Natalie Ianniello

Making the most of mentoring opportunities

Sarah Jane Silva

Natalie Ianniello, 21, has lived in Mississauga pretty much her whole life.

When it came time to choosing a university, she decided that if she was going to stay local it would only make sense to attend the school in her backyard. “I chose UTM because I thought it was a good opportunity to stay with my family and hopefully save some money,” said the fourth-year commerce student.

The daughter of an accountant and a banker, Ianniello has always been interested in all things business from a very young age. Unsurprisingly, she is currently pursuing a specialist in finance and majoring in economics.

It was in her second year when Ianniello decided to get more involved in the extra-curricular opportunities offered by UTM Management and the Innovative Business Association (previously known as the Undergraduate Commerce Society or UCS.) “Having that professional development aspect to the program definitely helped because there is only so much you can learn in the classroom,” she said.

“To have the chance to actually network with professionals, learn about some different career opportunities, have mock interviews, and have mentors was really great.”

Mentorship advantage

By the fourth year, Ianniello became UCS’s vice president of external affairs, a position she cherishes because she got to mentor and lead other students, passing on the tips and tricks of her previous experiences of being a mentee herself.

“Mostly I was involved with guiding students and being a liaison between them and the Department of Management,” she said.

Mentoring can have a significant impact on those trying to find success in their fields and can help open doors. Relationship Manager, Meghan Tamane, is part of the Professional Development & Learning Centre (PDLC), which helps connect students to work opportunities.

Last summer the PDLC and Bell hosted an information session about a new program offering – the BCE Graduate Leadership Program – which focuses on helping graduates gain the practical experience required to become an accounting professional.

The program also helps students obtain their Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.

BCE Graduate Leadership Program

2017 was the program’s official launch, which now boasts two streams: the specialized Approved Training Office and the Financial Management Stream.

The Financial Management Stream is designed for graduates, such as Ianniello, who would also like to pursue their CPA, but at their own pace.

Your network is really everything.
I wouldn't have had the full-time job that I have now going into September if I hadn't leveraged my network. — Natalie Ianniello

“I created this stream to meet CPA competencies,” said Francesca Dorado, senior manager of the Finance Grad Leadership Program at Bell Canada Finance, and UTM alumna. A graduate of the BCom program, Dorado was also a UCS member.

She fondly remembers ‘living’ at the library during midterms and exam times, hanging out at Spigel Hall, and getting her sweat on at the then newly opened RAWC in 2007. Upon graduating, Bell was her first employer.

“I definitely grew up at Bell Finance, and now I get to pay it forward by taking on a new role managing Bell Finance’s Grad Leadership Program for the whole country.”

Although Dorado tries to hire the best students regardless of which university they attend, what draws her to the University of Toronto is personal. “I enjoyed my university experience and although it was challenging, it made me stronger and helped me acquire skills that helped me be successful at Bell,” she said.

“Now it’s my time to help my fellow, younger alumni, and I’ve been so pleased with those who I have met at UTM.”

Dorado describes Ianniello as approachable, eloquent and inquisitive. But that’s not all. “She exudes leadership, which is a quality that I would like all my grads to have as part of this program.”