Reflections on the Transition from Student Ministry to Workplace Mentoring

by Cassie Weishaupt

Cassie Weishaupt, Data Scientist, SIL

I learned the importance of discipleship in student ministry at McGill university. During my final two years there, my discipler, Anka, closely fostered my spiritual growth. We read books together on the nature of God and the meaning of the Gospel. She coached me through relationship struggles, walked me through the difficult process of forgiveness, coached me through the challenges of being a student leader during a global pandemic, and was always there to hold me when I cried. Despite her busy schedule, she made it a point to occasionally take me out to dinner. With her guidance, I took the leap of faith to start with SIL directly after finishing my undergrad. She was, and still is, one of my best friends; she brings out the best in me. This was all I knew Christian mentorship to be, and it was wonderful.

I started full-time with SIL in August 2022 after a wonderfully hectic summer. As a 22-year-old fresh college graduate and newlywed who was starting her first full-time job, I was definitely in need of a mentor. I missed Anka, and although I was sad to be leaving her back in Montreal, I was looking forward to taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge in my new workplace. My supervisor, Dan, saw mentorship as a necessity.  Before my first day on the job, he matched me with my workplace mentor, Christy, the only other female data scientist in SIL. She was a great fit for me, but not in the way I first expected. 

A week or so before our first session, Christy sent me some daunting-looking forms. A mentoring agreement – what is that? And a goal-setting worksheet? Wasn’t my mentor supposed to already have plans for my professional and spiritual growth? This mentoring style felt strange, unfamiliar, and a bit cold even. But over the following months, I grew to know Christian mentorship in a new way, and it was wonderful. 

A few weeks into my new position, Christy and Dan encouraged me to sign up for the Intro to Mentoring course. Despite initially feeling out of place as a mentee in a class full of mentors, I gained many insights which made me a better data scientist, mentee, and person. 

As I learned more about the various flavors of mentoring, the distinct responsibilities of mentor and mentee, and the importance of goal setting, I felt I had more sense of direction and purpose going into my meetings with Christy. As a result, she helped me to set goals that not only made me more efficient in my work, but also helped me improve my social and spiritual life. With her guidance, I can now better communicate with my superiors, be assertive, and confidently take initiative in situations where I’m unsure how to proceed. She is the reason I now feel like I belong and can contribute meaningfully to the SIL community; she brings out the best in me. Thanks to Anka and Christy and their unique ways of fostering my growth, I can now grow where I’m planted. 

Banner photo from Articulate 360

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