Article by Tiffani Makharti, Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program Mentee
Dr Anne Mathews, Manager at the Department of Communities WA, recently spoke with Kaleidoscope about her passion for mentoring and helping people to succeed in their careers. Anne shared her experience as a mentor in the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program, and why she sees so much value in being a mentor.
Reflecting back thirty years, Anne shares that she was herself a newcomer to Australia from India. Her new life in Australia started in Canberra, where she did her doctoral studies at the Australian National University. It took her some time to adjust to the new culture in Australia, and as a result, she clearly understands the difficulties newcomers face in settling in a new country. “Making friends and participating in the community helped me to settle in Australia. My new friends and the community provided me with a supportive environment,” Anne said.
This positive experience prompted her to help other newcomers through mentoring. “I enjoy teaching and mentoring, as it gives me the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience as well as provides me with the joy of helping others, which is very fulfilling,” Anne said. As an active member of Leadership WA, she was delighted to take the opportunity to connect with the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program and to become a mentor.
Being a mentor to a number of skilled newcomers, Anne noticed that newcomers have a lot of skills and experience they can contribute to the community. However, they also need guidance and support in achieving their goals. As a mentor, Anne helps her mentees to be realistic about their expectations and provides advice and guidance to them in working towards their goals. Anne looks for opportunities to assist her mentees to obtain local work experience, which is very important in understanding the Australian workplace and culture.
“Mentoring is a learning experience for both the mentor and mentee; commitment and investment of time are essential to make mentoring work for both parties. As a mentor, you need to commit and be sincere in helping others. I find mentoring is fulfilling as I am able to help the community through sharing my knowledge and networks with my mentees,” Anne explained.
“The Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program gives me a platform to contribute to the Western Australian community by helping newcomers to gain a better understanding of Western Australia, whilst improving my cultural competency by interacting directly with people from a different cultural background outside my workplace”, Anne added. She also said that this program creates opportunities for newcomers to build their own networks, and for mentors to help their broader community.
Anne’s passion for giving back to the community continues to shine through. She expressed her commitment to continuing to support this mentoring program and suggested other professionals who are thinking of mentoring should take up the challenge and make a commitment to start mentoring. “It is a simple action, yet it has a big impact on newcomers who look for guidance to achieve their career goals. And for me, it helps me to be a more empathetic manager within my diverse workplace,” Anne stated.