Up to 100 mentees expected at first Wollongong mentor walk for women

Mentors and mentees: Natasha Potter, Renee Whiteside, Annalisa Peiris and Vikki Weston will be among around 100 people taking part in the first Mentor Walk in Wollongong on Friday morning. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Mentors and mentees: Natasha Potter, Renee Whiteside, Annalisa Peiris and Vikki Weston will be among around 100 people taking part in the first Mentor Walk in Wollongong on Friday morning. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Mercer mentors Renee Whiteside and Annalisa Peiris and mentees Vikki Weston and Natasha Potter will be among up to 100 people taking part in the inaugural Mentor Walk in Wollongong on Friday.

Mentor Walks is a new mentoring program to help women succeed in their chosen career by providing them easy access to mentors.

The first walk will start at 7.45am on Friday at North Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club and then be held every two months to give mentees a chance to meet and interact with different mentors.

Each mentor goes for a leisurely stroll along the foreshore with two or three mentees who have the chance to raise questions and have them answered.

The four Mercer employees are among a larger group from the Coniston based workplace taking part in an event drawing significant interest across the Illawarra region.

The appeal is the relaxing way it connects experienced executives with aspiring professional women in a scenic one hour walk.

Mercer leader Jo-Anne Bloch is one of a number of senior women in business, professional service, government, not-for-profit and tertiary sectors supporting the program.

The mentors and mentees from Mercer taking part said they looked forward to the experience on Friday. And being matched up in small groups when they arrive.

Over 30 mentors have signed on for the first walk. Mentees will be matched with a different mentor on every walk. And generally not from the same business.

“I decided to do it because I think it is a great concept and initiative,” Mrs Peiris said.

“It is a great way to partner with some inspiring professional women in the local area and hopefully be able to impart some knowledge and advice.”

Ms Potter said she had worked most of her career in Sydney so this was a chance to get to meet more businesswomen and broaden her network in the Illawarra.

“It is an exciting opportunity,” she said.

Ms Weston said she was new to management and would use the opportunity to soak everything up like a sponge from the senior businesswomen involved in the program.

“I want to learn as much as I can from anyone who will share it,” she said. 

Mrs Whiteside said as a people and culture leader she was keen to see Mercer help deploy such a beneficial exercise for businesswomen in the Illawarra.

“With Mercer being such a big employer in the region (with 560 employees) it is good we are supporting and advocating the support of females in the workplace through providing them with networking skills, experience and confidence to succeed.”

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