The Opportunity Collective, a not-for-profit organisation, will launch its inaugural Career Women’s Mentoring Program in the Newcastle/Hunter region in July.
The program runs for four-and-a-half months, pairing approximately 20 local women in pre to middle management with local women and men who are or have been senior leaders.
The program was created by Suzy Miller, who specialises in the field of leadership and executive development. Prior to starting her business and social enterprises, Suzy worked for NAB and was a Regional Executive. She was a finalist in the 2018 NSW Business Woman of the Year, which recognised her efforts to improve workplace gender diversity and build leadership in women.
Suzy said she created the program to support women in business.
“As I look around this booming region, I think we have a great opportunity to do more with work force gender diversity. Everyone benefits from it and everyone has a role to play to improve it,” Suzy said.
Participants (mentees) learn from the mentors through six hours of mentoring and set career goals to be achieved over the duration of the program.
The program also incorporates four half-day workshops. The workshops are targeted at the challenges women face and the mindsets holding them back from achieving their career goals.
Following the success of the 2017 pilot program and the current program being delivered in the Central Coast, Suzy said she is excited to be bringing it to the Hunter. Some of the outcomes and growth experienced by participants in the 2017 pilot program included a 62% increase in confidence and ability to lead others, 97% increase in confidence and ability to network, 81% increase in ability to self-promote and 42% increase in self-confidence.
Mentors also achieved an uplift in these key areas because of the training, workshops and one-on-one executive coaching.
“Many organisations used the program to invest in high potential employees and built it into its workforce diversity strategy. I believe most organisations want to do better, but don’t know what or how. Our program is providing part of the solution and it works,” Suzy said.
Previous participants have included team members from the University of Newcastle and from the health, manufacturing, finance, hospitality and community sectors. Mentors, both women and men, have included CEO’s, business owners and directors.
In the past, the program received grant funding that allowed it to provide scholarship positions for Indigenous women or disadvantaged women. They are now seeking local organisations, who may want to support these women by funding their involvement.
“We really want to have a diverse workforce ready to take on the growing career opportunities coming to the Hunter Region. We also want to inspire young women and girls, showing them senior leadership pathways locally,” said Suzy.
The program begins on 26 July with mentor training and all workshops held at McDonald Jones Stadium Broadmeadow. Applications for mentors, participants and sponsors close on 6 July 2018.
IMAGE | Founder of the Career Women’s Mentoring Program, Suzy Miller.