Reflections on the first YPAC-led Mentorship Program

The following is Katia Greco’s reflection from the experience of organizing the first YPAC-led Mentorship Program.

In May 2020 I graduated from the University of Calgary, which meant I was also graduating from my position as YPAC UCalgary’s Co-President. However, I knew that I was not done with my time of creating connections for students within the pipeline industry. When asked by Young Pipeliners’ President and CEO Molly Beckel where I saw myself fitting within the organization post-graduation, I jumped on the opportunity to create a new means for Young Pipeliners’ to connect students and industry professionals. This was the genesis of the YPAC Mentorship Program.

In October 2020, we kicked off the first-ever YPAC-led mentorship program. The program ran over 8-months, which included a minimum of 4 meetings between the partners and 3 Young Pipeliners’ hosted events.

The goal of the program was to connect students and industry professionals across Canada. This was achieved by helping students accomplish professional development goals with a targeted action plan and enabling networking among students and industry professionals.

During the 2020-2021 offering, Young Pipeliners’ connected 50 students and industry professionals from 5 different provinces and 8 different cities across Canada. The mentees spanned from 2nd-year students to graduate studies and the mentors had anywhere from 2-15+ years of experience.

At the April 2021 closing event, we spoke about the importance of participants reflecting on their learnings from within the program. I believe this is also true for Young Pipeliners’, at the beginning of the program I told myself that if we were able to facilitate even one meaningful partnership that the program would be a success. However, looking back on the program I believe we were able to achieve much more than that. It was truly inspiring to hear from participants about the strong relationships they formed with their partners and their learnings within the program. I am proud and honoured that Young Pipeliners’ was able to take part in building these relationships.

Though of course there were also challenges (as with any initiative). We were writing the books when it came to how the program would be run. How will we pair the participants? What will the meetings and events look like? What resources will we provide? These challenges (and many more) were what we worked through and used to form the program. Initially, I saw the COVID-19 pandemic as a huge roadblock to the program, as mentorship is about building relationships and interacting with one another. However, the virtual style allowed us to connect young pipeline professionals across Canada. I would have never thought to run the program this way, had it not been for the pandemic.

Lastly, I would like to mention that this program would not have been possible without the 25 amazing mentors who volunteered to share their experience and help shape the young pipeline professionals of the future. I would like to express my extreme gratitude towards the mentors for the time they donated to the program, their participation was truly invaluable.

A year ago, I did not imagine that we would be concluding and reflecting on our first offering of the YPAC Mentorship Program. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to organize the program, I was able to learn a lot about the intricacies of good mentorship relationships as well as the logistics of running a large-scale program. I look forward to the future of the YPAC Mentorship Program and seeing it grow and provide even more value to young pipeline professionals.