Mentoring the next generation of Kiwi leaders

Leadership Network members reflected on the first year of the Mentorship Programme and prepared the new cohort for the year ahead at a hui held in April.
Three Leadership Network members chatting

The hui gave participants the opportunity to get together and discuss their mentorship experiences

A nation-wide lockdown was not an ideal time to launch a mentorship programme, but adaptability is the name of the game, and network members rose to the challenge.

In a year without overseas travel, the programme has allowed members to connect and share their Asia knowledge and experience, as well as do some big picture thinking around careers and leadership journeys.

The Mentorship Hui was an opportunity for network members to reflect on their achievements, discuss the challenges of navigating a mentoring relationship, and then pass on this knowledge to those who are about to embark on their mentorship journey.

Describing what she got out of the mentorship experience, Michelle Too says her mentor Michelle McCarthy provided her with invaluable insights into what it's like working in Central Asia.

"It has given me more confidence and knowledge in workplace etiquette, culture and challenges. It has also encouraged me to keep improving my language skills.”

Leadership Network members talk about the Mentorship Programme

One of the foundational ideas of the programme is tuakana-teina, which is about ensuring that knowledge is is passed down to following generations.

Tuakana-teina also characterises a two-way learning relationship when it comes to mentorship. While one person is the mentor and one the mentee, the learning goes both ways, and mentors have just as much of an opportunity for learning and development.

Wilson Chau says of his mentorship relationship, “It was totally ‘mutual discover’ in having the permission space to learn from each other and to discuss a wide range of topics, issues, life choices.”

At the hui, the 38 network members who make up this year’s programme connected with their mentor/mentee and discussed what makes for a successful mentorship pairing and what they hope to get out of the experience.

Key advice for the 2021 cohort? 2020 mentee Mabel Ye says, “I think a piece of advice I would give to mentors and mentees is to be flexible, open, adaptable and curious.

“To continue asking questions of each other, because the mentoring programme is a two-way relationship, so you are learning from each other.

“I think that is useful to bear in mind as you venture on the experience together. Because part of it is professional, but also there’s an opportunity for you to build a friendship there as well.”