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Event Spotlight - Queensland Mentoring

The 2021-22 Queensland mentoring program successfully kicked off in October, facilitated by the Australian Water Association’s (AWA) Queensland Young Water Professionals (YWPs). The event, held during the National Water Week, was hosted by Shanae Walker from the AWA YWP subcommittee and David Noonan on behalf of the event sponsor, Professional Learning Hub Griffith University.

David highlighted the synergy between the mentoring program and The International WaterCentre’s award-winning Water Leadership Program. The Program is designed to help emerging leaders to develop the ability to exert influence, drive change and advance challenging integrated water management projects – abilities associated with the most effective integrated water management leaders.  

The evening’s proceedings included a key-note presentation by A/Prof Brian McIntosh on the role that mentoring relationships have in promoting leadership and professional development, as well as a panel discussion and a speed networking event.   

We learned what mentoring is.  

“An intentional development relationship where a more experienced and knowledgeable person nurtures the professional and personal life of a less experienced and less knowledgeable person’, intended to ‘support and encourage people to manage their own learning so that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be’."    

And we learned what mentoring is not.  

“Mentoring is not coaching, where there is more focus upon enhancing specific aspects of (job) performance. Rather, mentoring is more about a focus upon the whole person and their professional and personal development. Mentoring is not counselling, because there is an assumption that the mentees involved in mentoring are well enough to engage in it under their own goal setting, direction and efforts”.  

The reach of AWA was prevalent with the event streamed regionally, online, to numerous hubs.  

Panellists Mark Pascoe (mentor) and Amie Aldred (mentee), and Laurence Marano (mentor) and Emma Wood (mentee) shared their insights from participating in the previous year’s program. Brian questioned the panellists on what their previous experiences within the program entailed. All panellists instinctively highlighted that mentoring is not a one-way street, and that key starting points were to build rapport through honest discussion and goal setting.  

Further to matching the mentees and mentors with an online questionnaire, ‘speed networking’ discussions were held. This initiative was valuable in assisting to ‘break the ice’ between the mentees and their more experienced colleagues. The face-to-face interaction was welcomed by those at the in-person networking event, with some admitting they were suffering ‘Zoom and Teams meeting fatigue’.  

A total of 33 pairs are expected to be involved with the 2021/22 program. To support the participants, AWA, with support from Griffith University, will provide learning materials during the 6-month program. A ‘Close Out’ networking event will be held in May 2022.  

A very special ‘thank you’ to our revered event Sponsor, Griffith University. To all of the participants of the 2021/22 Queensland mentoring program, enjoy the journey ahead.    

Laurence is a member of the AWA Queensland YWP Sub-Committee. 

Welcome by David Noonan – Griffith University