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This International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting the importance of women supporting women through mentorship, and the impact that it can have on one’s career. Past Mentor Exchange mentee and current Career Accelerator mentor, Ivy Cuervo explains how mentorship and the women in her life have shaped her career journey and gotten her to where she is today. 

Growing up in Peru, I was always surrounded by strong women. My mother and her four sisters would often offer advice, most of the time unsolicited, about the importance of being an independent woman who is educated, informed, and strives for excellence. I cherish those moments and I have not forgotten their stories. They were early influences who helped to inform my views on life.

I have benefited from that type of informal mentorship for most of my life. But it’s only in the past 5 years that I have seen the power and benefits of a formalized mentorship program. 

A former boss once said to me, “Ivy, you will only get in life what you pursue. Don’t shortchange yourself. And don’t think someone else has not already asked for what you want. Be brave and take it.” That stayed with me.

In 2019, I became aware of the mentorship program at the American Marketing Association – Toronto (AMA Toronto) through a recruiter. Craig Lund recommended me for the Mentor Exchange program and thought I would benefit from having a mentor. He was right. 

What was the mentor supposed to do? How do you build a relationship with someone you have just met? I did not know what to expect. But when I met with my first formal mentor, it all made sense. She offered more than just advice about career choices; she shared her own experience as an executive, as a woman, and how to align strategic goals with action. 

At the time, I was ready for a change, but I was having a difficult time making the leap. My mentor helped me focus with a career path exercise that made two things clear – I thrive under pressure and creativity is critical to my happiness. 

This year, AMA Toronto enters the fifth season of its Career Accelerator program. It is designed for young marketers who want to further their careers with the guidance of an experienced marketer. AMA Toronto is committed to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion through its products and services, including its mentorship programs. I am proud to be among the 750+ people who have taken part in these programs. 

In 2020, I made the transition from mentee to mentor. 

The young woman I recently mentored taught me a lot. She asked similar questions to those I had in the early days of my career. I didn’t think my experience would be of value to her or anyone else, but it was. I guess because it has not been linear. 

In my early 20’s I danced professionally and taught adults and children. I later switched to journalism and had the opportunity to work for two major Canadian broadcasters. I then transitioned to corporate communications and led the brand team at a leading cancer charity. 

Today, I work in the tech sector. 

I joined Dejero in early 2022 as its new Director of Brand and Communications. I knew about the company years before I was hired. I used their gear on the field while I worked as a reporter for CBC. It feels like a full circle moment for me to now be a member of the Dejero team. 

I feel like I am finally where I am meant to be. I wouldn’t have gotten here without the support, guidance, and ‘real talk’ from the women in my life. It’s not just that their help has been invaluable, but they have all inspired me to be better, to aim higher, and to never settle. 

Happy International Women’s Day! 

About Ivy Cuervo
Ivy Cuervo is a seasoned storyteller with over 15 years of experience. As Director, Brand and Communications at Dejero, she manages a broad portfolio which includes branding, communications, media, and public affairs. Ivy is also the host of Chromosome F, a podcast about fitness, female friends and fun.

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