Kaleidoscope Mentor – Andrea Williams

Kaleidoscope Mentor – Andrea Williams

We spoke with Andrea Williams (LinkedIn), a mentor for the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program, and asked her to share her experiences from participating in the program.

1.  Tell us a little about your own employment/professional history?

I own and operate a medium-sized company called Asset Reports, which I started in 2007 and now have approximately 55 staff Australia-wide. We service the investor market by providing a wide range of Property Reports.

2.  Why did you sign up to be a mentor?

The main reason I signed up to be a mentor is that when I migrated to Australia at the age of eight years old, I had to watch my parents restart their careers with little assistance along the way. I wanted to use my personal experience, knowledge and contacts to help make someone’s journey a little more seamless by offering support through a challenging transition.

3.  What was the best part of being a mentor?

Being a mentor was a rewarding feeling; I enjoyed meeting Alice and learning about her background. The most rewarding part of the whole mentorship was being able to help Alice gain confidence in her own ability and take positive action.

4.  Tell us about the skills you have gained so far from participating in the program.

The main skill I gained was the ability to adapt very quickly to Alice’s personality and way of learning.

5.  Can you tell us about any challenges you faced as a mentor?

The biggest challenge I faced as a mentor was learning to take a step back and let Alice lead the way. I was often tempted to write her cover letters and do the whole application for her, but I knew that it wouldn’t be beneficial in the long run. We spent a lot of time editing cover letters together and it resulted in her recognising the importance of the changes suggested and how she can learn from them for the next time.

6.  In your opinion, did you improve your cultural competency through participation in the program? In what ways?

Yes, absolutely. The biggest thing that surprised me was how the mentees viewed the job advertisements online. In Australia we are quick to respond to job advertisements by applying online, emailing or calling the company. However I found that the mentees read every single word of the advertisements and will not apply if they believe they have not met just one part of the selection criteria. I encouraged Alice to apply regardless as employers are not always going to get exactly what they are looking for. I also learnt about the way the workforce functions in Vietnam and how it differs to Australia.

7.  Would you be more inclined to employ a skilled newcomer in your organisation, since undertaking the KMP?

I was always very happy to employ newcomers to Australia and especially now after meeting so many. Newcomers come from all economic and socio-political backgrounds and bring unique viewpoints and different ways of doing things. Most importantly, if we embrace cultural diversity in our own companies, we are giving people a chance at a new career and possibly one that they may not have had before moving to Australia.

8.  How does participating in the program expand your community networks or knowledge in a particular area?

The program expanded my knowledge in the complexity of Project Management. As I have run a business for most of my adult life, I have always been dealing with my own team. It extended my community network as I was able to reach out to people that were not in my industry to ask for assistance and advice for Alice.

9.  Do you think other professionals should start mentoring? Why?

I think that everybody with a professional background should be a mentor. It improves our knowledge of the world and the journey behind someone migrating to Australia. Naturally, you also develop your own leadership skills, improve communication and personal skills, and remind yourself of everything you could teach somebody. It is also a wonderful experience for the mentee to even just have somebody to call and lean on.

10.  Do you have any tips that you would give to a new KMP mentor?

The tip that I would give to a new KMP mentor would be to advise the mentee to be less critical of themselves when reading job advertisements online. Some job ads are overly detailed, and it can really throw the mentee off. I had to explain to Alice that she can still apply for jobs even if she did not meet all the selection criteria. In conclusion, the main bit of advice I have to offer is to be patient with the mentees. They are facing a whole new professional world and need as much encouragement as possible to lock in their next professional role.

Want to become a KMP mentor? We are continuously recruiting mentors, apply now for KMP Cycle 1 2021.

Apply as a mentor

The Kaleidoscope Initiative has been supported by the State Government through the Office of Multicultural Interests. The Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program is being implemented under a partnership between the City of Stirling, the City of Canning and Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Western Australian Government. The Program has been created in consultation with the Toronto Regional Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). Their successful TRIEC Mentoring Partnership program is the model for mentoring programs across Canada and internationally.

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