Careers & Training, Features

Mentoring partnerships pay off

The Transport Women Australia Limited Creating Connections mentoring programme has been operating since March 2020 with numerous pairings of mentors and mentees. 

Matching the two is like any matchmaking and some pairings are more successful than others.

Of course, the more information provided by each party of their expectations and what they want to achieve and what they will bring to the relationship helps to make matching them much easier. 

It also involves commitment from both parties to have the programme and their mentoring partnership succeed. 

Covid-19 has meant that most pairs have had to meet online rather than in formal meetings or over coffee so that has made it both easier and more difficult. 

Janelle Greene, Chief Customer Officer at NTI, a Foundation Business Partner of TWAL has some advice to give those entering or considering the programme. 

Greene was our opening keynote at the 2018 Creating Connections Conference and that was the catalyst for the establishment of the programme. Greene was on the Mentoring Subcommittee and one of our first mentors in an extraordinarily successful partnership.

Some tips include ensuring that you have at least two initial “getting to know you” meetings and then scheduling the next six meetings at fortnightly intervals so that you are fully committed to the success of the mentoring partnership. 

Once you have those six meetings fully committed in your calendar, you are more likely to commit to the longevity of the partnership.

It could be this initial lack of commitment that contributes to the failure of the ongoing relationship. After all relationships are built step by step and this is no different. 

If a match does not work out or a participant leaves the industry or the programme, TWAL can then match the mentor or mentee with another partner.

We have had wonderful feedback from several of our mentors and mentees and Janelle and her mentee, Ann have made a video which can be seen on both the NTI website and on the TWAL social media sites and YouTube channel. 

Mentors can play such an amazing part in the success of your career whether they be a formal mentor, or a casual mentor that you find yourself within your company or through other aspects of your life. 

But the mentoring partnership is a two-way street, and you will learn from each other along the way. There will come a time when it is advantageous to review the relationship and know it is time to move on; to find another mentor who can take you further or on another pathway. 

Do not be afraid to say, “I think we have got as far as we can go, and it is time to move on so we can both grow.” This is a sign of leadership. 

Annastasia Denigan said the friendship formed has enabled both her and Rachel Michaud to empower each other in different circumstances.

Programme mentor Annastasia Denigan, a compliance and safety expert at Qube, says partnering with Rachel Michaud through the TWAL mentor program has been an extremely enriching process. 

“Developing a friendship that has enabled us both to empower each other in different circumstances,” she said.

“Being a mentor provides a fantastic opportunity to build relationships, support development and learn about challenges that other women face. I would like to think that the relationship developed will continue long after the mentor program is finished.”

Michaud agrees.

“We really clicked straight away which is lucky and I look forward to a long-lasting professional relationship,” said the lead applications engineer at Knorr-Bremse Australia.

“The informal nature of the program really suits me as life is pretty hectic between work and family life. The timing of the pairing was uncanny as I missed out on a promotion at work just months after connecting.

“It was fantastic to be able to talk this through with my mentor who coincidentally was going through her own changes in work life. We both resolved to remain strong, put ourselves first and be willing to find new opportunities when old ones burn out.”

If you would like any information on the Creating Connections mentoring programme, please contact chair@transportwomen.com.au or call 0417422319.

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