Joining the Griffith Industry Mentoring Program
I had recently completed my Bachelor of Psychology and began studying a Master of Business. I had found it difficult to network while studying my Bachelor and did not avail of opportunities to build my skills and knowledge including my resume and LinkedIn profile. As a result, I was not making much headway on my search for a graduate role. Seeking further advice, I made a careers appointment with the Careers and Employment Service and discovered the Griffith Industry Mentoring Program.
I realised right away that it would be very beneficial to work with an industry professional who could guide my job search efforts and help me to find where I fit in my new industry. This was to be my first experience as a mentee, I was fortunate to participate in the Industry Mentoring Program three times, with three different mentors, each with valuable insight and support that genuinely assisted me on my career path. For those unfamiliar with the Griffith Industry Mentoring Program, it is a free extra-curricular program that connects students to established industry professionals – enabling them to access industry perspectives, exposure to the job market, and professional networking opportunities.
The Program has approximately 1000 qualified mentors, across a range of career fields. This helped me to learn about different career options leading from my degree – there were way more possibilities than I’d imagined. My mentors were incredibly supportive and generous with their knowledge, networks and time – I would never have been able to engage in the internships, networking events as well as develop my resume and cover letter to such a high standard without these incredible people.
Industry Mentoring Program Round 1 – Nathalie Taylor
For my first mentorship, I was matched with Nathalie Taylor, a People and Culture Manager at Queensland Airports Limited (QAL). At the beginning of our mentorship, Nathalie helped me identify my professional development goals, and we decided to focus on professional networking. She worked closely with me to develop my networking skills, leveraging her network to ensure I had opportunities to connect with professionals from the HR industry. She invited me to my first professional networking event with a group of female leaders where I was able to discuss industry trends impacting the field of Human Resources, learn from the experiences of leaders in the field and ask lots of questions. I was even encouraged to connect with these amazing professionals on LinkedIn – jump-starting my network. I enjoyed working closely with Nathalie to develop my own elevator speech to present to the women during the event, and I continue to use this speech when approaching industry professionals. Thanks to Nathalie, I have gained more confidence in networking. Nathalie also helped me develop the skills needed to effectively market myself and made me aware of the challenges and opportunities I will experience at the beginning of my career.
As if all of this wasn’t incredible enough, Nathalie also invited me to complete an internship with People and Culture at QAL. This allowed me to gain experience within a Human Resource Management setting and learn about the tasks and roles of the People and Culture team, while gaining exposure to a corporate workplace setting. Nathalie asked me to outline the areas of Human Resources that I was most passionate about, giving me a voice in the structure of my internship and the skills I would develop on the job. During my internship, I was actively involved in the Gender Committee and developed a Maternity Leave Survey to be distributed to female and male colleagues that contributed to the development of policies and procedures to better support employees while on leave. In this way, I was able to make a small contribution to QAL’s goal of attaining Workplace Gender Equality Certification by 2023. I was fortunate to work alongside a passionate team of leaders who were positive role models, and included me in many of their tasks, enabling me to gain an understanding of their roles. I was invited to attend professional business meetings between leaders and the People and Culture team and was encouraged to share ideas for Skyward Bound training initiatives, a Learning Development Framework aimed at equipping emerging leaders with the skills needed to become effective leaders. I collaborated with Nathalie and her team to develop a ‘Leaders Calendar’ for 2020 with topics to be addressed during the monthly forums. I felt a strong sense of accomplishment from contributing to innovative initiatives that will directly benefit employees and leaders.
Nathalie went above and beyond her role as a mentor to assist me and it was an honour to witness her motivation, passion and the way she nurtures and leads her team. I feel very thankful to have been able to learn from her. I feel more confident, curious, willing to ask questions and eager to enter the workforce. Being paired with Nathalie gave me a vision of what my future could look like and appreciate the importance of Human Resource Management. Nathalie continues to support, guide and mentor me beyond our official mentoring period and I feel grateful for her and the Queensland Airport Limited team for allowing me to experience a warm, enriching and positive internship that helped me to grow as a future professional.
I recently caught up with Natalie and we discussed the Industry Mentoring Program together, as QAL is an active partner with Griffith University and provides many students with the opportunity to complete internships with the organisation. Nathalie made the following comments about her experience being a mentor in the Industry Mentoring Program:
“Being a Mentor in the Griffith Mentoring Program provides a fabulous opportunity to give back as an Industry Partner, stay connected to contemporary best practice and form relationships with self-motivated future leaders. I thoroughly enjoy mentoring and learning from my mentees throughout the well supported program, leveraging the networking opportunities that Griffith Uni provide and keeping an eye on great talent in industry for future employment purposes!”
- Nathalie Taylor, People and Culture Manager
Queensland Airports Limited
If you enjoyed this article, watch this space! This is the first blog in a three part series and there will be more content coming soon.