29 Sep How you’ve helped to change women’s working lives
Over 2,000 mentees from across Australia have walked and talked with us since we launched in 2016. That’s over 2,000 questions asked, more than 2,000 pieces of advice offered and over 2,000 ways our mentors have helped to shape someone’s career for the better.
Last month we had the pleasure of catching up some of the mentees who’ve taken those pieces of advice, actioned them in their workplaces and seen noticeable differences. Here’s what a few of them had to say…
Nurturing people’s spark
Brisbane mentee Kanani Draper has never been one to shy away from sharing her passion for work with her team. She’s always bursting at the seams to bring a creative idea to life, and she came to Mentor Walks seeking advice on how to help others to join in on her “the sky’s the limit” way of working.
“I am quite forward thinking, but in the corporate world I sometimes feel like a lone wolf with this way of thinking. I wanted to know how I can slow myself down to a pace where others are coming along with me so I’m not leaving them in the dust in the interest of getting things to where I see them going,” she says.
Her mentor Christine Peterson, Managing Director of Time Technology, helped her realise that forward thinking and an entrepreneurial spirit isn’t necessarily in everyone, and if Kanani were to dim that light in herself then her career will be unfulfilling.
“She actually opened the door to a wider network of people who have that little spark, and I’ve since been spending more time with them which has resulted in me better understanding how to articulate and foster the little spark that leads to big ideas in others, not just in myself.”
Knowing your worth
Melbourne mentee Soraya Sultan wanted to know how she could take that next step in her career after more than a decade with the same employer.
“While I am happy in my current role and grateful for the career I’ve had so far, I want to be able to take my skills and experience to the next level, perhaps in a new company or industry.”
She posed this to her mentor Amanda Chase – the General Manager, Consumer and Customer Marketing, Asia at REA Group.
What Amanda helped her to realise was that she hadn’t been negotiating her salary hard enough. As she’s currently being sponsored by her organisation, she felt she wasn’t able to ask for the amount she really wanted (and felt she deserved).
“I was also pleased to learn that I can aim for a higher pay rise and that women are notorious for not negotiating hard enough as we don’t want to appear ‘greedy’.”
Amanda was able to give her some great pointers on how she could approach this conversation not only when her next job opportunity came along, but also with her current manager.
“Since my walk, I have approached the topic of the pay review with my manager and it’s now in discussion as he recognised my contribution and hard work.”
Leaving self doubt behind
Wollongong mentee Sarah Naumovski is very seasoned in her career, yet she still battles against the self doubt monster that most women, at all stages of their career, experience at some point.
“It has always been something that has travelled with me during my development into a leader. With time and experience I have managed to turn this into self-confidence, but it’s a work in progress,” says Sarah.
In an effort to keep the ‘work in progress’ going, Sarah came to Mentor Walks to seek expert advice on how to work through a difficult situation that a member of her leadership team was facing with one of their direct reports.
Sarah was paired with Tania Brown, Chief Operating Officer at SMART Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong, who helped her to bust that self-doubting bubble.
“It was surprising to hear how many women experience self-doubt in the workplace and to listen to Tania’s take on it and her experiences throughout her career,” she says.
Since her walk, Sarah has taken Tania’s advice on board and now she’s carving out regular time to meet with her team and discuss possible solutions to any tricky scenarios they’re facing.
Go with your gut
Geelong mentee Kate Swift was curious to learn from her mentor –Member for Geelong, Christine Couzens.
“A real pain point for me was finally acknowledging that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. From Christine, I learnt to always go with your gut, and to find a network of women that are there to support and nurture you.”
Her time with Mentor Walks left Kate feeling reinvigorated.
“I now feel a sense of confidence and strength that’s more aligned to who I am in a professional context. The sense of empowerment that I felt from that hour, and the strength my mentor gave to me through her honesty and sharing her experiences, was amazing!”