Equity, diversity and inclusion infused throughout Harry G. Schaefer Mentorship Program


The importance of a mentor/mentee relationship can not be overstated at the best of times. During a pandemic, with students in isolation, its value has increased even more.


Now entering its ninth year, the Harry G. Schaefer Mentorship Program (HGS) has matched 151 Mount Royal University students with 105 industry professionals offering guidance and leadership to launch and sustain their careers.

Presented by Mount Royal’s Student Learning Services and created as a legacy in memory of longtime Calgary business icon Harry G. Schaefer, for the second year IG Wealth Management is the title sponsor for the program.

“We believe in giving back in ways that can make real and meaningful differences in communities. By partnering with universities we hope to empower our future leaders,” says Alana Riley, senior vice-president (Western Canada) with IG Wealth Management.

“Here in Calgary, our largest team is located just steps from the MRU campus and we have a number of alumni working with us. We are thrilled to be the lead sponsor, a three-year commitment, knowing that this program can positively impact both mentors and mentees during a time when we are all in need of the power of connection.”

The importance of a mentor/mentee relationship can not be overstated at the best of times. During a pandemic, with students in isolation, its value has increased even more.

“Although I am new to the HGS program, I feel its quality in this short time has far exceeded my expectations,” says Hayley Bonnett, a third-year Bissett School of Business student pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administration ― Finance with a concentration in financial analysis. She is Riley’s mentee.

As Bonnett has quickly found out, mentorship is an opportunity to gain insight into the industry she is currently studying. “There is only so much I can learn in a class and from books. Joining HGS is my way of bridging this gap.”

Bonnett was searching for a way to stay connected with the university community and keep motivated in her studies. She believes the mentorship program has proven very helpful in these regards.

“Thanks to Alana, I have been introduced to more students as well as professional networking opportunities and seminars. Our meetings consist of various topics, from resumé advice, book or podcast recommendations, emotional intelligence, or adapting to remote work.”

Bonnett adds, “Our discussions often emphasize the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion. These themes are important on all scales, from individual inclusivity to corporations as a whole. We all play a part in the bigger picture. I'm mindful of my part and strive to bring equality, diversity and inclusion into all aspects of my life.”


Hayley Bonnett, a third-year Bissett School of Business student pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administration ― Finance with a concentration in financial analysis.

Bonnett was searching for a way to stay connected with the university community and keep motivated in her studies. She believes the mentorship program has proven very helpful in these regards.


A commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is a key strategic priority for IG Wealth Management. For Riley, it is a business case that speaks for itself. She points out that companies are six times as likely to be innovative and agile and eight times more likely to deliver better business results with EDI as a focus. “This strategy also creates positive workplace experiences, as well impacts our ability to attract and retain top talent.”

Riley is proud of the momentum that her organization's corporate culture is experiencing as it relates to EDI, while also acknowledging they have further work to do.

“At the heart of our strategy is creating awareness, learning from each other and delivering on our commitments. We are providing every team member with a voice,” Riley says. Internally, IG Wealth Management leverages EDI advisory councils both at the corporate and local levels. They have also introduced Partners in Action groups including Indigenous, female and LGBTQ2S+ members.

“We are also focused on our recruiting activities and leveraging unconscious bias and inclusive leadership training to support our efforts. Each of us has a critical role to play in creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive culture,” Riley says.

Riley has leveraged both formal and informal mentor relationships throughout her entire career, however she wishes she had explored a formal mentoring relationship during her undergraduate studies, she says. In her present day-to-day role, she is currently heavily invested in working closely with universities.

“As a mentor I look forward to building a long-term relationship with my mentee. Building a relationship based on trust, sharing feedback, insights and having meaningful conversations where we both learn from each other and have an opportunity to positively impact both personal and professional lives. I also want to provide career coaching and focus on leveraging mutual networks exploring opportunities for advocacy. I am fully invested in my mentee’s growth and success.”

So far the partnership has been a smooth ride. As a mentee two months into the program, Bonnett is already experiencing numerous positive benefits from their relationship.

“Mentorship is a great way to network and learn from professionals further along in their careers,” Bonnet says. “Advice from another's point of view, especially one with successful experience, helps one make more informed decisions.

“From my experience, the value gained from a mentor and mentee relationship has paid off immediately and will continue to provide dividends over time.”

Learn more about the HGS program and watch this year's virtual, live-streamed kick-off event featuring former Calgary Stampeders player Jon Cornish and CBC broadcaster Doug Dirks.

Feb. 22, 2021 ― Jonathan Anderson

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