Mentee - Leila Golchin
How did you become involved with WOB My Mentoring program?
I first heard of the WOB program via the Inhouse Women's Networking lunch hosted at one of the Sydney top law firms. One of the attendees mentioned it to the group and at the time I was looking for a program that would assist me with gaining a position on the C-suite of an organisation as well as a board role in the future.
What was your career background & position at the commencement of your mentoring program?
I am a senior corporate lawyer having worked in both private practice and inhouse roles for over 13 years. At the time of my mentoring program and today I am Group Legal Counsel for GrainCorp Limited, an ASX 100 agribusiness.
What was your key focus in engaging a WOB Mentor?
My key focus was to frame up branding and persona of 'Leila Golchin', including achievements and capability, developing the right resume, working out my executive pitch and how it feeds into my resume, a real pathway to the C-suite and understanding how to 'sell' myself at all opportunities. In addition to have an action plan for board opportunities.
What is different for you as a result of undertaking the mentor program?
My mentor Cheryl was incredible at helping me see things from a different perspective - not just a lawyer's perspective - but from a board and an executive's perspective. She really helped me think about my achievements and capabilities, had a major impact on recutting my resume and helping me develop my brand. I am now armed with a stand out resume for both executive and board roles.
At the time of undertaking the mentoring program, my workplace was also going through a management shift. Cheryl was a great sounding board for me during that time discussing different opportunities to gain more strategic experience.
Anything else you’d add and any advice for people considering a mentoring relationship?
I would definitely recommend a mentoring program, and in particular the WOB program. Matching up with a mentor who didn't necessarily have the same career field or background was also very helpful to gain a different perspective than what you may already have from colleagues or have seen previously.
Mentor - Cheryl Hayman
When did you become a mentor with WOB?
In 2016 I undertook my first WOB mentoring session, although I’ve been mentoring women across business sectors, formally and informally, since the early 90’s.
How did you become involved with WOB My Mentoring program?
I became involved because I enjoy giving back and am an advocate of the values and focus of the WOB organisation, becoming a board member this past year as well.
What is your career background?
In my corporate career I was a Marketing and communications expert, starting out of university and rising through the ranks of Unilever, Australia and subsequently as an ex patriate in the UK.
Then onto other organisations, in FMCG including Yum Restaurants and then George Weston Foods.
I left the full time corporate world in 2004 to take on strategic marketing consulting, and commence a board career.
Today I’m a professional non-executive director, with a career as NED spanning across ASX, Public unlisted, Sports, and NFP Boards, In the last 10years.
How has your experience assisted in mentoring others?
As a senior corporate executive, I have led many teams and developed many people. I really enjoy giving back to the next generations, and bringing my personal and professional skills to bear, whether that includes using my technical functional skills, my skills with people development which include resume development, interview techniques or just good old fashioned sensible advice. Building others’ confidence and acknowledging their capabilities can sometimes be more easily seen by an external party such as myself. The objectivity I can bring to someone, outside of their immediate work environment, is a good basis for this advice, as I have no agenda other than to help, guide and advise.
What has been your most rewarding accomplishment as a mentor?
Seeing how the women I’ve mentored grow, succeed and gain confidence and capability in their roles and in their general outlook for their own careers. Trying to inspire them to be the best they can be.
What have been your greatest challenges as a mentor?
Sometime mentees don’t respect the time we are allocating. It’s also much easier when a mentor is organised and has an “agenda” and clear objectives of what they’re wanting to achieve.
Providing value is my foremost desire, and being unable to provide maximum help and assistance can be frustrating, but luckily this hasn’t happened very often, and never with WOB mentees.
How has being a mentor stretched your knowledge and capabilities?
Working with women from various functions, such as law, and Human Resources, as well as Marketing, has kept me fresh and expanded my knowledge of other industries also.
It gives me a contemporary look at today’s workplaces and enables me to keep abreast of challenges and issues in the ever-changing work environment today. It also enables me to acknowledge the skills and value I can provide and understand how much benefit I’ve had from a strong, well-managed corporate career, with wonderful bosses, and mentors, mostly informal in my case.
What networking advice would you provide to your mentees?
Spend time thinking about who you know, who you’ve worked for, and generate a list that you keep up to date.
It’s always surprising how well connected we are when we think about it. Relationships we build throughout our career, all become part of an extensive network. Attend events and workshops, and training that would provide interest or experience for you, and if you meet great people, then foster that relationship.
If working with very senior networked people, always have questions you’d like answered, don’t waste their time. Be specific and recognise their contribution to you, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you’d like from them. You’ll find most people extremely happy and humbled to be asked.
What have you enjoyed most about mentoring career women?
Their zest for achievement, their openness to receiving help. Their smarts, and intelligence, and their ability to recognise their challenge areas, as they juggle multiple things, in many cases they’re also very good planners, resourceful, and grateful for the help.
What advice do you have for those interested in becoming a mentor or mentee?
It’s a wonderful, rewarding, enjoyable experience for all parties. Be authentic and open with your partner in the relationship. Come prepared to meetings, extend your help in areas of strength and be open to learning throughout the months you’re working together. Assign time and respect each other’s valuable time.