Dana Samman, BBA, CHRP

Mentor, Mentors in Business Program

Dana Samman

What does mentorship mean to you?

It is a dynamic learning partnership: an opportunity to discuss and process learning that is taking place. For instance, it offers the mentee the opportunity to make better decisions by benefiting from the expertise and experience of the mentor.

What motivated you to become a Mentors in Business (MIB) mentor?

First, I want to give back to the SFU Beedie School of Business, my alma mater. Faculty did a tremendous job in making it possible for me to be where I am today. I find that I have gained important insights that may help accelerate someone else’s career development. As a result, I have specific knowledge I want to pass on to members of the SFU Beedie School of Business community. Second, I appreciate how the MIB program ensures that the mentees are self-directing--the mentee has a specific need to know. As a result, there is a readiness for learning and willingness to be guided. When a mentee is internally motivated to learn, he or she responds better and there is an immediacy of application. Most importantly, it is exciting to be involved in a learning relationship that focuses on helping the mentee reach his or her specific goals. It is intrinsically motivating to me.

Describe the Mentors in Business experience.

We meet monthly, face to face, for a few hours, and I intentionally build in some reflection time between meetings.

What are some of the unexpected benefits that have resulted from the relationship?

In order to facilitate Leo’s learning, I had to consciously reflect on my experiences. The exercise was an exhilarating reminder that my lived experience is the most powerful learning resource I have. I have learned lessons from mistakes and successes. This has increased my self-awareness and renewed my enthusiasm to stretch myself further and to accept more challenging experiences.

What have you learned about yourself? What skills have you honed through this experience?

I really enjoy investing and stimulating reflection in others.

I exercised my curiosity by asking questions that support and challenge. I listened reflectively by clarifying, paraphrasing, and reading between the lines (keying into feelings). As a human resources professional, I exercise these skills daily in dealing with a myriad of employer/employee relations issues. However, it was refreshing to exercise these skills in a different context.

How do you feel you have helped your mentee?

I shed light on how our lived experiences are our most powerful learning resource. If we do not get the outcome we want in life, we can change our approach but must also remain focused.

What advice would you give to industry professionals who may be considering becoming a mentor?

You need to be genuinely interested in helping the mentee develop and grow. It is the motivation that drives the participation.

Interested in becoming a mentor? Visit our Mentors in Business page or contact mentorsinbusiness@sfu.ca for more information.