Mentoring the next generation of leaders

21 Nov 2017

It’s forecasted that Millennials will make up 75 per cent of the workforce by 2025. As this new generation emerges with different skills, attitudes and outlooks than their successors, mentoring could be the key to unlocking a diverse and empowered cohort.

Deloitte’s 2016 Human Capital Trends report has found that 68 per cent of Millennials, who stay with one employer for more than five years, are twice as likely to be part of a mentoring program, than not (32 per cent).

Kerrie Muskens is Head of Marketing and Communications at Brookfield Asia Pacific and with an extensive career in property, has undertaken to mentor emerging talent as part of the Property Council’s 100 Women in Property Program.

“So far I’ve sponsored five women coming through the industry. I believe that mentoring offers women the opportunity to develop themselves personally and professionally to overcome challenges they will face in their career and harness opportunities,” says Kerrie.

“Mentees have had the opportunity to build their networks through formal events and committee meetings, which they wouldn’t otherwise get to experience.”

One of Kerrie’s mentees in the 2017 program has been Green Building Council of Australia’s Senior Manager – Market Communications, Lorna Nolan, who says the opportunity has been invaluable to strengthening her industry connections.

“One of the highlights was the opportunity to shadow Natalie Forbes, Director, People and Culture Transformation at Brookfield to attend one of the Property Council’s Diversity Committee meetings. Having exposure to the challenges many of our member organisations are facing in that area was enlightening. Overall the networking opportunities were fantastic, I’ve managed to build relationships and form a support network with other females in the industry through Kerrie’s mentorship."

And it’s not just the mentee who goes through a learning process.

Kerrie believes that these interactions allow her to take away strategies for managing her team at Brookfield.

“When you’re sponsoring or mentoring someone, you start to discuss their strengths and weaknesses and how they can advance their career.

“We might talk about becoming better at public speaking, or being more organised for meetings, but they’re all important reflections to bring back to my team. Now when I’m mapping out professional development plans internally, I think about the challenges my mentees face and try and apply the same solutions for my own staff.”

US-based organisation The National Mentoring Partnership reports that young adults who receive mentoring are 130 per cent more likely to hold leadership positions.

As we look to promote diversity, inclusivity and innovation in the workplace, particularly through Green Star, it’s time for organisations to embrace the value of mentoring to empower the next generation of Australia’s workforce.