From a Mentee to a Mentor



By Aina Aliieva

Vancouver, BC, Canada



We didn’t have mentorship programs when I started my career in Ukraine. Having been born in a post-Soviet Union country in an industrial city, my choices were very limited. I didn’t even know the word “Mentor”. Of course we had teachers, professors and bosses, yet these people weren’t the right ones for me. I had an inner desire to meet someone but I couldn’t even express who I was looking for.

I was lucky. My first boss became my mentor. We didn’t refer to our relationship as a “Mentorship” since we didn’t know this word. However, she taught me a lot and I still remember her advice.

Unfortunately, my first mentorship didn’t last long. Due to very sad circumstances, I lost my boss and got another job. The new job environment was very different. Nobody cared about me. I was desperately looking for someone who could provide me with a relationship similar to what I had with my previous boss but this didn’t happen. On the one hand, I wanted to become independent, learn how to make decisions and mitigate risks. On the other hand, I wanted to feel safe and comfortable and just have someone tell me what to do and what is right. Do you sense the irony?

I struggled. I had the feeling that I was inventing the bicycle while everybody else was driving a car. I knew that “bicycles” existed but no one could show them to me. I kept inventing. I invented “triangular wheels” and made many other mistakes until I created the first more or less useful “bicycle”. I knew that I suffered and put in so much effort for nothing. It would have been much easier and quicker if someone just gave me directions!

Time passed. I moved to Canada. Here I was introduced to a proper mentorship program. I felt so good! Finally, someone to teach me! I thought the only thing I needed was to find a good mentor and then I would easily figure out what to do with my life and my career would skyrocket. You probably already guessed what happened next. I found my mentor but our relationship didn’t work. In my mind, the Mentor was like a Prince on a White Horse; a knowledgeable and powerful person who would save me from my doubts, routines and struggles. Sheryl Sandberg said a very good phrase: “we need to stop saying, “get a mentor and you will excel.” Instead, we need to say, “Excel and you will get a mentor”.

Eventually, I came to understand what these relationships were about. I applied for different programs, met great people and had awesome mentors. I understood what I wanted, received certifications and grew professionally. And last year for the first time in my life, I became a mentor myself. It was so thrilling and exciting!



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How to cite this article: Aliieva, A. (2020). From a Mentee to a Mentor; PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue VI, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/pmwj94-Jun2020-Aliieva-from-mentee-to-mentor.pdf



About the Author


Aina Aliieva

Vancouver, BC, Canada


Aina Aliieva is a Scrum Master with 4 years of experience in Project Management and 4 years in an Agile environment.  She is also CEO and instructor in Bee Agile Tutoring. She teaches Project Management, Agile and goal setting for organizations around the world. She has managed and consulted on projects for the technical, construction, and engineering disciplines.

Aina has a Masters’s degree in electrical engineering and an MBA in technology. She has PMP and PMI-ACP certificates.

Aina is an active member of PMI CWCC (Canadian West Coast Chapter), PMI Ukraine Chapter and UAE PMI. She is also a Program Manager, Disciplined Agile in PMI CWCC.

Aina is an experienced public speaker and coach. She also helps in personal planning and setting up goals.

In her free time, Aina participates in different mentorship programs, speaks at webinars and interviews people for her personal blog.

She can be contacted at https://www.linkedin.com/in/aina-aliieva/