Updated: May 29, 2022
YWLC's Mentorship Programme is an exclusive opportunity for YWLC members to be mentored by some of Singapore's top women leaders over the span of 9 months. Interested in the prestigious YWLC Mentorship Programme but unsure of what the experience will be like? We invited Julia and Stacey, a mentor-mentee pair from the 2021 iteration of the Mentorship Programme to share their experiences and takeaways!
1. Share about your first meeting and your first impressions of each other.
Julia: “Energetic, engaging, enjoyable” is how I would characterise our first meeting. Stacey is friendly and really forthcoming, making it very easy for me as a mentor. Many mentees come to the meeting not knowing what to expect. Mentors, too. Openness is what makes a difference. Stacey was open from the get-go and didn’t hold back. This helped me get a good understanding of where she is at in her professional and personal life, and how we can journey together in this relationship.
Stacey: Undeniably, I was nervous about our first meeting. It was my first time meeting such a senior leader in a casual setting. I was daunted by my lack of experience compared to her wealth of knowledge. My nerves quickly dissipated because she was so friendly! I found myself extremely comfortable sharing the key challenges I faced in both professional and personal settings.
2. What was your biggest takeaway from this experience?
Julia: Connection. Stacey has such a big open heart and I feel really blessed to have her as a mentee. She is bubbly and thoughtful when sharing her experiences, thoughts and feelings. As a mentor, my role is to guide, listen and advise based on what Stacey believes she needs for herself. Once that’s established, I see my role as a cheerleader and navigator, encouraging her and highlighting things she may encounter later on. Knowing that I played a small role during this phase of Stacey’s life, journeying with her as she made some significant career decisions for herself, has made the mentoring journey fulfilling for me.
Stacey: I'm glad that through the mentorship program, I ended up with both a mentor and a friend. While we started off chatting more on the professional aspect of things, she is always mindful to check in on how I'm doing overall. I appreciate that she cares about both my personal and professional success. When I finally got an opportunity that I had been gunning for at work, she celebrated with me. I was so happy that she shared my excitement! Despite the mentorship program coming to an end, I know this is far from the end of our mentor-mentee journey together. I still have so much to learn from her!
3. Share something you would never have attempted or been exposed to if it wasn't for your mentor/mentee.
Julia: As Stacey has such a big personality and is always up for new experiences, I asked for her permission to be coached by me as part of the homework for a coaching course I was taking. Stacey was game enough to be my guinea pig and we had fun because she was open and willing to share. I got to practise and experience the impact of coaching on others. It was win-win for both of us.
Stacey: Being a mentor. I have generally stayed away from being a mentor as I have always felt that I had nothing to bring to the table. However, through my experiences, I've learnt that everyone always has something to bring to the table. Since speaking to Julia, I've participated in a mentorship program where I've been paired with a mentee from tertiary education. It's going well. On top of that, I'm fully aware that as I'm new to this, I will have so much to learn as a mentor. I look forward to growing this skill set and sharing my experiences with more ladies in the future.
4. Share about your most memorable experience together?
Julia: The coaching session we did together. It was memorable for me because I experienced first-hand the impact of how our conversation had benefited her and led to her self-discovery that otherwise may not have surfaced.
Stacey: We did the coaching session while strolling along the rail corridor at Bukit Timah. As we walked, I shared my situation and she probed with some thoughtful questions until I hit my "ah-ha" moment. We literally stopped in our tracks and just laughed at how ridiculous it all was. That lightbulb moment seemed so comical to me because I had spent days trying to solve this but I kept hitting roadblocks. Yet, being able to talk and bounce ideas off someone who is more experienced and equipped with a different perspective helped led me to my answer. Julia had only gone for 1-2 coaching classes but she had already successfully helped me through my challenge – I told her she didn't need to attend the rest of the classes as she was good to go.
5. What’s a piece of advice you would give to future mentor-mentee pairs?
Julia: Be open and intentional about the relationship to build trust and connection with each other. Without trust and connection, the relationship becomes transactional.
Stacey: Go in with an open mind – remember that everyone has a story to share.
Interested in participating in YWLC's Mentorship Programme 2022? Applications have been extended and closes on 8th June!
Apply here: https://bit.ly/ywlcmentorship22
Mentor: Julia Leong
Mentee: Min Hui Chua (Stacey)
Author: Jia Yi Lim
Editors: Rachel Leow