Career Pathways: Finding Her Own Way Again with Lynn MendonzaPosted on December 13, 2022
Career Pathways is a Schulich ExecEd ongoing series showcasing some of our talented alumni. Everyone has something interesting and insightful to share, from independent business owners to corporate managers. We want to bring their stories to life.
Lynn Mendonza knew she needed to start anew after moving to the GTA from India three years ago. “I have an engineering degree, and I worked as a database administrator for about eight years back home. There wasn’t a break,” says Lynn. Eventually she decided to leave the full-time workforce following the birth of her son, something she found isolating, making it hard to transition to Canada and find community.
In 2022, after four years of focusing solely on her son, Lynn sought new mental stimulation. This was a self-discovery she realized during the move to Canada as well: she wanted to restart her career.
The Starting Point
Lynn focused on researching relevant programs with strong credentials and a good reputation; she also sought the added benefits of flexibility and network support. She set her sights on project management, knowing the skills were easily transferable. “I just wanted to try different things that were out there,” says Lynn. “Schulich ExecEd was a name that stood out to me, and that’s probably why I did it—why I enrolled so quickly. I was like, ‘I’m gonna give this a shot’.”
Lynn entered the Sister2Sister Advanced Leadership program, which is a program in partnership with Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto (NEW) and Schulich ExecEd. “I was trying to network – I don’t like to use that word really, ‘network’ –” says Lynn, “but to begin again and form a community, it was helpful. The newcomers’ program stood out. And they had other programs, which were geared towards integrating better into the community.”
Lynn’s program focused on project management, which included business writing and time management. She says weekly classes provided new insight into her skills and balanced her work identity in Canada with what she’d learned in her previous career in India. “I feel like this program gave me a foundation, a base, to understand what’s really going on in the current workforce. I feel like my options are now open and I’m trying to figure out what I really like.”
The Surprise Bonus
Lynn completed the program successfully in June 2022. Although she’s not working directly in a project management role, she told us that she utilizes the skills she learned in the program regularly, applying time management and communication tools to her daily work. “I even use those skills at home,” says Lynn, who’s currently working as an Application Support Specialist for a large organization.
“Coming back from a career break, and coming back into a new stream, was more difficult than going back to something I already knew, but I had a lot of support,” she says, referring to the staff and community built around the programs at Schulich. “I have a daughter with a rare disease, so my life is a whole lot different from most people around me or people I know. This program was a way for me to have an achievement—something that I was just doing for myself.”
We want to thank Lynn again for taking the time to chat with us for the Career Pathways series. If you’re interested in learning more about Schulich’s partnerships with Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto (NEW) and the Sister2Sister Advanced Leadership program, you can read about it here.
Not sure what program is right for you? Our expert advisors can help. Talk to a Schulich ExecEd advisor today.