Kaleidoscope Initiative asked past mentees and mentors from the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program to share their experiences, benefits and successes from the participating in the program. Participants also provided a selfie photograph of themselves so you can see the many different faces of KMP mentees and mentors.
We asked Peiye Truong, about his mentoring experience and this was his response:
Tell us a little about your own employment/professional history.
I have over 11 years’ experience in the financial services and banking industry in varying roles across retail banking, business and corporate banking and most recently small business. Over the last 8 years, I have held numerous leadership positions, culminating to my current role as the Regional Manager of Small Business Banking, looking after a team of specialists and leaders across WA South, and the whole of South Australia and Northern Territory.
Why did you sign up to be a mentor?
As a child of migrant parents, I have heard numerous stories and recollections of how difficult things were when they first came to Australia. Coming from a successful business in their home country of Vietnam, my parents had to start things all over again. At times, I think how a program like KMP could have supported my parents and extended family.
Additionally, 70% of our team across WA, SA & NT are born overseas, with 10 different cultures making up our extended team.
As industry professionals, it is one way for us to play a crucial role in our local communities.
What was the best part of being a mentor?
The intrinsic motivation and joy a mentee receives from this program is something you can’t put a price on. The resulting joy as a mentor is extremely motivating as an individual.
There is an abundance of ex-mentees out in the industries who are well on their way to a successful career in Australia, thanks to KMP. Being able to say you played a small part in that is very fulfilling!
What is the greatest value you gained from participating in the program?
The networks and new connections you make. This coupled with the chance to learn different cultures and how industries work in different countries helps broaden coaching and leadership skills in so many ways.
Was it challenging to be a mentor?
The only big challenge I found was time. As I travel for work a bit, it was being upfront with my mentee and ensuring that I booked my mentoring meetings in advance. If there was a clash, we would connect on the phone.
Do you feel your cultural competency improved through participation in this program?
Absolutely! I have a much greater appreciation for how industries operate in different cultures, and have also reflected on the industry norms we have in Australia.
Would you feel more likely to employ a skilled migrant or skilled refugee in a position since undertaking the KMP?
If I had a role available, without question!
Do you think other professionals should start mentoring? Why?
I think all professionals should start mentoring high-skilled migrants in one form or another. Picture this – you have decided the time is right to leave everything you know and the country you call home for better opportunities. You decide to uproot your family as well and move to a country that you may never have been to before, however, you know that in the long run it will be better for your family and children. You have some ideas about the culture and cultural norms. You know you are qualified to do the same job (probably over-qualified). However, you have no idea who to approach or how to approach someone in the industry. You are happy to take a few steps back in your career in order to get into the industry and work your way up from there. Yet it seems like no one wants to give you a chance or when you get a chance, not knowing how the industry operates limits your chances.
This is the challenge facing a lot of the mentees in KMP and as leaders, we play a very crucial role in supporting them through this.
What are your Top 5 Tips that you would give to a new KMP mentor?
Firstly, thank you for giving your time to the program, these mentees will definitely take a lot from your experiences.
Ensure you are able to dedicate the time to your mentee.
Ensure your mentoring agreement is specific and clear to both parties
Don’t get caught up with landing the mentee a job straight away, there are so many other things you can add value to, until the opportunity comes around. E.g. resume, cover letter, interview techniques, industry norms and culture.
Be honest and transparent – that goes both ways.
Seek feedback as you go along and give yourself the time to reflect. It’s as much a journey for the mentor as it is for the mentee.
Kaleidoscope is inviting applications for mentees and mentors in May 2020 for the next mentoring cycle running from July to October 2020. Find out more about the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program and how you too can join as a Mentee or a Mentor.
The City of Stirling’s Kaleidoscope Initiative aims to harness the economic benefits of its diverse population by helping newcomers to Australia secure employment in their field of expertise and support employers to benefit from this diverse workforce. The Kaleidoscope Initiative has been funded by the Government of Western Australia, the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Office of Multicultural Interests. This project has been developed in partnership with Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC).