or lunch were new to her. I told her she could even invite her supervisor because the chain of command in Canada isn’t so regimented.”

“It’s very gratifying seeing Lourdes’ confidence grow. As responses from her resumes came in, she felt better and better. She did find a job, and she’s well on track now to pursue her career. I am so proud of Lourdes’ progress thus far and look forward to hearing about her many accomplishments to come.”

Randall says he will stay involved in the ERIEC program. “I like helping people and I see how the program is helping the business community. It gives corporations exposure into our untapped international workforce.”

He encourages others to get involved. “I think it would be great if more local professionals tried it. One of my colleagues and I were in the same mentorship group – but there’s lots more people like me can do for fellow professionals new to our community.”

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