Victor Young is one of 11 eminent Canadians chosen this year to be paired with promising PhD students, known collectively as Trudeau Scholars. He is the fourth person from Newfoundland and Labrador to be named a Trudeau mentor following Edward Roberts in 2010, Misel Joe in 2009 and Elizabeth Davis in 2007. There have been 117 Trudeau Mentors to date.
“I was very honoured [to be named a Trudeau mentor] because the programs offers such a great opportunity for mentors to provide advice, based on their own life and work experiences, to young brilliant scholars who are setting out on their own journey of learning and experiencing the trials, tribulations and thrills of life,” said Dr. Young.
The Trudeau mentorship and scholarship program, offered by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, pairs renowned Canadians who have extensive experience in public life with promising doctoral students. The aim is to help PhD students gain insight into perspectives outside of academia, particularly those relating to public policy, so that they may integrate these insights into their research and better reflect the needs and concerns of society.
Support for students
Dr. Young has a great deal of experience in the provincial government as well as in a variety of volunteer and mentorship roles.
“In thinking about who in the province would be a suitable nominee for the Trudeau Mentor program, Victor Young’s name was top of mind,” said Dr. Peggy Coady, associate dean (course-based master’s) at the Faculty of Business Administration, who co-ordinated Dr. Young’s nomination. “Dr. Young is a significant supporter of Memorial University and our students. He has been mentoring students for decades through his involvement as a judge for our case teams that compete in international competitions. His advice is always practical, wise and delivered in a constructive and supportive manner. The Trudeau scholarships recipients are very fortunate to have a respected and accomplished business leader like Dr. Young as a mentor.”
A diverse career
Dr. Young, who has a bachelor of commerce degree from Memorial and a master of business administration (MBA) from the University of Western Ontario, began his career with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1968.
He’s served in a variety of roles since then including deputy minister of the Treasury Board, special advisor to the premier, chair and chief executive officer of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Churchill Falls Corporation and Fishery Products International, chair of the Royal Commission on Newfoundland and Labrador’s Place in Canada and executive-in-residence at Memorial’s business faculty.
He’s now a corporate director on the boards of Royal Bank of Canada, Imperial Oil and McCain Foods. Over the years, he’s participated in many advisory groups to the federal and provincial governments as well as spearheaded fundraising efforts for Memorial and the provincial healthcare system.
He also holds an honorary degree from Memorial, is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Business Hall of Fame, is a recipient of the Paul Harris (Rotary) Lifetime Achievement Award and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and is Honorary Japanese Counsel.
“The Trudeau program is fascinating and takes mentoring to a more intensive level.”
In addition to mentoring MBA case teams at the business faculty, Dr. Young has been a member of the Women on Boards mentoring program, which helps prepare women to sit on boards of corporate and non-profit institutions.
“The Trudeau program is fascinating and takes mentoring to a more intensive level. There is an emphasis on matching people who don’t necessarily mirror each other in terms of background, so the matches are based on the potential benefits of diversity,” said Dr. Young. “I am told this approach has proven to be rewarding, not just for the mentored student but for the person lucky enough to be a mentor.”
Dr. Young has been matched for the next two years with Wendell Adjetey, a joint PhD student in history and African American studies at Yale University.
Mr. Adjetey’s research examines how cross-border migrations in Great Lakes cities enabled black people to effect political change in both Canada and the United States.
“I’m very excited to have Dr. Young as my mentor,” he said. “He strikes me as a kind and forward-looking person. In our mentor-mentee relationship, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanics of leadership and organizational management from Dr. Young, given his impressive and extensive leadership roles.”
Dr. Young says he looks forward to the challenge of the Trudeau program.
“I love the idea of entering into a mentoring process with no pre-conceived idea of what constitutes success. It will be up to both the mentor and the person being mentored to mutually determine success through [our] collaboration. It’s going to be quite an exciting experience for both of us.”