Reflection on the Ontario Urban Forest Council’s Mentorship Program

Janice Lam — A Mentee’s Perspective

“I am reflecting on my mentorship experience with Jennifer Gagné through the Ontario Urban Forest Council (OUFC) mentorship program. I joined the program during the pandemic; I was not entirely sure where my career was headed, having been on multiple contract positions for the better part of 2020. Our mentoring relationship consisted of regular emails and monthly video calls discussing new topics. She shared her experiences and provided advice which I found invaluable to my own career planning. I am grateful for the industry insights and connections I’ve made through this program. Jennifer has been an exceptional mentor and a constant support throughout the process. She has supported me through my job search, interview preparation, winter twig identification, and goal setting. She has given me the confidence to take a role in Sault Ste. Marie, leaving the comfort of the GTA. All in all, this was an incredible experience that I would recommend to other prospective mentees who are looking to start their careers in the urban forestry field. I look forward to staying connected with Jennifer in the future!”

Jennifer Gagné – A Mentor’s Perspective

“In October 2020, I joined the OUFC Urban Forestry Mentorship Program as a mentor. At first, I was a bit hesitant to take on the role, seeing as I had only been working in the field for 7 years, but I was assured that it would be a good fit. The program is mentee-driven with support from the OUFC, so thankfully, it was manageable with my busy schedule, and I was very lucky that my assigned mentee, Janice Lam, also a Master of Forest Conservation graduate, was very keen, organized, and driven to make the most out of the partnership.

At one of our first meetings, we identified areas for improvement. We worked on confidence, strengthening communication skills and I also provided guidance when she had questions about what opportunities to go after and what training could help her on her path. We practiced mock interviews, I opened my network to her when appropriate and I was able to pass on some of the opportunities that I had when I was fresh out of school.

My initial hesitancy of taking on the role quickly vanished as I saw how much we were both getting out of the program. I was so proud when she got her first interview and even prouder when she got not just one, but multiple job offers! I’m so happy to now have Janice in my network as a friend and colleague. I recommend the program to anyone that has made a career in Urban Forestry and is ready to transfer the invaluable knowledge that experience provides.”

Learn more about the Ontario Urban Forest Council’s Mentorship Program here