AFP Fellowship Mentorship Experience
I joined the 2018 AFP Fellowship program to increase my knowledge in fundraising and for the mentorship opportunity. I was fortunate to be mentored by Joan Blight, who has over 30 years of experience. Over the past 7 months, Joan and I met several times and I am grateful for her guidance. We decided to share our mentorship experience by answering the questions below.
What was the reason you agreed to participate as a mentee/mentor for the 2018 AFP Fellowship?
Sharon: For me, the mentorship was the most appealing part of the program for my professional development. I was excited to learn that Joan Blight would be my mentor. She is a well respected professional/fundraiser/leader and has the strategic and corporate experience that I hoped to learn.
Joan: I seek to learn more about Indigenous culture and what we can learn from one another about philanthropy. The Indigenous population is under represented in the field of fund development, so I welcomed the opportunity to mentor Sharon, the only Indigenous fellow in this program.
What has the experience taught you as a mentee/mentor?
Sharon: Through this positive mentorship experience I learned how valuable good governance is for organizations in achieving their fundraising goals. A good example of this, is having the board and leadership clearly committed and engaged. With Joan’s wealth of knowledge and insight, I felt that I could have used many more months to spend time learning from her.
Joan: There is a real difference between mentoring and directing. Sometimes it is a very fine line. If a suggestion I offered was not accepted, I learned to leave it alone.
How can diversity and inclusion be encouraged in the sector?
Sharon: I believe we can learn so much by including diverse perspectives and voices into the work of the philanthropic sector. Mentorship is an important way in developing valuable connections. In this fellowship, I have met many talented fellows who are working for the advancement of diversity and inclusion. I would like to see the more opportunities for mentorship and leadership development.
Joan: I think we need to listen and learn from Indigenous people and new Canadians. Are they interested in this sector? What is their passion? Are Indigenous individuals interested in working in Indigenous-led organizations? non-Indigenous-led organizations? What about new Canadians? What is important to them in the workplace?
Ways of encouraging diversity and inclusion:
- through formalized means such as presentations to organizations’ senior management and engaging human resource personnel
- through “shared learning” presentations to professional associations such as AFP
- through mentorship opportunities such as this one
- through networking with colleagues
Sharon Redsky is First Nation member of Shoal Lake #40 and development coordinator with Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services.