Connect to Success Mentorship Program Brings Hope to Unemployed Mom
When Arezou Azampanah’s youngest child entered first grade, she knew it was time for a change and decided to re-enter the workforce. As a stay-at-home mom for the past ten years, Arezou quickly realized that returning to the field of medical research would not be easy , especially for a newcomer to Vancouver.
Arezou was raised in the Netherlands, has a master’s degree in medical biology and three years of experience as a research technician at the University of Toronto. Despite her qualifications, finding work proved difficult.
“Networking was a big problem. Being new in Vancouver, I had no contacts who could help me make the right connections,” she says. “The gap of ten years out of the field wasn’t very appealing to employers when I applied for jobs posted.”
Arezou began to question her career future. She took advantage of employment services offered by YWCA Career Services and worked with a case manager to get her job search on track. She was introduced to Connect to Success, YWCA’s mentorship program for women entering or re-entering professional or skilled careers.
After trying several employment-related programs without success, Arezou was skeptical. “I had no real expectations,” she recalls. “But I was willing to try everything to get back into the work field. So I didn’t give up and tried again.”
Her life took a pivotal turn when she was matched with Dr. Zoë Hodgson, Director of Research at Women’s Health Research Institute, Provincial Health Services Authority. Dr. Hodgson was supportive in generating leads for employment and volunteer work.
“She was the friendliest person and was very helpful,” says Arezou. “She first suggested that I do some volunteer work just to get back into the atmosphere.”
After just two days of volunteering, Dr. Hodgson arranged a job interview with her research group. Arezou got the job and has since been working as a part-time research assistant: “Now, my office is two doors away from my mentor’s office.”
Arezou is delighted to be working in her field and grateful to her mentor and Connect to Success for providing a valued service. In the next five years, she hopes to transition to full-time work, find new challenges in the field of medical research and maybe even be a mentor herself.
Connect to Success not only changes the lives of mentees, but also those of mentors. “It has made me reflect on where I am today and where I want to be in a few years time,” says Dr. Hodgson. “I have learned that there are an awful lot of exceptionally qualified people who have just had bad luck in applying for jobs. A little bit of mentorship is all they need in order for people to recognize their accomplishments.”
For more information about the Connect to Success Mentorship Program, contact Amanda Paterson at 604 895 5858 or email@example.com.