The Invaluable Things My Mentor Taught Me

MBA2019 Wesley LAU

This mentor experience has been a blast. Lucky for me, I feel extremely fortunate to have someone that spent this incredible journey pushing and coaching me, my mentor Sandy Chen and Krizanne, the other mentee. Our group is called KFC, which I know refers to Kentucky fried chicken, but really as you can tell, we are a group that really likes learn and have fun. Now, everyone has a unique experience, but this one is for me, and there were 5 major lessons that have helped me so much today.

Sandy taught me to convey a message through story telling.
When my parents first immigrated to Canada, they started out in a small pizza shop. I spent most of my youth growing up in this pizza shop, eating and making pizzas; that was my skill. It’s not much of a skill, but my parents were too busy making a living, and just didn’t have the time to let me out of their sight to pursue many other things in life, I don’t blame them. But, I tell this story because, I understand the value of time, and appreciate the value of your time, and what you are giving up to mentor us. This mentorship program, allowed us to really bring out those other opportunities and pick up some life skills that I missed out on when I was younger. And to be honest, at many times, I was nervous about stepping outside of my comfort zone and partaking in these opportunities, but with Sandys “Just-do-it” mentality, she supported me greatly in running events, visiting and meeting many industry leaders, exploring Shanghai that isn’t just PUDONG, and even trying to find Mr. Jack Ma in the Alibaba campus in Hangzhou. It was great!

My mentor also taught me to train yourself to be an introvert/extrovert in any scenario.
When Sandy first introduced me to many industry leaders, I admit, my natural reaction for many things, is to back far far away and just keep really low key. But in this mentorship program, I realized it was an opportunity to forget about saving face, and just experiment with your weaknesses. And for example, luckily there was one time where she introduced me to someone in here, his name is Douglas, one of our other mentors, and he taught me how to dance. I think after that moment; any other scenario was pretty darn easy.

I also learned, sometimes you can’t do everything, even if you want to.
Unless if your Sandy of course. Somehow, she manages to be up sending us inspirational quotes at 5am in the morning, and scheduling back to back activities before we can even wake up. It’s amazing. However, in this program, she led by example by showcasing things in her life that she gave up, to pursue things that she truly valued, and that was very admirable to me. And I realized the same thing that I needed to focus and seize the opportunity.

She also taught me one shouldn’t only humble, but also confident.
I remember we were at a downtown Café sitting at a table going through my resume and she put the resume down and just frankly told me to just try becoming more confident and good things will happen. And since then, before every interview or presentation, I would stare at a mirror, I look at myself, and I say be confident; not sure if it really worked, but I am trying! So, be humble, be confident.

And lastly, I also learned, just because you have experience, doesn’t make a person a great leader or a mentor
I think for most of us mentees, we can really struggle when trying to pick up new skills. Some of us may feel prone to feeling anxious, embarrassed, or frustrated when given stressful or demanding situations. But, this where I want to thank you mentors, for taking the steps beyond just your own experiences, and applying your strengths in providing the time and dedication to help create opportunities for us mentees to nurture a sense of confidence.
I know that my story is maybe not that unique, but I still feel so lucky to have had Sandy as my mentor and friend these past few months. Thank you for caring, for taking us in just as we are, and for seeing what we could grow into.