Say “hello” to Beedie Luminaries Mentor, Mariya Zhalovaga! Mariya is a Detective with the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) in the Domestic Violence and Criminal Harassment/Elder Abuse Unit. She is a big proponent of mentorship and a proud ambassador of long-distance running, storm-watching, and youth development. In this short article, Mariya takes a moment to chat about her journey towards becoming a Police Officer and how persistence is the key to achieving your dreams.
Hi Mariya! We’re so excited to be able to chat today. Let’s get started!
The benefits of mentorship extend beyond the mentee. For Mariya, mentorship is about opportunities for growth and the constant “push” to be better, and do better.
MARIYA ZHALOVAGA — I believe that mentorship is very important because it provides you with opportunities to learn and helps you grow. It also enhances your skills to tackle new challenges and leads you down the path to successfully achieve your goals. I consider myself very lucky because I had great mentors in my life who helped me obtain my dream career and shaped me into a person I am today. After I achieved my goal of becoming a police officer I wanted to give back and became a mentor myself. I volunteered with the YWCA High School Mentorship Program for 10 years and was then offered an opportunity to become a mentor with Beedie Luminaries. I decided to become a mentor with Beedie Luminaries because of the unique mentorship experience that the program provides. The mentorship experience is extended to the student throughout their University years and therefore I believe helps build a stronger bond. I feel a sense of satisfaction to be able to share my experience with my mentee and offer him support, encouragement, and networking throughout his University life. By being a mentor with Beedie Luminaries I find my self constantly developing my leadership skills and enhancing communication skills. I am looking forward to celebrating the success of achieved goals with my mentee and glad that I get this opportunity to guide him along the way.
Thank you for sharing. Now, we want to hear more about you.
What was your favourite subject in school?
My favourite subject was social studies!
How would you describe yourself? What are the three qualities that got you where you are today?
I am hard working, dedicated, and enthusiastic. During my 15 years with the Vancouver Police Department, I have developed a reputation for hard work and consistent leadership largely due to the challenges I overcame growing up. I was inspired to work hard and build a bright future in Canada after immigrating from the Ukraine. Learning a new language was challenging but I faced every obstacle and persevered. After obtaining my degree from SFU, volunteering in the community and working as a VPD Jail Guard I was able to achieve my dream of becoming a Vancouver police officer.
Where is your happy place?
My happy place is on the beach in Tofino during storm watching season with a cup of coffee in my hand.
What is a dream you have not yet achieved?
My dream is to become a VPD Sergeant so I can motivate my team and others to be role models and develop future leaders who feel excited to work hard and make a difference within the department and in the community.
Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
I am a long distance runner and have ran multiple full and half marathons. Running clears my mind and helps me deal with stress. Approximately 6 years ago while working as an SLO I created a Windermere Running Club (now known as VPD Youth Running Club) which fosters a safe and encouraging environment for youth that serves as a deterrent for involvement in criminal activity and promotes a healthy life style. Even though I am no longer an SLO, I still continue my involvement with the Running Club. The Club has seen each participant blossom, as they learn important life skills such as perseverance and self-discipline, as well as compassion and encouragement. In addition to building physical endurance and stamina, the VPD Youth Running Club provides participants with a sense of belonging, and by training together as a collective, the group is better able to tackle personal challenges, both on and off the track.
“I am looking forward to celebrating the success of achieved goals with my mentee and glad that I get this opportunity to guide him along the way”
Do you have any advice you’d like to share with students going through their post-secondary journey right now?
Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges and always look for possibilities of improvement. I believe things happen for a reason. If you experience a set back, find the strength to pick yourself up and try again. I promise you it will be worth it and you will find it rewarding. Be persistent and never give up.
THANK YOU, MARIYA!
Become a mentor today. Learn more here. #BeedieBright!Back To Top