Toronto (November 17, 2009) – The Mentoring Partnership, an award-winning program of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), will today recognize five outstanding program participants at the fourth annual Mentoring Partnership Awards, sponsored and hosted by TD Bank Financial Group. This year’s award recipients are mentors Michael Schafler, John Phelan and Carrie Samuels, and mentees Karen Brown and Kenneth Chiguvare.

Founded in 2004, The Mentoring Partnership uses a simple, but powerful idea to help job-ready skilled immigrants build their professional networks in Canada and better leverage their experience and skills in the local labour market.

“This year’s winners exemplify the difference that can be made through one-on-one professional relationships between skilled immigrants and established Canadian colleagues,” says Elizabeth McIsaac, executive director of TRIEC. “These success stories underscore the immense value of mentoring as a critical stepping stone that helps skilled immigrants find the right job.”

The program brings together recent skilled immigrants and established professionals in occupation-specific mentoring relationships. Through the program, mentors give 24 hours of their time over a four-month period to help mentees navigate the job search process by sharing their knowledge, experience and professional networks.

With the support of over 50 corporate partners and 12 community partners, The Mentoring Partnership has connected close to 5,000 skilled immigrants with a Canadian professional and network – both critical elements of the job search.

What: TRIEC’s fourth annual Mentoring Partnership Awards
Honouring five outstanding participants from The Mentoring Partnership program

When: Tuesday, November 17, 2009
5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Photo opportunity with TRIEC, sponsor and winners at 6:30 p.m.

Where: TD Tower
66 Wellington Street West
54th Floor, Lambert Room

2009 Mentoring Partnership Awards winners:

• Michael Schafler (Special Achievement Award)
Michael was instrumental in Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP becoming the first law firm ever to join The Mentoring Partnership as a corporate partner. His firm is now exploring expansion of the program at its other five offices across Canada. A two-time mentor, Michael is a champion of the program to other law firms. The award will be presented by Michael’s mentee Ria Madan. The pair was matched by JVS Toronto.

Karen Brown (Mentee of the Year Award)
With 10 years of international experience in financial services from Jamaica, Karen needed advice from her mentor about how to find the right job in Canada. With her mentor’s coaching, Karen conducted information interviews, secured a job shadowing opportunity and volunteered to gain Canadian experience. Karen’s positive attitude and determination landed her a job with TD Bank Financial Group. The award will be presented by TD Bank’s Jasmine Tehara, Karen’s mentor. The pair was matched by ACCES Employment Services in Brampton.

Kenneth Chiguvare (Mentee of the Year Award)
Although he is an experienced business analyst from Zimbabwe with a Masters degree from the UK, Kenneth needed advice about how to navigate the Canadian job market. With his mentor’s guidance, Kenneth mastered the art of “cold calls” and landed a customer service position. But he has bigger dreams, so Kenneth continues his job search each day. According to his mentor, Kenneth’s “unrelenting thirst for self-improvement” and proactive attitude is truly inspiring. The award will be presented by Kenneth’s mentor, Alan Keith, of 20/20 Assessment. The pair was matched by JVS Toronto.

John Phelan (Mentor of the Year Award)
As director of HR Services at the Regional Municipality of Halton, John is the driving force behind the organization’s participation in The Mentoring Partnership. In addition to mentoring newcomers, John takes a hands-on approach to organizing mentoring events, promoting the program through media, and recruiting friends and family to mentor skilled immigrants. John was nominated by Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning and will receive the award from Sheridan’s Susan Carpenter.

• Carrie Samuels (Mentor of the Year Award)
Carrie has helped many internationally-trained engineers and professionals develop strategies for success in the local job market, including her Ukrainian-born mentee. With 18 years of experience in the field, she tailors advice to mentees, focuses on networking, and helps newcomers navigate the Canadian workplace, making her the mentor of choice for professionals from all over the world. The award will be presented by Carrie’s mentee, Anya Faingersh. The pair was matched by JVS Toronto.

“Mentoring helps educate our employees about different cultures and about new immigrants as a key source of talent. As Canadian demographics change, cross-cultural understanding and skills are increasingly essential to our business and play an important role in creating an inclusive workplace.”

TD Bank Financial Group is the founding corporate partner of The Mentoring Partnership, has hundreds of employees actively participating in the program, and is helping to expand the mentoring program to other cities across Canada in partnership with ALLIES, a project of Maytree and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.

“Mentoring has numerous benefits for our employees and our business, and we’re thrilled to recognize five outstanding individuals today,” says Monique Bateman, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, TD Bank Financial Group.

The Mentoring Partnership will also be honoured with the Canadian Centre for Diversity’s Legacy Award later this week and is the proud recipient of the 2007 Canadian Urban Institute Award for City Initiatives.

Funding for The Mentoring Partnership is provided by the Government of Ontario, The Maytree Foundation and Manulife Financial. The Mentoring Partnership is offered in the City of Toronto and the regions of Halton, Peel and York and is a program of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). TRIEC creates and champions solutions to better integrate skilled immigrants in the Greater Toronto Region labour market (

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For more information: Visit or contact Emily Mills, Media Relations and Communications Specialist, (416) 944-1946 ext. 282,; Claire DeVeale-Blane, Communications Manager, (416) 944-1946 ext. 271,



Reference: TRIEC