"A great mentor is essential for a great leader" was one of the pearls of wisdom shared by Fiona Bones, Regional Director of Google Asia Pacific at the closing event for the Sydney cohort of this year's mentoring program.
It formed part of a great narrative of Fiona's career and the journey from Galway via salmon fishing to Google in Dublin and then to Sydney. We heard about Sheryl Sandberg, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt among others and how her role has changed beyond recognition in her ten years with one of the most recognisable companies in the world. From what I heard, it could well be that Fiona works in the best finance role in Australia just now.
Rana Pala from Grant Thornton told us about how mentors can be found in the most unlikely places and that those relationships can last a lifetime. We heard the story about how he, as a rookie young accountant, was given a bit of a hospital pass when assigned to look after what his managers believed was a difficult client. He took up the challenge, pushed himself to do a great job and those clients became friends who have mentored and guided him through a career from trainee to partner.
Later in the evening one of this year's mentoring pairs, Breiffini White from CBA and Donal Cahalan from PwC told us about their journey and what they have achieved by being part of the program. Breiffini spoke passionately about the value of the initiative and the personal development that it underpins.
With some great questions from the floor, the discussion touched on building strong networks to leverage future career opportunities from and this was highlighted by our host on the night, John Fallon, when he directed members to the recent webinar on "Accessing the Hidden Job Market" which they can view on our website.
In that packed Grant Thornton conference room, we were entertained, engaged and informed. The warmth and positivity at the event felt fantastic and feedback received after the event, as well as what was going out on guests' social media during proceedings, suggested that this was Sydney's strongest mentoring program event to date. That's no mean feat given the quality of Stephen Purcell's presentation last time!
I've just had the photos from the event through from the photographer and will post a few on the Mentoring Program homepage shortly. When you see the smiling faces, engaged conversations and high calibre of participant you will be wishing you were there!