Updated: Mar 30, 2020
By Dana Arafeh
Living in a world with a plethora of opportunities can leave one feeling plagued by all the choices. Often, we get stuck in a routine and our busy schedules, with little to no time left to reflect on our next steps and life goals. The key to success is guidance, having someone in your life to help you set goals and ensure your way in reaching your full potential and transitioning into certain levels of success. Unfortunately, it becomes difficult to find your right hand; thankfully the Rotaract club’s professional development committee made it happen by launching their brand-new mentorship program.
Having a mentor is crucial to personal and professional growth as they hold plenty of experience-based knowledge, can see where improvement is needed when we often cannot. When this program was announced, there was so much interest as to what better way than to connect individuals who already share similar values and passion for being a part of the Rotary club. Rotaract Club of Toronto’s professional development director teamed up with Jayson Phelps, Rotary-Rotaract liaison and paired Rotaractors with Rotarians, aligning them based on industry and career goals.
I was fortunate to be connected to my mentor, Shannon Lundquist, who was not only an excellent match for me on a professional level but a perfect fit for my personality. We were able to hit it off, our first lunch meeting. Shannon shared her career journey, challenges and successes in her life experiences, and her activities and hobbies with me. We developed goals together, reflected on my career and opportunities for personal development. Shannon and I met once every three weeks to work on these goals. Every meeting, with her wise perspective, I was able to gain life skills, career advice and develop on a personal and professional level.
She moreover, allowed me to think of ways I could become a better person in society. She allowed me to expand my network and introduced me to numerous individuals. I often emailed Shannon with questions and bounced ideas back and forth with her unfiltered opinion. Shannon and I bonded further as we participated in fun activities together.
Shannon invited me to an eye-opening dance show, a fun poker night, eventually allowing us to build a relationship beyond serious conversations. Lastly, with her presence, she further encouraged and pushed my involvement in the rotary club, to another level. Directing me to put myself out there and make the most of what this fantastic club has to offer. We attended a lovely talk by Conrad Black at the National Club and will be participating in Camp Scugog.
Due to this life-changing experience, I can thankfully say I’ve gained confidence in my personal as well as my career life, and this is something I’d encourage anyone to participate in. Thanks to this opportunity, in the end, I had gained way beyond just a mentor, a friend, and trusted advisor for life.