06 Nov Setting women up for success
This month, our mentees learnt small lessons that will have a big impact on their future careers, from personal branding to setting healthy boundaries. You’ve helped thousands of women by adding valuable skills to their toolkits. Here’s what three of them had to say.
Putting your best foot forward
Wollongong mentee Tayla Arneman is in the business of helping others. As the People and Culture Business Partner at CareSouth, a community organisation support service, she’s charged with looking after the staff who are doing great work to help families, children and carers who’ve been through the foster care system.
As someone who has dedicated their career towards supporting others and making a positive impact on the community, Tayla realised it was important that she took care of herself and ensured that her career development was on track. She also notes that her industry can be quite competitive and wanted to know how she could stand out from the pack for all the right reasons.
Tayla was paired with Gabrielle Browne, Co-Founder and Director at Alpha Vet Tech Solutions. While they both come from very different industries, Tayla found the outside perspective to be really helpful.
“She got us to think about how we’re interacting on LinkedIn. She asked us to think about how we’d look to potential employers or the people we’re competing with for jobs. It was good to reflect on what makes me different from other people and trying to capture that.”
Gabrielle encouraged Tayla to “be quirky in her approach” and not to lose who she is when promoting herself in a professional setting.
“She told me that I don’t have to be super corporate in order to stand out. I can inject my own personality and humour into it. It’s more natural that way, you feel more authentic. There’s nothing worse than trying to be someone you’re not.
“I’ve noticed that when I’m personable and human with the people in our executive team, it’s just so much easier to build a relationship with them,” she adds.
Feeling confident to change
Melbourne mentee Samanta Simms woke up to a niggling feeling one night. Something wasn’t right; she felt a strong desire to change her path. Since 2004 she had been working hard and was determined to rise in the ranks at the global engineering firm she worked for. But her long hours paired with a desire to work in a socially sustainable role meant that she had reached a point where she felt disconnected from her work.
“I had given so much to my work that I had very little of myself left. I knew I needed to focus my career on something beyond benefiting the financial bottom line,” she says.
She’s been lucky to hear advice from three great mentors: Libby Owens, CEO of Champion Data; Dawn O’Neil, managing director at Dawn O’Neil & Associates; and Paula Benson, an experienced senior corporate affairs executive and board member in top NYSE and ASX firms.
“During one of my first walks, we discussed the need of good boundaries and understanding what they are. Afterwards, I made changes in my life to ensure I am always looking after myself and keeping to those boundaries.
“Since joining Mentor Walks, I have become very conscious of my time and how I spend it. I am trying to keep my personal boundaries and be mindful of other people’s,” she says.
“I have truly benefited from mentoring sessions when my mentors have been willing to be open and honest about their experiences. They have challenged my thinking and provided a new point of view. In many cases, it’s not about giving a solution but guiding me in the right direction.”
Taking your career in for a tune up
Brisbane mentee Allana Ross is one of the lucky women to already have great mentorship from not one, but four “amazing women” in the organisations she’s worked for. And, acknowledging that there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing, she came to Mentor Walks (not once but twice) seeking the perspective of even more impressive women.
She says her mentors, Tracey Viera, former CEO at Screen Queensland, and Kristy Kelly, CEO at Kristy Kelly Consulting, both “offered amazing insights into their professional lives and were open and engaging to talk with”.
She learnt about taking ownership of her achievements, how to negotiate for what she’s worth and when (and how) to reframe when you’re feeling stuck.
“Mentoring is so important. It allows you to engage with a non-bias person who acts as a sounding board for challenges you face, and someone to give you guidance and insight from a different perspective. It’s like counselling for your professional life!”