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Irish Chamber

A Week of Business Mentoring

Monday, February 16, 2015

Following the launch of the 2015 IACC Business Mentoring Program, our CEO reflects on some of the learning and conversations that came through during launch week.

Last week saw the theme of Mentoring loom large within the Chamber. We launched the 2015 program in Melbourne & Sydney while developing the pilot program for Perth and having initial plans around the Brisbane cohort come together.

At our Melbourne launch, hosted by new Supporting Partner Bank of Melbourne, speaker Kevin Luscombe AM shared some stories of those he helped mentor over the years who have left a strong mark with him. To hear about ASX board members and BRW Rich Listers having needed and sought out mentors during their careers at all stages brought a real sense of awareness that this wasn't just a rite of passage, this was a program that forms part of our lifelong business learning. Kevin urged all our participants to be true to themselves and not try to become clones of their mentor. With the right mindset in a mentee and an astute mentor who can see the big picture anything is possible. Some photos of the Melbourne launch are online here.

Up in Sydney, gathering in Program Partner Grant Thornton's offices, the insights continued with a really strong presentation from Padraig O'Sullivan on mentoring and the wider leadership landscape with particular reference to the ExPat Executive in Australia. The presentation drew many questions from an informed and engaged audience and Padraig has very generously made his slide deck available via this link. Some photos of the Sydney launch event are online here.

Consul General Jane Connolly joined us in Sydney for the launch event and spoke eloquently as always, despite my curveball in her introduction (sorry Jane!). It was very encouraging to hear how she viewed the program as meeting a need in the community and how it was valued as part of ESP, a vital source of funding to make the program possible. Her particular praise for our mentors was well deserved. In a recent calculation, we have a total meeting hours value donated by our mentors of around $500,000 - and as one of the mentors pointed out to me, that doesn't include preparation time. When you think in those sorts of figures, you get an understanding of the tremendous contribution our mentors make to young Irish professionals in Australia.

Rounding the theme of the week off, our VP Fergal Coleman, the inspiration behind the program (although he will never tell you that), sent me a text about an article in Friday's AFR "Boss" Magazine about "Master Mentor" David Gonski AC. The funny thing was, as I read it in the airport lounge heading back to Melbourne, even though his case studies involved the great and the good of corporate Australia, the stories echoed with the experiences of our program participants. Proactivity, achievement, nurturing talent, lack of bias, giving to receive - it was all there.

We have almost all our Melbourne & Sydney partnerships mobilised now, thanks in particular to Lisa, our Program Co-Ordinator. The 2015 handbook has been updated and distributed following some sterling work by Teresa O'Brien and the few pending partnerships will be tidied up in the next couple of days - then focus will move towards the St Patrick's Corporate Lunch.

While it's turning out to be a very busy 2015 for the Chamber and there never seems to be enough time to do everything we'd like, to be able to play a part in facilitating this program is hugely rewarding and I thank all our partners and participants for "dressing up, turning up and speaking up".