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Lucy Mentoring Program launched for 2012

01 Jun 2012

More than 140 aspiring and inspirational businesswomen met at Westpac's Corporate Head office in Sydney's CBD this week for the launch of the 2012 Lucy Mentoring Program.

The evening marked the commencement of the ninth year of the Lucy Mentoring Program, an initiative which establishes a formal mentoring relationship between leading female business executives and young women studying business, economics, finance, accounting and law. With a total of 230 Lucy Program graduates to date, the University of Sydney Business School remains strongly committed to supporting the Lucy program.

After initial introductions, the students and their mentors discussed their individual expectations of the program before arranging initial meetings.  Prior to their graduation in September, the Lucy inductees will spend 35 hours of work based activity in their mentor's workplace.

The group was given the opportunity to hear from Jane Counsel, Head of Diversity and Flexibility at Westpac, who spoke of the value of mentoring to career enhancement for young women in the business, and expressed her hopes that both the mentors and mentees benefited greatly from the experience.

Cynthia Payne, CEO of SummitCare and a passionate advocate of the Lucy Mentoring program, reflected on her experiences as a mentor and stressed the importance of open and honest dialogue in ensuring that the students can learn from their mentors' knowledge and experiences. She spoke fondly of the remarkable success of the program to date, which has now been extended to include seven universities.

"The Lucy Mentoring program is the first formal network you are part of and the Lucy Mentoring alumnus is very powerful. You will be surprised how often your paths will cross with each others' in the future," Cynthia said.  "I hope you come to understand the profound value of what it is to network, and that the mentoring experience can help you to unravel which direction your career will lead."

The mentoring experience is an evolving process, said Payne, and can be extremely rewarding for mentors as they derive personal reward from seeing students progress and grow in personal confidence and professional identity.

Business School student, Melanie Nasser, spoke on behalf of the University of Sydney students. In her rousing speech, she spoke of the instability and hardship she had faced in her younger years and her heartfelt gratitude for being accepted into the Lucy program, where she will be able to learn from the wisdom and guidance of an accomplished careerwoman.

"It is an opportunity I embrace with enthusiasm," she said. "This exposure will hopefully give my career path direction and provide me with knowledge and insights that will be of a significant advantage when I graduate. But most importantly, the friendships and networking connections made along the way will be invaluable."

Jane Counsel reiterated the importance of mentoring in the development of the leaders of tomorrow, concluding in the words of John Crosby: "Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen and a push in the right direction."