The importance of mentoring

By Shelly Horton (Mentor on MentorSelector)

No one is too successful to have a mentor. In fact most successful people have mentors.

There is a surge of interest in mentors and role models, particularly in and area I’m passionate about, women supporting women.

Women Supporting Women

Research from The Westpac Women of Influence Report from a few years ago, confirms that Australian women are looking to role models with a bit of integrity.

After surveying 1000 working women aged between 25-65, it found personal connections have a bigger influence on professional women than celebrities.

They’d rather get advice from an older female colleague than listen to what popstars are sprouting.

While Australian icons like Ita Buttrose and Governor-General Quentin Bryce top the list of public role models, followed by actress Cate Blanchett and former prime minister Julia Gillard, high-achieving women in entertainment and sports only appeal to a small proportion of professional women.

Overall, the clear finding from the research is that Australian women seem to aspire to be like women they know and respect personally – looking for attributes such as honesty and trustworthiness, good communication skills and respect for others.

I had some great mentors when I was younger. Helen Grasswill, a producer from Australian Story at ABC TV took me under her wing and gave me some of the best presenting and producing advice I’ve ever come across. My old boss at Triple J, Alison Ray, dished out tough love and lots of laughs that certainly shaped my career.

I’ll be forever grateful to them and now it’s my turn to give back. You get a lot out of being a mentor.  For me it’s a feeling of community and a sense of the bigger picture.

Walk ‘n Talk

A couple of years ago I created a mentoring group of about ten young female journalists.  We meet a few times a year for what I have dubbed a “Walk ‘n Talk” mentoring session.  As a group we discuss problems, celebrate successes and offer advice and support all while doing a long walk.

Between our “Walk ‘n Talk” sessions I’m also available on the phone or by email if any of them have something they need to nut out, whether it’s apply for a new job, asking for a pay increase or dealing with harassment at work.

As their mentor I will always be their champion.  I am the first to praise their accomplishments but also provide tough love and constructive feedback.  I happily exchange career tips and keep my ear to the ground for new opportunities.  Basically I am their biggest cheerleader.

So I encourage women, and men, to be brave and seek out a mentor.


Why not let us help you find your mentor here? We are always looking for new mentors to join our family – please click here – there is nothing to lose, and most mentors find mentorship beneficial to not just the mentees, but also the mentors.

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Here are some short clips on the benefits of mentoring: