27 July 2018: We recently supported Women for Change at an inspirational breakfast event with Foreign Minister The Hon. Julie Bishop, who discussed the importance of mentoring for the advancement of women. The morning was empowering, and we took away some strong lessons from Ms. Bishop’s key note speech as well as a panel discussion.
Women for Change recently launched an initiative called Standing on Our Shoulders, seeking to empower and mentor women in Australian business organisations, to provide them with leadership skills and engage them in philanthropy. The breakfast event was held to raise funds toward granting young women from Kenya the opportunity to gain a tertiary education in Australia.
Ms. Bishop shared anecdotes of how the combination of a powerful peer group and mentoring has helped build her own career and leadership skills, as well as the next generation of leaders. The consensus amongst her powerful peer group of women was that all the problems in the world might just be that bit more solvable if we had 50/50 representation of women in leadership positions. We can already see this change occurring, with modern businesses putting gender diversity on the forefront of their business objectives. As a business, opr is proud to have 60 per cent of women in leadership positions. On a similar note, WPP AUNZ has recently launched the ‘Walk the Talk’ initiative focused on creating richer diversity and greater inclusion across its leadership teams globally.
At the Women for Change event, our chair Kieran Moore joined PwC’s Managing Partner Julie Coates for a panel discussion about women in leadership and their experiences of mentoring and being mentored.
These are the five learnings we took away from the discussion:
- Define your goals – You can’t expect your mentor to know what you want to achieve. It’s your career and you need to make decisions based on their guidance. They are there to point you in the right direction and introduce you to the right people. Understanding this will help ensure you make the most of each other’s time.
- Find a mentor that gets you – Finding a mentor that shares the same values is important because they will understand what drives you and where your passion lies.
- Set boundaries – Your mentor is there to guide your career choices so it’s important to set boundaries at the beginning of the relationship. Keep it as professional as possible.
- Avoid bias when seeking a mentor – You will learn more from people of different age, gender, industry and seniority. Don’t pigeonhole yourself and stifle growth potential by choosing a mentor too similar to you.
- It doesn’t have to be one on one – A common thread that came up in discussion was that Kieran Moore, Julie Bishop and Julie Coates all had social media group chats with likeminded peers and friends. This served as a great platform for giving and receiving support. Why not start your own digital peer group with those who drive and support you?
When you’re looking for a mentor or forming a support network, keep these five tips in mind and you’ll be on your way to building a successful career!
By Sigourney Dean and Zoe O’Sullivan, opr