In 2016, CSEP introduced the CSEP Mentorship award in honour of a long-standing and very dedicated CSEP Member, Dr. Enzo Cafarelli. Dr. Cafarelli was a mentor in every sense of the word and the award recognizes CSEP members who have provided leadership in the same spirit as Enzo did. In the past two years, CSEP has received over twenty nominations for this award, each illustrating the impact that mentors have had on our Certified, Academic and Student members.
Prof. Phillips is a mentor in every sense of the word. He is incredibly inclusive, patient and informative with his post and undergraduate mentees; never is a question ignored or side-stepped, as he is more than happy to set aside time to discuss research or potential career paths with each of his students, despite often oversized research groups and a heavily demanding teaching schedule. Leading always by example, Prof. Phillips treats each lab member, from undergraduate volunteer to post-doctoral fellow as an invaluable part of the research team and is the first to recognize and celebrate individual accomplishments.
How has a mentor impacted your career and what made them stand out?
Dr. Howie Green was my Ph.D. supervisor and a key mentor in my career. He kindled my passion for exercise physiology and gave me the freedom to explore ideas that I thought were interesting and exciting. Howie was fiercely interested in physiology and was always encouraging especially when things didn’t go the way I had hoped they would. He always supported my choices and offered lots of encouragement. He made my Ph.D. fun!
Why do you think mentorship is important?
We don’t exist in a vacuum and people shape and influence us as we traverse academia. Mentors are facilitators of students’ journeys and are key and important people who influence thinking, support ideas, and shape. Having the right mentor at the right time can change your life.
What does it mean to you for your students to recognize you as a mentor and nominate you for the CSEP mentorship award?
I think it is truly an ultimate compliment. I am as, or more, proud today of the people I have helped mentor along their journey as I am of any paper we have published or other award. To be recognized by the people in who’s hard I am made to look good is a terrific feeling, I quite simply couldn’t be more proud of being nominated and even more so of winning the award.
What do you do to foster a strong mentee and mentor relationship?
Balance! Finding the balance between the push and pull of work and life and making sure that there is always an understanding that the mentor will work in the best interests of the mentee. I see myself as a conduit for my mentees to recognize their potential. I simply help them along the way, no matter where they end up