Speaking with Maral Melkonian, it’s difficult to believe that she arrived in Canada as a refugee only 20 months ago from Aleppo, Syria. She credits her mentor’s advice and advocacy with her success in finding a job at TD Bank.

Now, Maral is settling in to her role in TD’s credit centre and enjoys working with her team and manager. During their mentoring partnership, Maral and her mentor, Melissa Finley formed a friendship that continues today; staying in touch via email, phone calls and meeting for coffee when their busy schedules allow.

Melissa Finley is an Associate Vice President at TD Bank with 20 years’ experience across various roles from the branch to head office. She has volunteered with TRIEC Mentoring Partnership for number of years, completing four  partnerships. She admits that not every mentee relationship has generated the same kind of lasting connection she has with Maral. Still, she has learned something new during each partnership.

Melissa’s advice for new mentors is to have an open mind. “You want to ask a lot of questions, be curious, and also respectful,” Melissa mentioned, adding “mentors should consider what types of roles their mentees could fit into and provide advice and guidance to help open up opportunities for mentees to explore their options.”

Maral’s professional background includes 15 years in retail banking, credit services and anti-money laundering. She arrived in Canada with excellent language skills, speaking English, French, Armenian and Arabic. Her skills and experience in the retail banking sector led TD to offer her a contract only a few months after she began her job search.

Through their partnership, Maral appreciated Melissa’s help learning about the Canadian job market. Melissa remarked Maral’s determination to restart her career in the banking industry impressed her; she would arrive at meetings with a clear idea of what she wanted to discuss. Melissa credits Maral’s success in securing a job so quickly to this approach.

Melissa sees TRIEC Mentoring Partnership as a great way for organizations to enhance the professional development of their teams, and says, “[Mentoring] helps employees grow into more well-rounded leaders.” It also helps employers access unique talent with international experiences, skills and languages and is a great way for organizations to connect with the communities in which they do business and offer their services.

Recently, Maral was presented the Delite Award, a quarterly recognition program at TD. “I’m always doing my best to reflect well on myself and on Melissa. She’s helped me very much since joining TD,” Maral shared.

TD was a founding partner in TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, and was the first employer partner to reach the 1000+ Match milestone in 2012. TRIEC Mentoring Partnership re-launched on August 14th with a new brand and website.

Learn more at mentoringpartnership.ca.