Working with a sense of purpose

Working with a sense of purpose

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’d been working hard and determined to rise in the ranks at the global engineering firm she worked for.

Her passion for learning, her strong work ethic and her commitment meant she worked her way up from an accounts and administration assistant to a business manager for Australia and New Zealand.

She was gaining unique skills and had amazing opportunities to grow and develop. But she was stretching herself thin and working 50 hour weeks.

 “Around 12 months ago, I reached a point in my life where I felt disconnected with myself and my surroundings,” says Samanta.

“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. I also wanted to give back to our community. This feeling drove me to target roles within the NGO sector or a role that could provide some freedom to volunteer outside work hours,” she says.

After some strategic searching, she was lucky to stumble upon “the perfect role” as an operations manager for Business for Development an organisation that focuses on bringing enterprise to those in rural poverty in developing countries.  

“I have been with Business for Development now for five months and although working in a new industry can be quite daunting, I have found a real sense of purpose. I have been able to meet so many people who inspire me to look at the bigger picture,” she says.

“Their work and values resonated with where I wanted to be in my career and personal life.”

Mentor advice

Samanta has been a mentee with Mentor Walks three times now. Noting that you only get out what you put in, she says every morning before she attends a walk, she takes the time to think about some challenges that she’s struggling to address on her own. This way she makes the most of her hour long walk with her mentor.

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.”

“My most recent question was related to the challenges faced when changing industries and what should I be prioritising in the first six months.

 Another struggle Samanta has faced throughout her career is living up to the high expectations that she places on herself. “This has caused me to place undue pressure on myself resulting in excess stress.”

This is something that all three of her mentors were able to quickly identify in her and they’ve discussed approaches and tools that they’ve used in the past to assist Samanta to develop her own strategies to combat this.

One mentor offered her a fresh way to step back and reflect on the people in her life.

“We were asked to think of ourselves as a company and our mentors, family and friends as board members. Then we were asked to look at each person and the skills and knowledge they bring, and seek out the ones we are missing.”

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.”  

Have you got a burning question to ask one of our mentors? Book into our next Melbourne walk on the 1st of November to gain some guidance and support around life’s tricky questions.

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