erica enstrom

Erica’s Mentorship Experience

Learn why our founder joined the The Scotiabank Women Initiative Mentor Program

When Integra founder Erica Enstrom was approached by The Forum, a Canadian charity that empowers women entrepreneurs across Canada, to participate in their mentorship program, she was eager for the opportunity to give back to the community.

The Scotiabank Women Initiative Mentor Program partners with The Forum to provide opportunities for women entrepreneurs to connect with experienced business leaders through 1:1 mentorship. For over 20 years The Forum has been pairing both early-stage and established women entrepreneurs with mentors who understand their businesses, and now the Scotiabank Women Initiative will extend this offering to program participants at no cost.

After viewing her profile on LinkedIn, representatives from The Forum thought Erica would be an excellent mentor. Integra is driven by its values, including embracing opportunities and creating equality for women, so Erica knew getting involved with the mentorship program was a great fit. Giving back to her community has always been a priority of Erica’s, especially when it comes to supporting and promoting fellow women entrepreneurs. She felt that her business experiences, her successes and failures, and her unique set of skills at the confluence of medicine, law, and business might fill a niche, and The Forum agreed.

The mentorship program pairs mentors and mentees for a 12-month period, over the course of which mentees receive support and guidance from an established and experienced business owner. Mentors provide feedback, actionable next steps, and encouragement as their mentees work toward and achieve their goals. The program offers mentees:

  • Personalized support and guidance from a mentor who understands the mentee’s industry and needs.
  • Virtual planning and time-efficient resources to succeed, including suggested agendas, feedback forms, and more.
  • Accountability and motivation, with goal setting and progress tracking.

The Scotiabank Women Initiative Mentor Program makes it easy for mentees to manage their time while providing them with the necessary guidance to grow.

While the mentorship program focuses on benefits to the mentee, Erica found that as a mentor, she also receives a lot of value from the relationship. Erica’s mentee was seeking guidance related to Erica’s business resources, knowledge, and experience, but as a published author and podcaster, the mentee was highly accomplished  in her own right. The mentee’s different set of resources, knowledge, and experiences were things Erica deeply respected and valued. Erica quickly realized that the mentoring process would be meaningful and beneficial to them both.

In addition to the chance to learn from her mentee, Erica values the related opportunity for contemplation and reflection. She looks forward to the biweekly sessions, which force her to slow down and get into ‘listening mode’. As a busy entrepreneur, Erica’s default mode is action – thinking and moving quickly – so this is a practice she really appreciates.

It’s not surprising, then, that Erica heartily recommends the program to other entrepreneurs, citing not only the need for more female business mentors, but also her desire to have had a mentor herself when she was starting out.

“I really wish I had a female mentor in my early career,” Erica explains.  “I had one leader I really looked up to, and then quite a few peers, colleagues, and direct reports that I learned a lot from.  But I wish I had someone to bounce things off of, someone who was unattached to my personal success.  I think that’s what comes with being a mentor: you have a level of detachment that helps create objectivity in your guidance.”

To learn more about the Scotiabank Women Initiative Mentor Program and to get involved as a mentor or a mentee, visit their website here.

To see the difference working with a company that lives their values, contact Integra today.