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2021 Awards

The Mentor Diaries: Tracey Spicer and Nicole Iligoueva

To celebrate the launch of the Expert Mentor Program, WLA Connect is bringing you a series of interviews with mentor/mentee pairs. These interviews aim to shine a light on the benefits of being a mentor and mentee, the qualities that mentors and mentees find useful, and what both parties most enjoy about their relationship. This interview focuses on Tracey Spicer and Nicole (Niki) Iligoueva, who were connected through the Media Diversity Australia mentoring program.More than ever, we need to support women to step into leadership roles. The Expert Mentor Program will help you develop the skills to be an exceptional mentor and champion emerging women leaders in your industry and organisation. Find out more here.What are some of the benefits of being a mentor? Tracey: I'm extremely inspired by the intellect, energy and broader world view of the women I mentor. After working in difficult environments in the media for more than 30 years, I'm heartened to hear from these strong young women about their determination to speak out about discrimination. I always feel re-energised after a mentoring session. Truly, I learn as much from my mentees as they learn from me. It's a symbiotic and collaborative relationship.When you are looking for a mentor for yourself, what qualities do you look for? Tracey: I look for someone with solid values, who's encountered barriers or challenges in their careers. Everyone has their own ways of overcoming hurdles, so you can build a toolkit of strategies. I also look for someone with patience! Working in quick turnaround news environments for most of my life means that I like things to happen quickly. One thing I need to learn is that change takes time.What can a mentor do to make sure that both the mentor and mentee are able to make the most of that relationship? Tracey: Listen! It's more important to hear what your mentee is saying, rather than to talk all the time. Also, be led by your protégé. This empowers them to make their own choices.What are some of the most important lessons/pieces of wisdom you have learned from a mentor? And what makes them so important?Niki: I think the best nugget of wisdom I’ve received from my mentor is that we all have our moments and it’s okay to mess up sometimes. In the context of journalism, audiences want relatability and realness, so if you just be yourself, learn from your mistakes and continue to put yourself out there, good things will come your way.Just remember to take deep breaths, try your best and ask for feedback so you can improve. This was an important piece of advice because realising that it's okay to fail or not know things actually alleviates pressure and encourages you to get out of your comfort zone and move forward.When you get the opportunity to be a mentor to someone, what sort of mentor would you like to be? Niki: One that acts with empathy and genuinely wants to see their mentee grow. Trying to upskill or find work can be a lonely process, and having someone there to listen, believe in you and help you take the necessary steps to achieve your goals can make all the difference.If I were a mentor, I’d also like to identify and keep at the forefront what the mentee would like to gain from the relationship, to ensure that it is being utilised as efficiently as possible. This could include organising regular catch ups to discuss intention, progress and what can be done better on both sides of the relationship.What can a mentee do to make sure that both the mentor and the mentee can make the most of that relationship? Niki: Be real with your mentor about your struggles so that they can properly identify how they can help you, and also ensure that there is a clear line of communication and that you’re being appreciative and respectful of your mentors’ time.About Tracey: Tracey Spicer AM is one of the most sought-after keynote speakers and emcees in the region. In 2019 she was named the NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year, and in 2018 chosen as one of the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence, winning the Social Enterprise and Not-For-Profit category. You can connect with Tracey here.About Niki:Nicole (Niki) Iligoueva is a Sydney-based freelance journalist, film fanatic, foodie and fellow book nerd. She loves telling stories that matter and is currently producing for FBi Radio's flagship politics and current affairs show, Backchat. You can connect with Niki here.About the Expert Mentor Program: The Expert Mentor Program (EMP) has been designed to assist current and aspiring mentors to maximise their approach, in order to provide meaningful professional and personal growth to their mentees. The EMP will provide participants with a dynamic, peer learning experience which is highly collaborative and responsive. The program is delivered online over one full day. The day is broken up into three high-impact, live sessions with breaks in-between. Each session is designed to foster rich dialogue and debate between participants and facilitators. Participants will also be provided with a digital workbook to support their learning.Have you ever been in a mentor/mentee relationship and would like to share your tips? Let us know in the comments!

The Mentor Diaries: Wendy Squires and Abby Alexander

To celebrate the launch of the Expert Mentor Program, WLA Connect is bringing you a series of interviews with mentor/mentee pairs. These interviews aim to shine a light on the benefits of being a mentor and mentee, the qualities that mentors and mentees find useful, and what both parties most enjoy about their relationship. This interview focuses on Wendy Squires and Abby Alexander, who were connected by Tracey Spicer as part of the Women in Media mentoring program.More than ever, we need to support women to step into leadership roles. The Expert Mentor Program will help you develop the skills to be an exceptional mentor and champion emerging women leaders in your industry and organisation. Find out more here.What are some of the benefits of being a mentor?Wendy: Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone starting out in the business getting ahead. Mentoring is incredibly satisfying as it allows me to pass on decades of knowledge and experience which may otherwise be overlooked in modern day media. And the friendships made are long term and profound.When you are looking for a mentor for yourself, what qualities do you look for?Wendy: I look for age, experience, openness and warmth. Mentors are emotional rocks for those encountering inevitable bumps in business for the first time and should be approachable and caring, always.What can a mentor do to make sure that both the mentor and mentee are able to make the most of that relationship?Wendy: They should talk openly and often. Honesty is paramount on both sides. There is no use just saying “oh well, that’s bad luck” when someone is suffering, or the mentee being too embarrassed to admit they need help. Mentoring is about teaching mentees to avoid obstacles and, when they are immovable, how to navigate around them.What are some of the most important lessons/pieces of wisdom you have learned from a mentor? And what makes them so important?Abby: I think one lesson that really stands out for me is boundaries. This is something that Wendy really instilled in me, and still reminds me of to this very day. Working hard, for a good reason, is important. But so is taking time out for yourself, and even when you are just getting started in your career, it is okay to do both.Being a mentee has also helped me to understand the importance of making the most of important connections. You have the opportunity to learn so much from a mentor, but part of that is being prepared. Think about what you want to ask, being mindful of your mentor’s time and ensuring that you are asking them about topics that they have experience in are really beneficial.When you get the opportunity to be a mentor to someone, what sort of mentor would you like to be?Abby: I would like to be open, kind, non-judgemental and generous. I think one of the best things that I have been given by my mentors is a space where I can discuss things and not be judged - plus I get some great advice to boot. We all make mistakes in work and life sometimes, and having someone you can go to and not have to worry about what they will think or say is really comforting.What can a mentee do to make sure that both the mentor and the mentee can make the most of that relationship?Abby: I think a genuine interest and curiosity in your industry, and your mentor, is crucial. Being a mentor takes a lot more time and effort than people realise, and you want to spend that time on someone who is interested, driven, passionate and values your time. Also, take the time to update your mentor on the emerging trends in your industry - just because you have less industry experience, doesn’t meant you can’t teach them something, too.About Wendy:Wendy Squires has been a journalist and editor for more than 25 years, starting her career at News Ltd as a cadet journalist before working her way up to magazines and television.She has been the editor of CLEO and Australian Style magazines and held senior roles on Who Weekly, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Madison and Woman’s Day. In 2009 her novel, The Boys’ Club, was published, based on her year as the Publicity Director at Network Nine.Today, she writes a syndicated opinion column for The Age, freelances for many magazines and websites, appears as a commentator on Sky News and ghost authors biographies for PanMacmillan. Wendy is also writing her second novel, teaching journalism and working as a PR consultant. You can connect with Wendy here.About Abby:Abby Alexander is the Media & Communications Coordinator for Women & Leadership Australia. Prior to that, she studied PR at RMIT. Her writing has appeared on Ten Daily, Sydney Morning Herald, Mamamia, Women's Agenda and Show & Tell Online. You can connect with Abby here.About the Expert Mentoring Program:The Expert Mentor Program has been designed to assist current and aspiring mentors to maximise their approach, in order to provide meaningful professional and personal growth to their mentees. The EMP will provide participants with a dynamic, peer learning experience which is highly collaborative and responsive. The program is delivered online over one full day. The day is broken up into three high-impact, live sessions with breaks in-between. Each session is designed to foster rich dialogue and debate between participants and facilitators. Participants will also be provided with a digital workbook to support their learning.Have you ever been in a mentor/mentee relationship and would like to share your tips? Let us know in the comments!

Four Doors

Dealing with change? These four doors could help Have you heard of the four doors of change? This model, created by Australian innovation expert Jason Clarke, demonstrates which doors are open (available) and closed (not available) in times of change.The model allows you and your team to categorise and understand the effects of a change, big or small, in your workplace. Whether it’s a change in people, process, location or resources, you can use this information to help your team understand what will change and what will stay the same.The first door: Things that you did before, and will continue to do now This door is an open door; it signifies everything you do now and will continue to do in the future. This is a particularly important door to talk about with your team if they are apprehensive about a change, or if there is a very significant change coming. It gives them and you stability and certainty that there will be some familiarity.The second door: Things that you didn’t do before, and won’t do now This is a door that was closed before and will remain closed. It remains consistent; this door focuses on things you didn’t need to do or think about before, and will continue to not think about or do in the future. Often, change will bring new tasks and challenges, which is exciting; but it can also represent more work and cause you or your team to feel a bit nervous about trying new things. Knowing that there are unfamiliar tasks that you won’t have to handle can be reassuring as you lean into to a new way of doing things.The third door: Things that you did before, and won’t do now This door is a closed door, that used to be open. Tasks that used to be manual might now be automated; and your team may feel unsure about whether this will be a success, and how it will affect their activity on a day to day basis. Something as simple as a change in office location meaning you or your team will no longer visit your favourite coffee shop is a closed door.  Helping your team focus on letting go of these things, and replacing them with new routines, processes or activities will allow them to accept that these activities are no longer neededThe fourth door: Things you didn’t do before, and will do now This door used to be closed and is now open. It has all the new things you will be taking on, to replace the things you have let go of. This door represents an opportunity for learning and growth, both for individuals and the organisation. These are new skills and processes that will allow you to develop your role, try new things and hopefully, see better outcomes as a result of your hard work in embracing these changes.Putting it into practiceAs a leader of an organisation or a team, it is important that you look at this model of change from different perspectives; your own perspective first, and then the perspective of the people you lead. Each of these doors will look different for every individual in your team, regardless of whether you are all experiencing the same change, or different changes.Understanding what the change will look like for you, and working through any nervousness you have, will help you better support your team and your organisation more broadly.Some useful questions to ask yourself are:What changes am I looking forward to? Why are these changes exciting for me? What changes am I apprehensive about? What do I need to feel better about these? What can I rely on to stay the same?  Once you have worked through these, ask your team the same questions. It will allow you to have an open and honest dialogue with them, understand how they are feeling, and create a space where they feel listened to and supported.Are you dealing with any change at work at the moment? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Grants available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women leaders

Women & Leadership Australia has announced full attendance grants for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to attend the 2021 Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium Series.Women & Leadership Australia CEO, Suzi Finkelstein, said, “The purpose of the grants is to ensure the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are represented at the events and help support the development of strong and effective leadership across Australia’s Indigenous communities.“The grants will be awarded to current and aspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who play active roles at the community, local or state level, and who would otherwise be unable to attend the Symposiums due to a lack of funding or employer support.”The Australian Women's Leadership Symposiums are a national series of events focused on the experiences of women in the contemporary workforce. Held annually, in every state and territory, the Symposiums have been running for over ten years and have become the most highly attended women's leadership events in the country.The Symposiums are a valuable opportunity for female leaders to come together to hear from an exceptional line up of inspirational guest speakers and explore topics including gender equality, leadership, career advancement and life fulfilment. Women from every sector, industry, background and level attend the Symposiums each year, and this diversity allows participants to learn from each other’s experiences and be empowered to move forward on their leadership journey.The 2021 Symposium series will feature a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander speakers including: Florence Drummond, Evonne Goolagong Cawley AC MBE, Antoinette Braybrook, Leah Cameron, Steph Tisdell, June Oscar AO, Asha Bhat, Kat Henaway and Cathy Freeman. More speakers are yet to be announced.Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women who wish to attend the Australian Women’s Leadership Symposiums can apply for a full attendance grant on the Women & Leadership Australia website.For more details, please contact: Abby Alexander, Media and Communications Coordinator, Women & Leadership Australiaaalexander@wla.edu.au0481 210 055 OrKellye Hartman, Marketing and Communications Manager, Women & Leadership Australiakhartman@asam.edu.au

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