UWPIAA Mentoring Program

Program Overview – Make a Meaningful Connection

The UWPIAA has launched a mentorship program to leverage the skills and talents of our global alumni! Whether you are a master in your chosen career who has experience to share with someone starting in your field, or you are looking to improve your skills and behaviours on how to be more inclusive or become more influential on social media, this program is for you. It is a six-month program during which time we will match mentors and protégés based on skills offered, and skills sought. Partners meet virtually once per month. Please read through the program overview, and complete an application during the application period if you’d like to participate in the inaugural UWPIAA Mentoring Program!

Program News/Updates

Participant matches for the inaugural UWPIAA Mentoring Program are underway. Due to the diversity of our alumni group, we’ve not found matches for all, and are seeking the following if you are still interested in participating in the current program. The application has been re-opened, and will remain available until October 22, 2023 specifically for:

Mentors with the following skills and/or experience:

  • Real Estate Investment
  • Coding and/or AI

Protégés with the following learning interests:

  • Small Business Management
  • Personal Development/Life Coaching
  • Business and General Leadership Skills
  • Counselling/Public Speaking/Social Media Marketing
  • HR Focus on Pension and Benefits
  • Digital Media/Production and/or Professional Acting
  • Fundraising/Alumni Relations

The Mentoring Program Information & Frequently Asked Questions provided below will help clarify the roles and responsibilities of both mentors and protégés. Please take the time to read the information below to better acquaint yourself to the commitment and activities surrounding this program.

The most successful mentoring relationship exists when both the mentor and the protégé agree to explore and learn from each other and when both partners are contributing and working to keep communication lines open, when the protégé role moves from one of a ‘passive receiver’ to that of an ‘active partner’ and the mentor from that of an ‘authority’ to more of a ‘facilitator’.

We hope that you will consider participating in our mentoring program to give back to alumni and/or to enhance your own development and growth.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at profdev@uwpiaa.org.

2023 – 2024 Program Timeline

  • General Program Information Sessions and Applications Open
    In person at Reunion 2023 – Thursday, July 20, 2023 through September 24, 2023.
  • October 14, 2023 – Match Day! Notifications Sent Via Email (Additional matches made will be sent ASAP)
  • October 21, 2023 – Program Official Start
  • October 15-22 – Applications Re-open to fill specific skills listed in Program News/Updates section above
  • Virtual Orientation & Welcome Sessions:
    October 21, 2023
    11 a.m. EDT (additional session(s) to be added if required based on size and/or time zone constraints)
  • April 20, 2024 – Program Official End Date

Purpose of Our Program

The UWPIAA Mentorship Program (MP) is designed to connect alumni around the world, to extend our knowledge, leadership and/or expertise to participants of the MP. The program is designed to further participant career growth in their chosen field, or to leverage a reverse mentorship relationship to learn a skill that may be held by someone of a different culture, race, generation or sexual orientation.

We believe that through this program we can provide a level of learning unattainable without the insight from those who have specific life experiences related to various careers and/or experiences. It is a continued commitment from the UWPIAA to connect our fellow alumni for developmental reasons who have the ability, capacity and desire to grow. This program will help to increase our positive international reach by providing a more structured program and offering insights and learnings not readily available to them in the normal course of their day-to-day work or lives.

The UWPIAA Mentorship Program allows participants to set goals for their learning and growth, and we believe that our mentors will benefit as well, since learning is a two-way process.

Types of Mentoring

To truly understand the purpose of the UWPIAA MP, it is important to also be familiar with the definition of mentoring, the types of mentoring programs, and the various categories or functions they serve.


Mentoring is a special type of relationship when a trusted and experienced individual, a mentor, freely acts as an advisor, coach, guide, teacher, or role model to someone less experienced, a protégé, who is seeking such a relationship. It is an ongoing, planned partnership that focuses on helping the protégé reach specific goals they have developed, over a set period of time.

A mentor is an experienced person who commits to helping another person reach important goals through coaching, listening, advising, and guiding. A mentor does not establish or complete the goals or objectives of the protégé.

A protégé is an individual who receives advice, coaching, assistance, and feedback from a more experienced person with the desired outcome of achieving the goals that they have set. The protégé must have clear goals and be open to guidance.

Degree of Formality 

Informal mentoring is what happens naturally in our everyday relationships. Informal mentoring relationships happen on their own as opposed to being actively developed or structured with explicit goals. There are generally no expectations, regularly scheduled meetings, or sanctioning organizations.

Formal mentoring, on the other hand, happens when the relationship is structured, with clearly defined expectations, and the protégé and mentor make a connection with help or direction.

Typically, the protégé and mentor agree to meet over a specific period of time and on a regular basis. The intention of this relationship is for the protégé to grow and learn by the mentor’s example, expertise, and support.

The UWPIAA MP is a formal mentoring program and is most effective when the structure, expectations, and goals are stated and understood from the outset.


Educational mentoring is directly or indirectly aimed at improving the protégé’s performance and teaching the protégé some specific information or skills.

Career mentoring, which can incorporate aspects of educational mentoring, generally assists the protégé in acquiring new skills, gaining exposure to another’s area of expertise and knowledge, provides guidance with advancement through their career path, or supporting the protégé in the workplace.

The UWPIAA MP functions as a combination of both educational and career mentoring.

Benefits of Mentoring

Mentoring brings value to everybody in its practice: protégé, mentors, and the organization(s) for which they work. Protégés have an opportunity to gain wisdom from someone who has travelled the path before them. Mentors have an opportunity to invest themselves in someone who seeks what they can offer.

Benefits for Protégés:

  • Insight into the pros and cons of various career options and paths.
  • Increase in self-awareness and self-discipline.
  • An expanded personal network.
  • Support in the transition to a new role or location.
  • A sounding board for testing ideas and plans.
  • Positive and constructive feedback on professional development areas.
  • Identifying goals and establishing a sense of direction.

Benefits for Mentors:

  • Proven method to share ideas, try new skills and take risks.
  • Enhanced capacity to translate values and strategies into productive actions.
  • Increased awareness of personal biases, assumptions, and areas for improvement.
  • Renewed enthusiasm for their role as an expert.
  • Personal fulfillment from investing in others and their personal growth.
  • Reinforce study skills and subject knowledge.

Roles and Responsibilities

The MP relationship is a relationship of trust, respect, and appreciation, to help both mentor and protégé to expand, refine and build new skills. Both parties are equally responsible to actively participate in the MP and must commit to the following:

  • Be available for the defined mentorship period (may extend if both parties agree).
  • Set aside a minimum of 1 hour per month to connect.
  • Track interaction with each other during the program.
  • Develop clear goals and objectives.
  • Keep commitments to each other and openly discuss when there are barriers to a successful partnership.
  • Prepare for each meeting in advance, with agenda and relevant questions for discussion.
  • Complete an evaluation survey at the end of the program.

Protégé Responsibilities

  • Take the initiative and be proactive and responsible for your career development.
  • Refrain from requesting jobs or internship positions from the mentor.
  • Initiate first contact with mentor (within 48 hours of receiving the official matching email).
  • Initiate the scheduling of regular meetings and plan an agenda in advance.
  • Attend meetings (not cancelling unexpectedly or without notice).
  • Allow flexibility with meeting times and places/platforms.
  • Play an active role in setting goals and communicate those to your mentor, so you both can work towards achieving your learning goals.
  • Initiate discussions and communicate your interests and activities.
  • Be willing to be coached and ask for and receive feedback in a non-defensive manner.
  • Follow through on your commitments and the timeline.
  • Maintain a high level of trust and professionalism.
  • Respect confidentiality.
  • Be curious and open-minded.

Mentor Responsibilities

  • Before you start your mentoring relationship, step back and ask yourself a couple questions. 
  • For example:
    • Where you are? How did you get there? How are you doing? What helped you to get where you are right now?
    • What are three important things you can do during the program to help your protégé?
    • What are the threats you faced and compare with the threats your protégé faces today?
    • What may be different in your culture/country as compared to that of your protégé? 
  • Establish a foundation for clear, open, honest two-way communication.
  • Help your protégé develop an appropriate learning plan.
  • Play an active role in supporting the protégé’s goals and define strategies for success.
  • Give a sound, constructive, tactful, and honest progress review.
  • Practice active listening.
  • Be curious and open-minded.
  • Accept the protégé as a legitimate colleague with potential for high performance and promote their self-confidence.
  • Provide help and serve as sounding board for issues relating to your protégé’s goals.
  • Set aside a minimum of one hour per month to connect with your protégé, be accessible and respond to the protégé in a timely manner.
  • Attempt to understand your protégé’s needs.
  • Believe in your ability to mentor.
  • Be open to learning from your protégé.

UWPIAA Professional Development Team Responsibilities

  • The Program Manager and Professional Development Team members are responsible for the matching of mentors and protégés , based on the information provided in the application.
  • The Program Manager will advise participants via email about any important information sessions, various participant communications, and make sure every participant is aware of their roles and responsibilities.
  • The Program Manager will send out a matching email to all program participants to introduce each pair, including contact information.
  • The Program Manager will send out a feedback survey to determine the success of the program over the past mentoring period.
  • The Program Manager will evaluate the survey feedback and make necessary changes to the program through consultation with the team and will report to the UWPIAA Board of Governors about the program.
  • The Program Manager will address any issues brought to their attention in a timely manner.

Expectations for Mentors and Protégés

Mentors and protégés typically enter their relationships with assumed expectations that weren’t discussed. Be clear about these expectations and your responsibilities from the beginning. Show respect and support for each other through individual and mutual commitment. A mentoring relationship should never be initiated with an expectation that the relationship guarantees enhanced career opportunities for the protégé.

Unreasonable Expectations Regarding Mentors

It’s easy for a protégé to assume that the mentor will be more actively involved than the mentor is able. As a general guideline, the mentor should not be expected to:

  • Drive the relationship or do the work for the protégé.
  • Be an expert in every imaginable development area.
  • Provide the protégé with personal introductions to other people unless they are comfortable and have offered to do so.
  • Spend more time on the relationship than they are willing or able to give.
  • Take the lead in the relationship, setting up all meetings and driving the protégé’s career development.
  • Develop a friendship with the protégé outside of the boundaries of the relationship.

Specific Tips for Protégés

  • Remember that you own your development, not your mentor. It is up to you to identify objectives as well as keep the relationship focused and moving forward.
  • Be prepared to ask for specific advice on your skill set, ideas, plans, and goals. The more specific you are, the easier it is for your mentor to respond in a meaningful way.
  • Be complete yet succinct in your comments and explanations.
  • If you get corrective feedback, don’t try to defend yourself but rather ask specific questions such as “What don’t you like about ____________?” or “What would you do in a similar circumstance?”

Tips for Mentoring Success

1. To enhance opportunities for learning and/or networking:

  • Discuss how your role/profession is conducted/practiced in the organizations in which you work.
  • Attend the MP Info Session together.
  • Attend other UWPIAA events together if/where possible.
  • If appropriate, and both parties agree, introduce your partner to your own network.

2. To track your progress towards your goals:

  • Complete the MP Development Plan and review your goals regularly.
  • Set SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time specific.
  • Provide regular feedback to each other and evaluate progress.
  • Discuss what you have learned from each other.
  • Be aware of inconsistencies – check for the difference between ‘what is said’ and ‘what is done’.

3. To communicate effectively:

  • If possible, plan for your first meeting to be ‘in person’.
  • Complete the MP Accountability Agreement at your first meeting to set out the ‘ground rules’.
  • Be open and honest at all times.
  • Be considerate of each other’s time and other commitments.
  • Actively participate in the relationship and initiate conversations.

4. To maintain confidentially in your relationship:

  • Respect the privacy of your partner.
  • Discuss what, if any, boundaries there are at the outset.
  • Do not disclose the details of your conversations and communications.

5. Have fun and make the mentoring relationship a positive experience!

  • Share your stories of successes as well as failures—we are all human after all.
  • Share your mentoring experience with others to create awareness about this very valuable ‘career development’ strategy.

Career Discussions and Skill Focus

  • Set goals with a focus on skills (“how to”s of a role), knowledge (factual & experiential knowledge), talents (reoccurring pattern of thought, feeling and behaviours that can be productively applied).
  • Skill development will be focused on the field of your choice. 
  • Continuous review of deliverables and measurement of outcome will be done by both mentor and protégé; ongoing improvement to the process and recognition of successes.

Mentor/Protégé Meeting Guidelines

Pre-work/Establishing Trust/First Meeting

  • Protégé to conduct some self-evaluation of their areas for growth, what they want to achieve in their career or experiences, and the desired outcomes of the mentorship. 
  • Mentor to share their bio, resume, experiences, and ways they can support the protégé.
  • Think about expectations for communication and mentoring/growth outcomes.
  • Determine any limits that may impact the relationship, i.e., work, travel, family, outside commitments.

First Meeting – Setting up for Success

  • Get to Know One Another: Tell your ‘career story’, share current resume, any personality assessment results you may have completed.
  • Confirm contact information and preferences for communication types, etc. 
  • Set Expectations: Discuss what mentorship means to each of you, your roles and responsibilities, how you can each learn and benefit from the relationship. What will a successful mentoring relationship look like and what will it achieve?
  • Set Ground Rules: Set a schedule for your next meeting, discuss preferred communication styles, set expectations for communication responses, set expectations for meeting follow-up and for confidentiality.
  • Develop an action plan that is aligned to strengths and develops areas of growth.

Subsequent Meeting Action Items

  • Protégé to prepare and provide agenda for discussion prior to each meeting including review of protégé action plan. 
  • Mentor to come prepared to review growth, and action plan since last meeting, provide insight, barriers encountered since last meeting and possible solutions, discuss possible areas of development for the protégé to focus on, explore what types of assistance would be most useful, discuss potential goals and action plans.
  • Set action plan for next meeting, determine follow expectations for the time between meetings
  • Set next meeting date and agenda.
  • Repeat.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need to be an UWP alum to participate in this program?

Yes, the UWPIAA Mentoring Program is offered only to alumni, including those from Sing-Out!, WorldSmart and Voices. This program is for our alumni at any stage in their careers.

How long does the program run?

The official ‘start’ of the mentoring program is Fall 2023. When you apply, you are committing to participate in the program for 6 months. Following the initial group, we will survey participants to determine if the length of the program worked well, or if we should reconsider the program length.

Can I continue my mentoring relationship after the initial 6 months?

Yes, and we encourage it. If you both agree, you may continue for as long as you like. 

When can I apply?

Online application for both Mentors and Protégés will open in August 2023.  Check the timeline section for specific dates. 

When does intake for applications close?

Applications are usually accepted for a period of 4 – 5 weeks. The exact deadline will differ year to year and will be included in the initial email and subsequent communication to alumni. This information can be found in the timeline section. 

Is there a charge to participate in this program?

There is no charge for alumni to participate in the program. UWPIAA believes in the value of mentoring for our alumni and want to make the program inclusive and accessible to all. 

I have already self-identified someone to be my mentor/protégé, can I apply to the program and ask for that person specifically?

Yes, you can. However, we only match people together if both parties have agreed to work together. Both the mentor and the protégé need to complete their online application and specifically request to be matched with each other.

Does everyone get a match? 

While every effort is made to provide all applicants with a match, UWPIAA cannot guarantee that you will be placed in the program as this is determined by the number of program volunteers and appropriate matches in any given year. 

I was matched with someone who doesn’t exactly possess the qualities I had indicated on my application. Why did this happen? 

We do our best to find you the best match possible given the pool of mentor candidates. Unfortunately, we can’t ensure there will be a mentor who meets all of your requirements. Our aim is to find every protégé a mentor as best we can and that sometimes means that both protégés and mentors need to be flexible when it comes to expectations about their match.

What happens if I don’t get matched?

We do our best to find everyone an appropriate match, but it all depends on the number of applicants. If we are unable to find you a match, we will notify you before the start of the program. Things can change, however and if an appropriate match is found during the 1st month after the program starts, we will contact you to see if you are still interested in participating. After the 1st month, if we still haven’t found you a match, you will have to reapply.

Will my match be in my time zone?

Not necessarily, however you will list your level of flexibility in the application and we will do our best to meet those requests. 

How and when do I connect with my partner?

This will the part of the first discussion the two of you have – what is your preferred time of day, day of the week and week of the month to meet. Together you choose which is best for you both––Zoom, Google Meet, FB Messenger or WhatsApp. We highly encourage a platform that will allow for video to help build your relationship and level of comfort with one another. 

Can I be a mentor and a protégé?

Yes, however you must complete the online application details for each position separately and be mindful of the time required.

Can I mentor more than one protégé?

Yes! If you can find the time to mentor more than one person, and there are multiple requests in a certain field, we would be delighted to have you support several people.

What are the qualifications to be a mentor?

Professional work experience, highly skilled and ability and willingness to communicate, share experience, and give constructive feedback.

Is it possible to find a mentor to help me sort through a personal challenge vs. a professional one (for example retirement, divorce, death of someone close to me)?

While the intention of this program is to connect alumni for professional development purposes, there are times that this network may be a valuable resource for other skills. It is critical to note however, that any transfer of knowledge in these areas is in no way a replacement for qualified legal, financial or other professional counselling.

If I have a question about my match whom do I contact?

You may reach out the Program Manager at any time at profdev@uwpiaa.org  First, you must try your best to build a connection and make this relationship successful, as you would do on your day-to-day basis at work.

How often should I connect with my partner?

You can connect with your partner as often as you like, but it is important to connect at least once a month in order to maintain a valuable relationship. Some professionals have less discretionary time than others; therefore, their approach for staying in contact may vary (e-mail, video meetings, telephone calls, etc.). Accessibility and maintaining contact are essential for the relationship. We also recommend a minimum of 1 hour per month. 

What are the requirements to meet with my partner?

Form and frequency of the contact between mentors and protégés will vary according to each pair’s availability. Be flexible and creative.

How and what are we going to talk about during our first meeting?

You and your partner have been provided with information on how to find one another (e-mail, telephone, location, time zone, etc.). Remember, you and your partner have been matched on the basis of something you have in common. More than likely you will have similar interests. If, after the first few minutes of meeting with your protégé, you do not find much to discuss, you may want to tell them more about yourself, such as hobbies, organizations for which you volunteer, etc.

What do I tell my partner about myself? 

Your partner is probably very interested in your professional life. Share with him or her information about yourself and how you became interested in the profession, your current role, or your involvement with UWPIAA. You may share personal information at your discretion. Some people may wish to connect with you personally as a general point of reference. If you are uncomfortable with this, however, it is imperative that you share this at the outset.

What kinds of activities can I do with my partner?

The activities will depend on both parties’ availability. Most of the participants are very busy so using an online platform is likely to be most common, but if possible try to schedule a social activity (virtual coffee/drink, networking or UWPIAA event) if/when possible. Undoubtedly, there are activities that you engage in regardless of whether you have a mentoring partner or not. If it is possible to meet in person you are not expected to pay for them. It is important to discuss boundaries and expectation early on. 

What do I do if my partner shares very serious problems or confidential matters with me?

If you believe that a professional is needed, you may suggest that your partner speak to someone who will refer them to an appropriate person for assistance. Also, be sure to tell your partner that the information discussed will not be shared with friends, family members, or colleagues.

What do I do if the relationship with my partner is not working (i.e. lack of interest)?

Remember that you must try your best to build a connection and make this relationship successful, as you would do on a day-to-day basis at work. If after a few interactions, it is clear that the relationship will not work, please contact the Program Manager to discuss further solutions. Matching mentors and protégés is very challenging. It may be that we will have mentor/protégé matches that just do not work. Please do so as early as possible as we may be able to re-match you with another partner.

I am a new alum, and I don’t have professional experience yet. Can I apply to the program?

New alumni who don’t have any professional experience can apply to be a protégé in our program. While every effort is made to provide every applicant with a match, UWPIAA cannot guarantee that you will be placed into the program.

I am a recent alum with special skills or experiences that may be of interest to other alumni. Can I apply to be a mentor?

Absolutely! Reverse mentoring is one of the objectives of this program, and this is a prime example. Perhaps you can help with technical proficiency, or how to demonstrate inclusiveness. Learning is a lifelong process!

What is the MP Accountability Agreement & MP Development Plan and why is it important? 

The Accountability Agreement & Development Plan serves as the backbone for the mentoring relationship. It provides the framework for the scope of the relationship and acts as a contract between the mentor and protégé. You will need to discuss this agreement during your initial conversation or meeting. It serves to determine the confidentiality standards, establish the boundaries for the relationship, help you set your meeting schedule, and set out ways to monitor progress. Templates are given to all participants once accepted into the program.

Can I earn professional development credit/hours for participation in the MP?

Check with your professional association to determine if this program meets their continuing professional development (CPD) standard. Some, for example, may provide credit for activities at 1 CPD hour per hour of mentoring contact to a maximum of 10 CPD hours.  Check at the same time what the tracking and reporting requirements are to ensure you get credit for the time spent in the MP wherever possible. The MP Manager can provide verification of the fact that you are a participant in the program for any given year for the purpose of CPD audit; however, you must maintain your own log of the actual time spent with your protégé or mentor.

How to Apply

Thanks for your interest! Click the button below to be directed to the application form for both mentors and protégés.

Please complete prior to the deadline of October 22, 2023 for these specific fields listed above.