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Alumni duo benefit from Dalhousie mentorship program

Entrepreneur Taylor Quinn (BA’15) and recent grad Rose Schoonhoven (BMgmt’21) have been working together as mentor and mentee through the Dalhousie Alumni Link program for the past four months. They meet virtually once a month to discuss Schoonhoven’s career plans, her recent wins and struggles, and chat about their shared interest in Halifax’s non-profit sector.

Posted: December 8, 2023

By: Emily MacKinnon

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When Taylor Quinn (BA’15) and Rose Schoonhoven (BMgmt’21) got paired in Dalhousie’s Fall 2023 alumni mentorship program, neither of them knew what to expect.

They had both received an alumni newsletter mentioning the Dalhousie Alumni Link a few months earlier and were intrigued. Quinn, for the opportunity to expand his leadership skills and the chance to share his knowledge to assist others. Schoonhoven, for the chance to have a dedicated mentor to pose industry-specific questions to.

They clicked and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Alumni Link program facilitates monthly video chats between mentors and mentees who are both Dal grads working (or aspiring to work) in similar fields even though they may have graduated from different Dal faculties. They talk about current projects, skills development, advice for next steps and sometimes just friendly commiseration.

Quinn and Schoonhoven have a shared interest in the non-profit sector — Quinn is an entrepreneur based in B.C. and Schoonhoven is a recent grad living in Halifax — and they use their monthly meetings to catch each other up on what is happening in their respective cities and careers.

Skills gained through mentorship

A less-obvious skill Quinn has gained from his time as a mentor has been listening with intent. “A mentor-mentee relationship requires really deep listening skills to understand what this mentee is looking for,” Quinn explains. “What are their hopes and dreams and challenges? And then how can I support them in their hopes and dreams and challenges?” He says volunteering his time for something so genuinely selfless is rewarding. “It’s a really good learning exercise, from a place of genuine care, to learn how you can support someone else.”

Career support post-grad

While Dalhousie staff work hard to pair mentors and mentees with similar interests and backgrounds, they know all alumni in the program will have the shared experience of graduating from Dal. “Having a Dalhousie alum as a mentor is the extension of support you get at Dalhousie as you start a new chapter in your life,” says Shoonhoven. “I found it very beneficial to have someone who was willing to take the time to share their knowledge and help you navigate those early years of your career in your industry.”