As part of the Canadian Mentorship Challenge, hosted in partnership with Startup Canada and CATAAlliance, a callout was made to the national community to nominate Canadian Mentor Rock Stars — the local leaders and passionate individuals who inspire others in their communities. We’re pleased to showcase one of two CYBF mentors who made the Top 10 Mentor Rock Stars for 2012.

Cathy Kuzel, Founder, The Connected Woman

(British Columbia)

What her nominees said:

“Cathy is well connected in the business community and provided me great resources. She is a true role model and is creative and resourceful when working with me on my business challenges. She encourages me to think for myself and work out solutions to problems and always very supportive. She provided me with many knowledgeable ideas in many areas of my business and her positive spirit makes her an ideal candidate for this award.”

“Cathy has provided me with the confidence to move outside my comfort zones and has pushed me to take on challenges and make decisions which I may not have done. She has opened the doors to other opportunities I may not have discovered and made me realise it is okay to make mistakes as that is the way we learn.”

“When I sought out a mentor, I was already nearly three years into building my business. Working with Cathy felt like starting from square one, in a good way… Together we worked on big picture stuff and details like changing one word in an e-mail or drafting a new logo and business card. I am always learning from the six months I spent with Cathy and have her words of advice running through my head to guide me whenever I am faced with a business problem.”

Startup Canada Q&A with Cathy:

1) How does it feel to be nominated as a Mentor Rock Star?

Awesome and I’m honoured!

2) We’ve heard about the impacts you have on your mentees’ lives…. what sort of impact do your mentees have on your life?

There is always something new to learn from each entrepreneur I work with. Every mentee brings their own personality, thoughts and passion to the table and allows me to see the world through their eyes. It keeps me my saw sharpened!

3) Do you have, or have you had, a mentor in your life? Who are / were they and what is one thing they taught you that has stuck with you?

My first mentor was my mother as I was growing up. As one of the extremely rare women executives of a mining company in the early 70’s, she taught me the importance of composure, the power of knowledge and anything worth having is worth fighting for. Unfortunately, it was only for a short time as she died from cancer when I was 17. The other person whose business acumen and work ethics influenced me was Lia Keeping, now VP of Sales for North America, Jockey Person to Person. I had the privilege of working with Lia at a different company for over 18yrs and learned valuable lessons in leadership.

4) In your mind, what are the top three qualities of a great mentor?

Just three? Being a great mentor is a combination of a number of qualities and to pick just three would be like reading the front and back covers of a book and missing all the ‘good stuff’ in the middle! Having said that, if I must choose only three, I believe:

  • Great listening skills combined with an even greater skill of asking questions.
  • Willingness to share skills, knowledge, and expertise.
  • The ability to inspire effective action in the mentee.

5) What do you think needs to be done to help connect more entrepreneurs with mentors?

This is why I volunteer as a mentor at CYBF, Women’s Enterprise Centre of BC, Junior Achievement, as well as speak at local organizations because having a presence in the community and letting entrepreneurs know the value of having a mentor is important. The Connected Woman Association was created in part to provide a community of support and mentorship for women in business on my belief that “Knowledge Shared is Success Magnified.”~ CK . Business leaders need to be encouraged to participate in a mentorship role as there will always be more mentees than there are mentors.

Get up to $60,000
in financial support,
and the support of one
of our 3,000 mentors.

Learn More →