As the 2021 Roots and Wings Mentorship program draws to a close, we simply had to touch base with our pairs to find out how they’ve enjoyed their journeys! Here’s what a few of them had to say…
“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside of you” – Oprah Winfrey. I found more than a mentor but a mother, friend, one of my biggest cheerleaders and supporter. This was a journey of healing and revival for me, and my mentor was just the perfect fit. I felt empty and broken because of stagnance, countless rejections, many doors of opportunities & growth in all areas of my life not opening; many doors being shut in my face despite all my hard work and effort. I had forgotten who I am. I had forgotten what I am cable of. I had forgotten how to be myself.
Today, I too can see that hope inside of me. The light inside of me still burns, the fire inside of me has been revived. And just like a Phoenix, I have risen from the ashes with renewed youth and find myself alive again. Thanks to Roots&Wings for restoring my wings, I can fly again. Thank you for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am grateful.
Mentor: Asiyah Swaleh – Fulcrum
The IIG Roots&Wings Mentorship Program has been one that has always been close to my heart for the past four years. Each new Mentee has been a unique opportunity to carve out a new path on a new journey towards success and self-discovery. Forming lasting friendships have been a welcome side-effect. The Welcome Event which I once referred to as a “speed-dating” experience has now stuck and remains an event filled with anticipation and excitement not knowing who you get to leave with. From Day 1, I was naturally drawn towards Molebatsi Langa’s energy. She is elegant, eloquent, a proud Mum, and a committed wife and partner. I saw someone with big dreams and aspirations who sometimes sacrificed herself in servitude to others. There was certainly a smouldering fire within that was hungry for the right tools to enable it to burn fearlessly and proudly. Our journey has certainly been one of deep discovery and truths that could only emerge through complete vulnerability. I am and always will be proud of the concerted efforts Molebatsi has made to bring about change in her life and I have every faith and confidence that she will continue to rise and fulfil her dreams and be successful in all areas of her life. It has been my pleasure and privilege to have been her personal guardian on this journey.
Mentee: Molebatsi Langa – Old Mutual Insure
What this journey has meant in my personal life is really simple, but it is the hardest decision that I battle with daily and that is to take better care of myself and my family by consciously making a decision to switch off from work and spend time with my loved one’s. My Mentor, Archie, spoke to me about my habit of working late at night and in my presentation to my fellow mentees and mentors, I jokingly related a story about how I was working late at night and Linda addressed me on it too. This made me realize that I could not continue ignoring the signs. It’s still early days but I have become more deliberate in setting clear boundaries between work and my personal time and space…so far, so good!
Professionally, I am more fearless than I have ever been. Archie has imparted so much wisdom to me and she has guided me through some of the most nerve-wracking decisions that I have had to make. And might I add, that she has encouraged me to do some really daring things. I have cried, laughed, had moments of doubt and moments when I felt that I could conquer the world – it was all worth it.
Mentor: Linda Dyer – Emerald
Being a mentor on the IIG Roots and Wings programme has been challenging and exciting. I was paired up with an up-and-coming mentee by the name of Nomkhuleko Ndiweni and I believe that Noms will go far in the future.
Being a first-time mentor I was not sure what to expect and what was expected of me but once I had met my mentee and found out what she was hoping to get out of the programme gave us a basis on which to work from.
It was a rewarding experience to watch my mentee set goals and take steps towards achieving them and the excitement when a goal had been achieved. By getting her out of her comfort zone and seeing her grow within herself and knowing that I had helped to change her way of thinking was such a great feeling
It has been an amazing experience watching all the mentees grow in the space of a year and most importantly I am looking forward to following Noms’ career and seeing her progress.
Wishing the mentees all the best in their careers going forward.
Mentee : Nomkhuleko Ndiweni – Apio Risk Services
“Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” – I am because you are, is the best way I can relate my mentorship journey. All that I am becoming and my growth is owed to an individual and a support system.
For me, joining this programme was about growing my career and knowledge in the insurance broking space. It has been so far a bridge that has allowed me the opportunity to tap into knowledge, wisdom and experience from the captains of the industry.
Engaging in this journey revealed to me the ugly truths about me that needed work & managing and good traits to focus on, and how these impact my personal and professional growth.
Apart from the invaluable knowledge that I have gained from my mentor, being part of the programme has helped and given the introvert in me an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and network. A skill that I am still working on.
Though I have won some and lost others, I continue to learn and grow, and I can safely say that I am a different person from who I was when our journey started.
Mentor: Antonia Oakes – Old Mutual Insure
It has been an amazing journey of discovery, encouragement, tears, bliss, joy, milestone successes and A-ha moments! My experience has been one of character building and enabling someone to see the hope inside themselves. Its been one of learning, listening and unlearning. Re-imagining, re-inventing and re-living. Vision mapping and self-reflection. Encouraging each other on how to become better people and use our inner qualities to grow. Ylaney is an amazingly strong & intelligent young lady who doubted herself too much and along the way, we unpacked and unravelled how she should dispel the doubt which would sometimes creep in and rob her of her worth. It was amazing to see all the great opportunities and character building connections she encountered once the positive energy was emitted from within her. The change and growth which I have seen in her have been amazing! Keep on shining Ylaney, the opportunities are endless and you have to seize them!
“Maybe the journey isn’t about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you are meant to be in the first place!”
Mentee : Ylaney Ramlall – EthiQal
Nothing in life is meant to stay the same but for most of us, change seems stark and abrupt ending of our old selves. I felt myself change over these past months while on this mentorship journey with my esteemed mentor Antonia Oaks but surprisingly change did not feel like the sharp end of a knife in fact it became a beautiful reflection of an optimistic vibrant teenager whose dreams lay buried beneath the realities of adulthood.
Why did this “new” person reflect so clearly the young lady I once was?
- S. Eliot once said, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.”
My journey on the Roots & Wings program has been a path of return to my true self and that has been a powerful gift. I now feel empowered to take on my future knowing that I do so authentically and with honesty. And most importantly with the gratitude for my lived experience that I hope to impart to others in days to come.
Mentor: Darryl Grater – Discovery Insure
I have had the privilege of serving as a mentor for a number of years and 2021 again demonstrated that we are all in need of direction, guidance and learning – both as mentee and mentor. Mentorships have always been the foundation for robust and constructive development in a safe setting, where the mentored individual is supported to be the best version of themself and to proactively tackle their main obstacles. After yet another year of lockdown and the economic, social and physiological consequences to all, I am a firm believer that such mentorship programmes are even more important now as people emerge and navigate the post-lockdown changes. More than ever now Benjamin Franklin’s words ring true “Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I learn.” For all senior managers and executives in the insurance industry, I challenge you to partner with a mentee and pass your knowledge forward where we can scale capabilities and solution- thinking as we move SA forward.
Mentee: Phenyo Mangaba
Quick things that I have learnt from my mentor:
- Don’t judge a book by its cover
- Opportunity meets preparation
Success is not defined by formula’s alone and it is not how/what you start with but how you finish. Results speak volumes, and in the workplace, the best kind of results is through optimization. Learn to take the opportunity of the strengths whether in a team or individually and be patient the solution to a puzzle is done so by putting it together piece by piece.
Mentee: Grace Tsoeli – Constantia Insurance Company Ltd.
The Journey has been interesting, A year full of achievements and challenges but more importantly countless opportunities for growth, learning and development.
I don’t know what exactly I had envisioned the journey to be like, but it has definitely exceeded my expectations and has opened me up to a new way of thinking and my outlook on my personal life as well as my career in Insurance.
My Mentor Nonte has definitely been the highlight for me. What I appreciate the most is her honesty, her willingness to share all of herself and also allowing me to be vulnerable with her becoming a safe space to share my goals, dreams and desires.
As I look forward I am excited for what the future holds both personally and professionally. I believe that everything she has planted in me will produce great results. I am looking forward to making her and myself very proud.
Mentor: Nonte Nzimakwe – Emerald
I couldn’t believe my ears when Grace asked me if I would mind being partnered with her, within minutes into the program! I was thinking it! But, she said it. We have so much in common. Talking with her calms me down. It’s like talking with a very intelligent younger sister. Our relationship makes it easy for me to share parts of myself with her. I can only hope that my experiences will help her navigate through her career much better.
When I registered for the Roots and Wings programme, I was expecting something totally different to what I got.
This programme has been an eye-opener both in my personal and professional life.
My professional life, I was too comfortable in my position until I got a new portfolio in my workload which made me lose my self-confidence as this was something totally new to me and it placed me in a different environment. I was filled with self-doubt which hindered me from exploring the new position with a positive attitude. I will forever be grateful to my mentor Michael Dash who has helped me to rediscover myself and to work on my attitude and the obstacles or my insecurities.
With my private life, I became self-aware and started planning my life in a way that will bring a harmonious atmosphere to my family. I began to plan family activities and my mentor emphasized on “me time” is a very important part of each one’s life.
This programme has helped me to be able to socialize again after a very long time and learn more. More especially to know that there is more to be out there and I can achieve anything I set my mind to.
This article was curated by Jabulile Mtimkulu.
The Roots and Wings Programme is sponsored by: