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bilateral mentorship - investing in others

Updated: Feb 29

My first experience in mentorship occurred when I was 17 years old, It was someone who I never met.  I had been selected as 1 of 12 recipients of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Scholarships.  His name was Dalton McGuinty Sr, a politician, who served Ontario 1987-1990. He entered politics because he believed “he could do something for the average person”. He left an indelible impression with me and established a relationship with me despite never having met me in real life.

He would ask me questions, always curious about my plans, thoughts and feelings. I failed a course in my 2nd year of nursing, I was 17, was never “book smart”, the youngest of 10 children, with brilliant siblings who were doctors, engineers and other notable professionals. Not only had I disappointed my father, but I worried that I would lose my scholarship.

When I told him that I had failed, he asked me, “what could I learn from this experience and how could this situation make me a better person?" His wisdom to take things in stride & focus on the learning set me on a course of mentorship and investing in people. As my career in nursing, pharmaceuticals, management consultancy and not for profits progressed, my natural default was to get curious about what we could learn from setbacks and reflect on how I could lead instead of blaming or shaming. 


One of our last conversations, he thanked me for teaching him about resilience, passion and commitment. He showed me what bilateral mentorship means. Where both individuals approach the mentoring relationship as an opportunity to grow vs. traditional mentorship where a more experienced individual shares their knowledge with someone who was just starting out in their career.  

It is a bilateral flow of information in both directions between the mentor and mentee. It is an intentional approach where reflection and skill building are the priority for all participants. At the lolas’ collective, we believe that a bilateral, guided approach leverages the strengths of both individuals and leads to greater dialogue and puts less pressure on the intended mentor.


Using the bilateral platform, both parties probe deeper:

o  I’m curious . . . let's find out together

o  Can you help me understand? 

o  Hmmm – I wonder if . . .


The one regret I have in my life is never meeting Dalton McGuinty Sr. in real life.  He passed away shortly after I graduated with a BN and a 4.0 GPA in my last year. He was so proud of me & gave me the confidence to pursue a MBA.


If you are curious about the lolas’ collective bilateral mentorship platform and you are interested in becoming a mentor click here. If you want to be mentored click here.


Established in 2023, the lolas' collective is a visionary initiative co-founded by two executive female leaders. Recognizing a significant gap in mentorship, candid dialogue, and outcome frameworks for female-led early-stage entrepreneurs and businesses, they set out to create a platform that prioritizes sustainable business growth, combining expertise from large scale enterprises and entrepreneurial mindsets. At the heart of the lolas' collective is the belief that small businesses are the bedrock of innovation and the driving force of the economy. The mission of the collective is threefold: to demystify complexities, expedite the learning process, and foster a dynamic culture of innovation among these enterprising women.

* Kacy Chow is a seasoned senior executive having started several businesses and is the co-founder of the lolas’ collective

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