Employee Feature: Mentorship at Copperleaf—Q&A with Judi Hess and Rachel Grillot
At Copperleaf®, we provide professional development opportunities to enable people to reach their full potential. The Copperleaf mentorship program is a 4-month volunteer program where mentees can share challenges and gain advice and practical skills from experienced mentors, from our executives to team leads and employees across the entire company. We spoke to Rachel Grillot, Solutions Consulting Team Lead, and her mentor Judi Hess, CEO, about their experience participating in the program.
Why did you sign up for the mentorship program?
Rachel: “I’m always keen to pick up new knowledge and skills, and the mentorship program seemed like a great opportunity to get some one-on-one time with an expert. I was curious to learn more about leadership and was also interested in developing a relationship with someone in the company that I might not know very well.”
Judi: “I’ve spent 40 years in the tech industry and wanted to provide my support and expertise to our team here at Copperleaf. Tech is a human endeavor and a team sport, so I wanted to share my experience and help others. I also enjoy being a mentee, as I know there’s a lot I can learn and I love learning!”
What advice would you give to others considering signing up to be a mentee/mentor?
Rachel: “Do it! Think about the areas you’d like to learn about or improve on and just sign up! The mentorship program provides a safe space for you to discuss any topic with an experienced mentor whose main focus is on supporting you. Once you have a mentor, let them know which topics you’d like to discuss in advance of meeting to help maximize the value of each session.”
Judi: “Anyone considering becoming a mentor should definitely sign up and take advantage of this experience. You might be able to help someone who is struggling or bring inspiration to them—and you’ll definitely learn new things as well. On top of that, you get to meet and discover a new person, which always enriches your life.”
The mentorship program provides a safe space for you to discuss any topic with an experienced mentor whose main focus is on supporting you.
Solutions Consulting Team Lead
How have you found the mentorship program while working remotely?
Rachel: “The mentorship program worked well remotely. It was easy to slot in convenient times between other virtual meetings and it was nice to take a break from regular work activities to engage in a deep personal conversation!”
Judi: “The remote experience creates a more formal environment than going for a coffee, for example, but I believe it’s still extremely effective and worthwhile, and we’ve had many thoughtful discussions on a wide variety of topics. I think in the future, it would make sense to have a mixture of remote and in-person sessions (when feasible) as the standard for the mentorship program in order to get the best of both worlds.”
What’s the best advice you’ve received from your mentor?
Rachel: “One nugget of wisdom from Judi that I’ll never forget is how as a leader, your main focus should be on enabling the people on your team to grow beyond you! Leading is primarily about growing the skills of the people around you and nurturing their talents so that they can eventually take on your position. This is something I always keep in mind through all of my 1:1 meetings and leadership activities.”
Anyone considering becoming a mentor should definitely sign up and take advantage of this experience. You might be able to help someone who is struggling or bring inspiration to them—and you’ll definitely learn new things as well.
How has the mentorship program impacted your development here at Copperleaf?
Rachel: “For me, the best part of the mentorship program was getting to know Judi on a deeper level. Understanding the problems she’s focused on solving today, the challenges she overcame earlier in her career, and her view on what it takes to lead a company, has given me unique insights into the actions I can take as a leader to help make my team successful.”
What are you most excited about for the future?
Rachel: “With Copperleaf’s hybrid work environment, I’m excited to see my coworkers and clients more regularly face-to-face! So many great people work at Copperleaf and I’d like to see them as often as possible.”
Judi: “At Copperleaf, we’re transforming how the world sees value and I’m very excited about the opportunities we have to contribute to our clients’ net-zero goals. I just love the people here and what we are trying to accomplish. We’re passionate about driving sustainability for future generations and we have a great team that can get us there. It isn’t a simple undertaking—but if it was simple, our clients wouldn’t need us!”
As one of Canada’s fastest-growing companies, Copperleaf is always looking for talented individuals to join our team! Check out our current job openings here.