Jehangir Hansotia participated in AMA-Toronto’s first Career Accelerator program in 2018. Now volunteering as a coordinator for the 2019 Career Accelerator program, Jehangir shared his thoughts about the program:
Why did you want to participate in a mentorship program?
I immigrated to Canada from Pakistan in 2017. Before then, I had four years’ experience in marketing, working for one of the big digital agencies there. I started working in 2012 and I got promoted every year after that until 2016. But when I came here I struggled to find a job, and that struggle motivated me to find a mentorship program. I wanted to see if a mentor could help me develop some connections or advise me about how I should navigate the market.
It was a challenge to find a professional opportunity here not because I was lazy or unskilled — even talented and driven people can find it difficult to get ahead in the Canadian marketing environment. The marketing community here is very small and very niche. It’s a close-knit community. Even in the company I work at right now, my coworkers keep up with lots of contacts. Though people may not be working in the same office any more, they still keep tabs on each other.
What attracted you to the Career Accelerator program in particular?
I found out about the Career Accelerator program through a contact at the University of Toronto. He told me about this new program the AMA was developing and encouraged me to give it a shot. I had already attended a non-AMA mentorship program, but I didn’t have a great experience with it. When I found out that I could join the AMA, which has brand recognition globally, and that I’d get access to the AMA’s resources and events in addition to the mentorship, and that all of this was available at a deep discount, I had to apply for the program.
What did you get out of the program?
The mentor provided to me by the AMA was incredibly engaged. He seemed genuinely interested in my growth and my interests. He wasn’t there just to check off a task, or to gain experience for his own resume. He was there because he wanted to be there and because he wanted to help.
Initially, if I had been asked whether the person I was matched with was my dream match, I’d have said no, because he wasn’t in the industry I was interested in. But as it turned out, he was the person I needed to be matched with. I was very open about my situation when I applied for the program, and my mentor’s experiences matched exactly where I was at that point in my professional career. He was able to give me very solid guidance and amazing advice. He was also very open, and he was there as a good source of support. He was the right mentor for me at that point in my career.
How has the program helped advance your career?
Though the program technically ended in January 2019, we still connect at least once a month. I view this gentleman as someone I can contact on an occasional basis, and I’m familiar enough with him that I see him as someone I can get advice from for my continued career growth. That’s just the mentorship program itself. AMA membership has also given me an opportunity to volunteer for the association. Right now, I’m volunteering on several committees. One of those committees is led by a member of IBM’s marketing department — an incredibly valuable contact for me. The AMA offers a lot of value beyond the Career Accelerator program. The program’s a great way in, but after that there are a lot of other reasons why you’ll want to stay.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about the Career Accelerator program?
I believe this program offers great value and that it’s a great avenue for joining the AMA. It’s very rare that you’ll get this kind of support through your everyday interactions or educational institution. A few people will be successful regardless, because they’re naturally charismatic or they just know how to navigate situations to make the best of them. But for most of us, we need a program like this. It evens out the playing field and gives us a very strong foundation to flourish.
Also, this program was built for the new marketer. It was designed to help people who have just started their marketing career, or who are new to the marketing community in Toronto. It’s a fantastic entry point to the AMA, and I would wholeheartedly recommend this program to any new marketer. Right now, I’ve been asked to take a lead on the second year of the program. As my career progresses, I’m hoping to be able to participate in the AMA’s Mentor Exchange program, and after that, I would love to become a mentor in this program someday.
For more information about AMA-Toronto’s Career Accelerator program, visit our Career Accelerator web page. The deadline to apply for the program is April 15, 2019.
This article was brought to you through the partnership between the AMA-Toronto and HeadStart Copywriting.
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