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Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders through Executive Mentorship

Tom and Rachid at a cafe in Vancouver

What happens when you pair a curious and socially conscious student with an enthusiastic alumnus who is equally socially conscious? An invaluable mentorship match worthy of a funded trip across Canada.  

The Telfer Executive Mentorship program, now in its tenth year, serves to enhance the experiential learning of Telfer students by pairing them with a Telfer alum whose interests are similar.   

Vancouver city skylineThis past year, Tom Lindale, a fourth-year BCom accounting student, was matched with Rachid Nayel (BCom ’07, CPA, CFP), based in Vancouver. It was a perfect match: Tom is passionate about socially responsible business and Rachid is Chief Financial Officer at North Growth Management, an investment fund that is mindful of environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices. 

Over the course of the program, Tom and Rachid’s monthly mentorship meetings allowed them to connect and share their thoughts on related topics. In March, Tom travelled to Vancouver and met Rachid in person, thanks to the generous donation provided by another alumnus, Louis De Melo (BCom’94), and the Louis De Melo Mobility Fund for the Telfer Executive Mentorship Program.

“Seeing the sparkle in the eye of a student as they connect face-to-face with their mentor is a memorable and positive experience. These beneficial connections mean the world to students and this is why I support Telfer: to help facilitate these empowering relationships.” - Louis de Melo (BCom’94), donor to the Telfer Executive Mentorship Program  

Here are Tom’s top four takeaways from the program:

1. Set fulfilling career goals 

Following my arrival in Vancouver, Rachid and I met for lunch at the local office of Deloitte Canada, the company where I was doing my co-op placement, to discuss goal-setting and vision planning. Rachid’s expertise in accounting and ESG issues in the industry were incredibly valuable during this conversation. In the end, we condensed these goals into one vision statement: An impactful career, a fulfilling life. This served as the basis for our discussions on combining environmentally and socially responsible business practices in my life. Telfer’s vision for building a greener Canada has inspired me in my studies.  I now recognize that it is the collective responsibility of all Canadians to achieve this.   

2. Learn real-world leadership skills 

The next day, I traveled to Rachid’s home in North Vancouver for brunch with him and his family, where we discussed his life before Vancouver and his move to the city.  

Close to the end of the meal, I asked him about his thoughts on leadership. His response was that leadership goes beyond titles and is an attitude accessible to all. He emphasized that leaders are never born but ratherTom, Rachid and his family on a bridge shaped by their unique experiences, and he highlighted respect as the fundamental value for a leader to practice in every interaction. After hearing this perspective, I am committed to integrating respect for others into my leadership roles in the years to come. 

3. Gain industry insight 

The next day, Rachid and I went for coffee at one of his favourite cafés in downtown Vancouver to discuss his career in accounting and how he gives back to the community. We discussed his role as volunteer treasurer for KidSafe, a Vancouver-based charity that provides opportunities and break-time programming for children living in the most challenging situations.  

He then provided me with insight into his daily responsibilities in his role as CFO of North Growth Management. He gave me a high-level overview of the strategy of the fund and how it interacts with financial markets. 

4. Grow your professional network  

On my second-to-last day, Rachid arranged a lunch for us with Phillippe and Jayana, who are his friends and former colleagues and who are also partners at Deloitte. We had a fascinating discussion about their careers at Deloitte and how their educational background and work experience prepared them for their roles.  

Experiences such as these, which empower tomorrow’s leaders, are only possible through support from alumni like you. Here are two ways you can make a difference:  

Consider helping a student reach their goal: contact the Telfer Alumni and Engagement team