BUILDING COMMUNITY THROUGH MENTORSHIP
David Nordin and Stephen Kotkas
The CSEG Foundation Mentorship Program is entering its 14th year, and the program continues to grow in size and scope. The heart of our program is to build relationships as a foundation to build stronger geoscientists (geophysicists?) for tomorrow. To do this, we form one-on-one pairings of industry professionals with student geophysicists. The mentor-mentee pairs set goals and share challenges, insights, and learnings over the course of the university school year through informal and formal meetups, coffees, emails and phone calls.
One of the biggest benefits of becoming involved in the CSEG mentor-mentee program is the opportunity to build community. Over the last two years, we have experienced what it’s like to be isolated without access to the personal and professional relationships we have grown accustomed to having. Choosing to become a mentor or mentee in the CSEG program is a great way to reintroduce yourself to industry professionals you haven’t seen for a few years or an opportunity to get your name out there as a future geoscience graduate. Countless mentees have highlighted the benefits of getting to know industry professionals pre-graduation, becoming part of the mentor’s geoscience community, and increasing prospects for summer or permanent employment. Additionally, many mentors have shared that the pairings provide a refreshing outlook, connections to academia and insightful reflection on their careers.
A great event to start the year with is the Mentorship kickoff on October 18th. We want our pairings to be able to hit the ground running. The Mentorship year goes by quickly, and we want both mentors and mentees to get the absolute most out of it. The CSEG’s next event is Doodletrain which begins on October 24th. On November 16th, we have an exciting joint symposium planned with the CHOA (Canadian Heavy Oil Association) that addresses the topic ‘Adding Value with Technology and Innovation.’ We run student workshops and Ask Me Anything events throughout the year, where students learn how to maximize their visibility, the skill sets necessary to be successful in the industry and gain insights into existing and new ventures in geoscience. We also support our Mentors through motivational events, as they truly are the current and future leaders of our discipline and industry.
We have an incredible geophysics community, and we want it to continue to grow and thrive. Mentorship is foundational to this growth, and it’s why we are passionate about continuing to offer you this great program.
CSEG Mentoring Program Report
The CSEG Mentoring Program provides an opportunity for students to develop a mentoring relationship with industry professionals who can offer advice, provide a window into today’s business realities, share experiences and provide career guidance. In order to achieve these goals, the Mentorship Program objectives are as follows:
- Develop the next generation of great geoscientists
- Help students develop strong, long-term relationships with their mentor
- Ensure that students assess their goals and conduct industry research before meeting their mentor
- Provide the tools and support that a student needs in order to be prepared for the business world
This last year was awesome. We have a number of individuals who have been nominated for mentor and mentee awards within our program. We are proud to have them as participants.
“This program was so amazing for a number of reasons. My mentor Mike Finn was beyond amazing at not only providing me with his guidance but also leading me down pathways to make connections I wouldn’t have thought of. I was able to build my confidence in what felt like a more personal than professional setting and talk through so many questions and concerns about my education and future career with someone who cared about my professional development. I joined the mentorship program in my last year of university, and it felt amazing to know someone had your back while encouraging exploration of every avenue and giving a gentle nudge to network outside of your comfort zone. My mentor was behind me 100% when I was entering the workforce with everything from interview prep to first field-job jitters, and it made moving forward with my geophysics journey a little easier, knowing I always had someone to chat with.”
“I grew as a person, student, and professional. I am grateful to be matched with Ms. Lori Barth, who passionately shared real-life experiences, knowledge, and invaluable wisdom that boosted my geoscience comprehension. This program positively shaped me for the next chapters – definitely one of my best decisions I have made in my MSc’s journey!”
“This is my second year in the mentorship program, and I must say that I have really enjoyed it. I have experienced this mentorship not as a program where someone will tell you what you should do but as a program where you have a brain to pick, an ear to listen to, and a bit of encouragement. Being able to talk to an experienced professional about their early career decisions has made me much more confident when choosing my own career path. I would strongly recommend anyone struggling with early career decisions join a mentorship program and talk to someone who’s been through it before.”
“It’s been a really incredible and valuable journey for me to be a mentee in the CSEG Mentorship Program. My mentor has given me inspiring advice and helped to expand my professional network. Through this journey, I have learned much about the current geophysicist job market, career planning and insights. And most importantly, it is necessary to step out of your comfort zone, meet people, and share ideas. I am grateful for meeting with my mentor and joining CSEG Mentorship Program.”
“The CSEG Mentorship Program was really helpful for my career as a Geologist, because it provides a window into oil and gas business realities, and we could share technical experiences about geological and geophysical interpretation, like the phases related to exploration and production. Also, the volunteer mentorship program helped me develop my passion for working in the oil and gas industry and understand how the integration between geologists and geophysicists brings better results.”
“As for mentorship, it has been a critical part of my career development and therefore, I make it a priority to mentor students, young professionals and future leaders every year. I have been a mentor both internally within Encana/Ovintiv and externally within the energy industry for over eight years. Throughout all my experiences as a mentor, I have strived to ensure that learning and support are mutual between myself and my mentees. As mentors, we often tend to forget that there is much to be learned from the future generations of professionals that allows us to continue to develop.”
“My early career mentors always said that mentoring is a two-way street, where both the mentor and the mentee gain knowledge and learn from the experience. This was very much the case with the CSEG Mentorship program, and I enjoyed the pairing this year, where we both had the opportunity to support and define the goals we set out for the year. We had little overlap in interests, but that facilitated great discussions and networking opportunities where I felt I also gained knowledge. I have already signed up to mentor again and can’t wait to see what next year’s pairing brings.”
“I really enjoyed mentoring this year for the CSEG Mentorship Program as I love to give back to our geoscientist community! Although I never participated in a mentorship program myself, I had many unofficial mentors helping me throughout my career. Thanks to many of them, I have been an active member of our community and have a very rewarding career. So, I think it’s important to help younger generations be active and successful members of our society.”
“The Mentorship program is a great opportunity to develop your leadership and technical skills. It’s enabled me to grow my network, keep up with the latest trends, improve my career satisfaction, and make long-lasting and impactful relationships. We’re a stronger community of Geoscientists because of it.”
“What a great way to rediscover my curiosity and enthusiasm for geophysics with a mentee. Creating a connection with another geophysicist improves the community by growing networks for both the mentor and mentee.”
“My own life has been so strongly and positively impacted by great mentors, both professionally and personally. It fills me with the desire to emulate these great mentors I’ve had over the years and to have even a fraction of the impact on the lives of others.”
“It is a privilege to mentor aspiring geoscientists. The trusting and caring relationships formed allow us to explore our hopes and fears for the future. Together, we enhance our understanding of the earth’s resources and how we can find and use them sustainably for us all.”
“Being asked to mentor is a great privilege, with responsibility and opportunity. Beside the “feel good” about supporting and being an advocate for someone that is at an earlier stage in their career, it provides me with an opportunity to pass on my personal important learned truths. Mentoring is a symbiotic relationship, and I was rewarded through 1) self-reflection on my own career, including the successes, challenges, and previous career decisions made; 2) better understanding and empathy for the younger generation; 3) exposure to new technology, ideology, and life/work balance considerations.”