A mentoring program developed by Transport Women Australia Limited (TWAL) is creating a supportive environment for its members to grow and develop as they progress through their career.
The Creating Connections mentoring program matches each mentee with a mentor who can provide career advice, support and direction.
“Some people are looking for leadership skills, others are looking for specific skills around transport or they might need to slow down and prioritise,” says Chair of TWAL, Jacquelene Brotherton, who perfectly pairs each mentee with a mentor.
“I do the matching and have found that it’s not only challenging, but really interesting too. Mentees are asked what they hope to achieve out of the program and we find the right mentor to make sure that it works.”
Creating Connections has been running since March this year. Mentor Janelle Greene (Chief Customer Officer at NTI and a member of the TWAL mentoring sub-committee) and mentee Ann Impala (Administration Manager at Allied Seafreight) were the program’s first match, and both say that the connection has been extremely rewarding.
“When I was matched with Ann, I had a detailed conversation with her about what she wanted to achieve,” says Greene.
“Now we’re meeting every fortnight through Zoom. She is the perfect person to mentor because she is really committed, she listens, she comes with an open mind, she goes away and considers what more she can get from a conversation with me, and she always completes the activities I set for her, which are small but valuable things – it could be reading a particular article about leadership, for example.”
Impala has worked with Allied Seafreight for the past 20 years, transitioning from warehousing to financing and many things in between.
“I like to get involved in everything. When I joined TWAL a few years ago, I felt like I had real support in the industry and it provided a great opportunity to network. When I came across the Creating Connections program, I saw it as a great opportunity for personal development, especially while we’re growing as a company,” she says.
Since beginning the program just over six months ago, Impala says she’s noticed a positive impact in her confidence and her self-esteem.
“We’ve all got pros and cons, so it’s a matter of working on yourself, which in turn helps the team. Janelle is a fantastic, enthusiastic person and she has offered a great deal of feedback and encouragement. She’s actually helped me to look at myself from a different perspective. It’s a really supportive program.”
And Greene agrees: “There is the networking aspect, being able to meet people outside of your own company or outside of your own network, and there’s the real opportunity for personal and professional growth.
“But I think what often gets overlooked is how much the mentor can get out of it too. I learn as much from Ann as she learns from me. She reminds me of things that matter that I may have forgotten, offers perspective and adds a diversity of thought to the conversation.”
The Creating Connections program is open to all TWAL members and employees of corporate members. To get involved and find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.