Have you been thinking about giving back in some way this year? And focussing more on your own professional development? Mentoring with Marketing Women Inc in our September 2023 intake might be the perfect opportunity for you to do both.
This is what happened to Kassandra Humphreys, Head of Marketing, Australia and New Zealand for IG Group, a global leader in online trading and investments, when she volunteered as a mentor for the MWI Mentoring Program.
“I’d reached a point in my career where people were coming to me for informal mentorship and I was personally getting a lot out of it. Initially, I thought I didn’t have the authority or experience. But when I reflected on my career and the people who had been seeking my advice, I realised that I did have something to give.”
MWI matched Kassandra with Arlene Muys, Head of Marketing and Communications for the Australian Housing & Urban Research Institute (AHURI). Arlene had joined the program as she was new into an Executive role in a small organisation, and wanted a sounding board with both leadership and marketing expertise as she established herself in the role.
The two women soon discovered that despite being in quite different roles and organisations, they had lots of challenges in common. And while Kassandra was able to offer an expert perspective for Arlene to bounce off, she also found a peer who was a support and sounding board for her.
“It doesn’t matter which end of the marketing spectrum you’re at, you’re often facing the same challenges, just in a different wrapper. We’ve got some comfort from that. I’m not alone in trying to figure out this problem.”
While Kassandra and Arlene are perhaps not ‘typical’ of the pairs in our program, it is very common for our mentors to report how much they learn from their mentees and mentoring.
Gill Victor, National Manager, Marketing and Engagement, at Able Australia (a large disability services provider) had a similar experience “My last MWI mentee needed someone to confirm the direction she was going and the decisions she was making. In mentoring her, I recognised that this had been one of my own greatest challenges and how much easier I would have made my life if I had trusted and backed myself from the start.”
The MWI program isn’t designed as ‘reverse mentoring’, when a more junior professional takes on the role of a mentor for a more senior person, but this cross-pollination is definitely one of the benefits for some mentors and mentees.
As Gill, who now volunteers as one of the leads for the MWI program says, “This is why we look at mindsets and roles/skills, as well as industry experience when matching mentees and mentors.” Kassandra and Arlene are a great example, with a productive partnership between a financial services marketer and a marketing and communications lead in an NFP research institute.
This was also one of the things which Kassandra liked about the program “I love that MWI is a network of women at all stages of their career and from a broad range of industries”
“I also attended the training which MWI runs and found it valuable to set a strong foundation and remind me and my mentee to be very intentional in our approach.”
When asked what advice she’d give women thinking about volunteering as a mentor, Kassandra was very enthusiastic:
“Put your hand up and get involved. Take the plunge. I know people can sometimes feel reserved and think, ‘well what do I know?’ But it’s not about showing yourself as a story of perfection. Careers aren’t perfect. It’s about coming to the table and being willing to share the highs and the lows. “
Thanks Kassandra. It because of women like you that our program is continuing to grow.
We’re on the hunt for more mentors for Intake 2, 2023 which starts in September.
Our ‘ideal mentors’ fit into two categories:
1/ Women who have had a least five years in a marketing specialisation or role, such as in a digital marketing agency, as a social media marketer, etc etc or in a specific industry. These mentors are usually matched to mentees wanting support on technical aspects of their current role.
2/ Women who have had 10 to 15 years in any of the above areas or in a broader marketing management/leadership role either inhouse or agency-side. These mentors are usually matched to mentees wanting support to work on their career and / or moving into a new role or industry.
If you have a few hours a month to give to a mentee, either in person or remotely, please complete our short form here.