“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom” – Marcel Proust
The pandemic and subsequent national lockdown have come not without their unmistakable impact on our professional and personal lives. Little treasures like having a support structure and someone simply there to confide in, give a virtual but heartfelt hug or put a smile on your face with a funny meme to remind you of the world that still needs your humanity. These have spurred us into taking on each day more hopeful than the one before.
This month we caught up with some of our mentors and mentees to find out what being on the programme has meant for them.
Macinee shared the following with us: The Roots and Wings program has always been something that I’ve wanted to be a part of and it certainly does not disappoint. I never realized what an impact a positive voice can make in someone’s life until I, myself became one of those voices. I am so proud to be associated with this amazing initiative.
Both my mentee, Olby and I were quite hesitant at first, but after our first conversation, it was evident that this was the beginning of a very special relationship. Our journey thus far has been one of self-discovery and mutual respect’s skill and expertise. Olby is an exceptional young woman whose past experiences has contributed to her strong drive and tenacity.
We have worked on achieving a sustainable work-life balance, career growth, self-care, setting realistic goals as well as being an introvert in a predominantly extrovert industry. What is apparent from our sessions, is that we share similar concerns and struggles and being able to share those in an environment built on trust is priceless.
What I am most looking forward to is watching Olby use the tools that we have worked on in her career and seeing her progress and achieve her goals. I am a firm believer in things happening for a reason and I am so grateful to have Olby as my mentee. We learn from each other; we laugh, we share our life stories and this is the foundation of a wonderful friendship even after this program draws to a close.
Olby said: Firstly I would like to thank you(Jabu) and IIG for this opportunity.
Before I started with the program I used to be comfortable in my comfort zone, then I joined this mentorship program and got paired with Macinee (who is so great by the way). Since then it has been nothing but a wonderful and fruitful journey. It has only been a few months and I have learned so much from Macinee. Every session with her is challenging (in a good way), keeps me on my toes, she gets me to think outside the box which I never was comfortable with before. From our very first session to date, I have achieved most of the goals I have set for myself and I feel that it is only the beginning. I have learned a lot about myself and I have also learned to look at myself from other people’s eyes. From that, I saw how amazing and brilliant I am. From here the sky is not even the limit for me and I am enjoying this journey. I can’t wait to see the person I will become after this program because I am proud.
Juanita had this to say: When I started the Roots & Wings program, I had no idea that my mentor would have such a profound impact on my life. Normally when we think of mentors, most of us probably think of Mr Miyagi from Karate Kid. Unfortunately, Gerhard does not know anything about karate, but I quickly came to realize that he possesses a wealth of knowledge and wisdom.
Over the last 5 months, we have engaged in weekly discussions about leadership, strategy, goals and so much more.
Gerhard helped discuss and analyse my ideas and has been a soundboard when I needed guidance or objective input. The valuable knowledge I gained with my mentor’s guidance helped me perform my best!
This journey inspired me to do some introspection on my career, myself and where I would like to be. I have grown so much in the short period and look forward to seeing what the second half of this journey holds.
Gerhard said: The experience is a formidable one as I collaborate with people that want to grow themselves. The mere fact that we build a trust relationship, set goals and that by me listening attentively, could connect the dots and encourage growth.
The journey is an opportunity to develop a relationship with mentees and encourage them to have a strategy on their careers that guide them to produce tangible results during this journey. In addition, to formalise a platform they own, for lifelong learning, initiate the key unlocking a knowledge transfer opportunity for them to accelerate in their own culture of high performance.
I am focusing on the value of values, share the skills and knowledge of what success could look like, how important experience is, what it means to be a professional in the working environment and to own, to develop, grow, and manage their careers. The opportunity of being a mentee assists them to become resilient in times of change, self-reliant in their careers, and most important: to become an eternal responsible self-directed learner.
We still need to cover some ground in opening doors for mentees, networking, keep them inspired to step up to the challenge in managing risks, managing relationships and benefit as much as possible from the journey.
It is fulfilling to focus on the various roles as a seasoned leader and to ensure that knowledge transfer and providing the exchange of information and knowledge sharing between mentee and mentor: irrespective.
Nkejane had this to say: I have always been a sports enthusiast, running, playing soccer, and any excuse to be active, and it became second nature. I suddenly got injured, and for a few months, very long months, I was unable to do the basic things in life such as walking.
The mentorship journey somehow coincided with this. The first moment of being able to drive again was going to a breakfast meeting where a Director asked me to wear funky socks and shoes. Oh…what I have I got myself into here, those were the first thoughts. However, it has been an amazing journey.
I feel I have my personal Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, that eagle eye. It has been the key to finding that additional edge of confidence, edge in believing in myself a bit more and importantly, getting that perspective that another 10 or even more years of being in the industry will bring.
I look forward to more breakfasts and lunches overlooking the beauty of the garden at the country club, and in those moments, although I am in awe, I am mostly inspired.
Jason had this to say: How to influence people, how to be more strategic, how to chip away at a glass ceiling and how to do more of what you are good at? These sound like New York Times bestseller book titles, but this has been my reality for the year 2021. Personal challenges from the happenings in the country aside, one of the biggest highlights is to hear from your manager’s manager, “I like this new Jason, he is powerful” after dealing with an internal conflict.
Training others is part of my job, so I understand that there are 4 stages of learning that a person goes through to master an outcome:
- Unconscious incompetence (think the Dunning Kruger effect)
- Conscious incompetence, (where one realizes that they aren’t proficient)
- Conscious competence (proficiency)
- Unconscious competence (One has mastered the outcome and it happens on autopilot)
Let’s just say that Gerhard has challenged me on many facets I thought I’ve mastered, only to understand that I wasn’t in the cycle I thought I was. It has been a privilege to be a mentee in this program.
Article by Jabulile Mtimkulu
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