ON Chiropractic Fall 2014 | Page 27

G reat leaders often cite mentorship as a determining factor in their success. It is easy to understand why. Professionals, particularly those in health care fields, work in complex environments where the stakes are high. Having someone to lean on when the complexity seems too great can make the difference. In 2012, the OCA initiated a mentorship pilot program designed to create reciprocally beneficial relationships between chiropractors. Eight chiropractors joined the pilot program. The experience of each mentorship pair was informative and, based on the feedback from the pilot group, the program was enhanced and launched this past summer. Over 60 chiropractors submitted applications to participate in the first full class of the program which gets underway in Fall 2014. Dr. Phil McAllister and Dr. Jim Aru were instrumental participants in the success of the pilot project. These colleagues committed wholeheartedly to the program. Both contributed to the success of the relationship and both benefitted. The way they constructed their partnership indicates a number of the key ingredients to success in such a relationship. Here’s how they did it. D r. Phil McAllister, a 1995 graduate of the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, has led an accomplished career. Specializing in sports chiropractic, he has worked with many Olympic and professional athletes. His professional home is a multidisciplinary clinic in Guelph. With a wide array of experience to draw upon, Dr. McAllister was among the first to answer the call to contribute his expertise to the mentorship pilot. “It was mentors that helped me establish where I am today,” Dr. McAllister said when asked why he joined the program. “If I can share what I’ve learned along the way the others can stand on my mentors’ shoulders as well,” he added. Entering the program, Dr. McAllister’s hope was to be a resource and he stressed the importance of listening more than sharing. Dr. McAllister was surprised at the similarities between his own experiences in the earlier stages of his career and those of Dr. Jim Aru, his partner in the mentorship program. Dr. Aru, who began practicing in Ontario in 2007 after graduating from the Palmer College of Chiropractic, saw the pilot program as an opportunity to get some advice from a chiropractor who had already cleared the barriers that he was facing in expanding his practice. “I was a relatively new practitioner experiencing the usual barriers and saw the mentorship program as a good tool to improve the performance of my clinic,” Dr. Aru said. Conversations in the early stages of their partnership focused on business skills development and the day-to-day operations of a practice. Topics like paying staff, tax withholdings, how to effectively market a practice and how to balance a clinic budget were discussed. In addition to specific tactical help, Dr. McAllister also encouraged Dr. Aru to remember that the challenges he was overcoming are common. “Dr. McAllister absolutely outlined that he had experienced the same kind of pitfalls and drawbacks. Hearing that from someone who has been there assures you that you’re on the right track,” Dr. Aru said. Their mentorship ran both ways. Both Dr. Aru and Dr. McAllister benefitted greatly fr