We are delighted to have Loblaw Companies Limited join National Mentoring Partnership as an employer partner. Loblaw is Canada’s food and pharmacy leader, and the nation’s largest retailer. Their stores include Shoppers Drug Mart, Pharmaprix, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Loblaws, Zehrs, Provigo, T&T and more, and they have iconic consumer brands such as President’s Choice, no name, Life Brand and Joe Fresh. With more than 2,400 corporate, franchised and Associate-owned stores, Loblaw, its franchisees and Associate-owners employ close to 200,000 full- and part-time employees, making them one of Canada’s largest private sector employers.

Metzi Liau, Senior Director Fresh Food Category Management at Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaw Companies Limited shares why they saw the value of joining National Mentoring Partnership.

Why did Loblaw and Shoppers decide to become an employer partner with National Mentoring Partnership?

Our colleagues have been mentoring new Canadians through our partnership with Toronto Regional Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) and making a difference in GTA communities.  The National Mentoring Partnership enables us to extend the opportunity to more colleagues working in stores and store-support locations across the country.  We are able reach more communities, share our strengths, enhance cross-cultural competencies and help new Canadians navigate employment opportunities.

Can you talk about how participation in the National Mentoring Partnership contributes to Loblaw and Shoppers overall business and organizational goals at a national level?

We are guided by our company purpose – to help Canadians Live Life Well®.   Even though we are a large organization with different types of businesses and goals, we all unite around this common purpose and recognize that we have an ability to help create real change.

We have a long-standing commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and have many colleagues who have gotten involved in our Inclusion Council and employee resource groups.  By expanding the mentorship program to a national platform, we learn more about our customers and their communities, gain deeper cross-cultural understanding while strengthening our culture and building diverse talent.

What kind of impact have you seen the program have on volunteer mentors within your organization?

Mentoring is a privilege.  Mentors gain inclusive leadership and coaching experience with a cultural diversity lens, enhancing their communication and interpersonal relationship skills, while growing their own professional network.  It is a rewarding experience to welcome and help newcomers navigate the Canadian workplace.  Many colleagues are also immigrants and appreciate the opportunity to give back as a mentor and give forward lessons learned in their own career journey.   Mentorship enhances our empathetic and authentic corporate culture, especially during the pandemic as we truly are helping new Canadians Live Life Well®.

Can you talk about this impact when it’s part of a national program as opposed to if it were only regional?

Diversity is Canada’s strength, and we have made it a priority to reflect our nation’s evolving diversity in the products we sell, the people we hire and the culture we create.  The national mentoring partnership widens our reach in the communities we serve and reinforces our commitment to improve racial diversity and create a culture of equity and inclusion.