In May of 2023, we put the call out to the Marlborough community seeking individuals who would like support in their Governance role and those who would be willing to act as mentors to share their own knowledge and experience with others. Supported by both Community Governance NZ and the Mentoring Foundation of New Zealand, we signed up a group of people keen to learn more, and matched them with experienced governance members from the community.
This initiative was aimed at strengthening the capability of our Marlborough community groups and organisations by providing targeted support to leaders and fostering relationships. Those who joined the programme were connected with a mentor who had strong and relevant leadership experience, and had a good understanding of the community in which we all work.
Over a six-month timeframe, each person had a monthly one-on-one session with their mentor, and came to two group sessions. Each matched pair followed a proven mentoring model, and the mentees were supported in building their effectiveness as a leader as they worked on growing their effectiveness, confidence and capability, and their connection to other leaders in the community.
On Monday 27th November, Leighton Littlewood and our General Manager, Meg Martin, had the chance to have a final wrap-up session with 4 of these matched pairs to celebrate learnings and the connections that have been made. Listening to each of the mentees as they described the growth in their confidence and capability was incredibly heartwarming, as was being able to observe the relationships that had developed between the pairs. In addition to the wealth of knowledge and experience that was shared by the Mentors, it was clear that friendships and enduring connections had been formed.
"I've always had questions I wanted to ask at Board meetings, but wasn't sure if I was on the right track so was reluctant to ask. Thanks to my mentor, now I know I'm not only on the right track, but I have the confidence to ask!"
"She [my mentor] has been absolutely wonderful and I have learned so much, and I feel like I can deal with so much more now."
"Even as the Mentor in this relationship, I found myself learning more....particularly about the organisations out there in the community that I would not normally have anything to do with."
This was the first year of running this mentoring programme and, although we lost a few mentees over the course of the programme due to life circumstances, it was a resounding success overall.
For 2024, we are looking at running a similar programme with more of an overall leadership focus - open to both Managers and Governance members. If this is something you would be keen to be involved with, either as a Mentee or a Mentor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!