1.WITEM Coaching Circles member
“Feeling apprehensive and vague about the whole idea, I approached the WITEM Coaching Circles welcoming night with an open mind. Little did I know that the program was going to be execatly what I needed to overcome self-doubt and to bethe start of a new me professionally and, unknowingly, personally. Thanks to my new circle of friends and for the opportunity to seek support and exchange experiences.
Jenny’s support and guidance have been both inspiring and unforgettable.
My WITEM journey may have ended, but my learning journey has only just begun”.
Zoe James, Australian Government Department
2. Smaller Agency Program mentee experience
I’d like to share with you my journey as a mentee in the Smaller Agency Mentoring Program: How I felt at the beginning; experiences during the past 12 months and next steps for me.
When I walked into the room for the launch of the Smaller Agency Program, I saw a room full of males dressed in suits, greeting each other, launching into conversations like long lost friends. It felt like I had arrived at the wrong party. This is a mentoring program for CIOs in Smaller Agencies and I’m not a CIO so I was feeling a bit intimidated and out of place.
I reminded myself that I was here to learn and so were the other mentees regardless of their level and that thought settled my nerves a bit. I then met my mentor who happened to have the same background as me in terms of starting off as a developer, venturing to business analysis and then management. This gave us some common things to talk about and that was the start of my mentee, mentor relationship.
Over the next 12 months I met with my mentor regularly as I had specific issues I wanted to discuss. I valued the independent view provided to my issues, different strategies I could approach a problem with and feedback on specific pieces of work. Towards the end of the 12 months our conversations had changed from me posing questions to conversations about Gershon initiatives, Gartner Government briefings and the direction of our respective organizations. I think our relationship had changed from a student teacher relationship to more of a peer relationship like colleagues talking about common issues and experiences.
Workwise I found better focus and confidence in my abilities. I stepped up to opportunities as they became available and was lucky enough to act at a higher level on two occasions. On one of these occasions I facilitated the completion of the first data collection exercise for the Gershon review. The consultants I worked with, the acting CIO and the CIO on his return acknowledged my efforts and thanked me for this work. Recently my manager took time off from work unexpectedly and I was the person chosen to ensure that work outstanding would be delivered. Among the work I picked up was ensuring the completion of senate estimate briefs for our Group. During this time, one of my peers informed me that I demonstrated great leadership and was a good example for the rest of the team for stepping up, acquiring additional work and getting on with it with no fuss.
Because of the program, I’ve learned a lot about myself, how I react in certain situations and I’ve gained clarity on my strengths and weaknesses. I’ve acquired additional strategies for handling problems at work. Through my fellow mentees I’ve learned that life further up the ladder is quite tough and that networking is very important.
I’d like to think that as a result of my participation in this program, my department and future employers now have a person who is capable, able and willing to take up new opportunities and challenges.
Although the Smaller Agency Mentoring Program has come to an end, my learning journey has just begun. We learn from new experiences and I’m choosing to acquire new experiences by moving out of my comfort zone and putting my hand up for things I normally wouldn’t, like giving this speech. I’ve also nominated to be a mentor for my department’s mentoring program.
In conclusion, this journey has transformed me from a less confident individual to one who is looking for opportunities to learn and grow. The past 12 months has provided me with contacts and additional strategies I can apply now and into the future and now I’d like to assist other people in their learning journey by volunteering to be a mentor. I’d like to thank Orijen for running this program, my mentor for the learning conversations, my fellow mentees for the insight into the life of a CIO and last but not least I’d like to thank my CIO for providing me with the opportunity to participate in this program.
3. Global IT client experience
“I have known Jenny Morris for a period of over 10 years as a person that demonstrates great capability in developing business focussed, strategic human capital solutions. I first met Jenny whilst she was working with the Senior Leadership Team on human capital strategies associated with mergers and acquisitions, involving integration of the most complex corporations. Jenny demonstrated a high degree of sensitivity to the people concerned, refreshing creativity and a strong sense of business purpose.
Subsequently Jenny began a series of thought leadership discussions with senior leaders focussed on the under-representation of women in the IT Industry. These conversations prompted senior leaders to identify future issues concerning skills shortages and the opportunity to create a competitive advantage, well before these issues caught the attention of most senior leaders in Australia.
Jenny worked with us to develop and build a Women’s Mentoring Program aimed at identifying high potential women, creating development opportunities through being matched with external female mentors over a twelve month period. Jenny implemented a process to ensure discipline in mentoring that can be lost through informal or internal programs. Through the women’s mentoring program over one hundred high potential women have benefited over almost seven years, enhancing personal confidence, career opportunities, business success and our employer brand.
As an ultimate measure, at the time of introducing the Women’s Mentoring Program, there were no women represented on the Country Senior Leadership Team. At the end of 2009 two women who had been part of the program, had been appointed to the Country Leadership Team.
Following the success of the women’s mentoring program I personally worked with Jenny to further develop the concept of mentoring, leading to the Mentoring for Growth Program, allowing those having graduated from the Women’s Mentoring Program to be trained as internal mentors for high potential employees identified through talent planning processes. Jenny built a highly successfully program delivered in conjunction with myself to ensure both mentors and mentees were effectively trained, matched and monitored as an outsourced talent management solution. Over a period of three years approximately sixty mentors and mentees have benefitted from this program, across both Australia and New Zealand.
The Mentoring for Growth Program facilitated a low cost solution that met several goals including the further development of women as mentors, an opportunity for developing managers both male and female, to mentor high potential employees and an effective medium for identified talented employees to be mentored with those who knew their way and could help accelerate career progression.
As a mentor in the Mentoring for Growth Program I personally gained from the rigour and associated structuring of the mentoring relationship and the opportunity to directly contribute to the development of a high potential employee in the business, beyond my immediate HR team. The training methodology was comprehensive, easy to understand and supported by significant experience in low cost outsourced mentoring solutions.
I highly recommend Jenny Morris as a most capable and experienced leader in developing effective, contemporary and strategic human capital solutions including mentoring programs and methodologies to support accelerated employee development.”. Bruce Hodgins, Director Human Resources, Hewlett Packard