Tools for success

Becoming a MentorChelsea McKenzie

One of the most valuable tools in the personal and professional arsenal is the mentor- a trusted coach who offers advice and encouragement. But the mentor can also benefit from the relationship.

Just ask Chelsea McKenzie, who graduated from KPU’s bachelor of applied design in graphic design for marketing program and currently mentors a young woman.

“Even though I'm almost 11 years older than my mentee, I was intimidated with self-talk that plays like a record. ‘What advice can I give? I don't have life figured out yet!’ But we both persevered and shared mutual respect. She discussed the pressures of life and wanted to connect with someone who didn’t expect her to become a leader and excel all the time. That helped me relax into my role, and I promised her I didn't have life figured out yet either.”

Mutual trust is essential in the mentor/mentee relationship. The mentor is trusted to provide sage advice and support, while the mentee is trusted to make smart choices and strive for the best.

McKenzie admires the dynamic between mentor and mentee, saying, “a mentor is neither a friend who might push you towards adventure nor a parent who might want you to take a safe road. A mentor can play that unbiased third-party role.”

If either party senses the relationship is one-sided, it probably is. McKenzie has turned down past mentorship requests because she couldn’t see a mutual benefit.

“The best anyone can do is make time for each other and always be honest,” she explains. “Any good mentor needs to remember they were once in the mentee’s position. Keeping that in mind will help maintain the necessary level of patience and respect.”


KPU Alumni Relations office is currently looking for mentors. If you are interested in being an alumni mentor, please complete this application and submit it to the alumni relations office by May 1, 2014. To find out more about the mentorship program, please click here.