Pay It Forward Mentorship Programme: Guiding and Inspiring the Younger Generation of Girls (Part 1)

Continuing our interview series with the Community Engagement (CE) team, we hear from three groups of women — different perspectives from the co-lead, partner, and mentor-mentee pairs — from the Pay It Forward (PIF) Mentorship Programme. The PIF Mentorship Programme is a six-month long programme for YWLC members to pay it forward by being mentors to younger generations of girls, providing guidance to them in navigating through studies, careers and life.

Read on to hear about the different perspectives shared by women who have contributed to past and current runs of the PIF Mentorship Programme!

In this first part of the PIF interview series, we have Lim Cheng Hui, PIF Mentorship Programme 2020 Co-Lead and her 2019 PIF mentee, Go Cheng Yan, to share with us more about their (How they are involved in PIF).

As the Programme Co-Lead for this year, how has preparing for this virtual edition been especially different, or interesting during this COVID period?

Lim Cheng Hui: This year, we kicked off the programme virtually for the first time. This proved challenging as mentors and mentees typically pick each other after a few rounds of “speed dating”. Conducting this online meant that it was harder for mentors and mentees to get a better understanding over who they had more chemistry with.

To overcome this, we circulated information like mentor profiles much earlier. We also had to ensure that we had the mechanisms in place to uphold the quality of mentor-mentee relationships virtually, such as having more frequent check-ins.

As all sessions are currently conducted virtually, we had to do additional preparation to reduce technical glitches. This included multiple dry-runs to figure out the basics such as how to set breakout rooms on Zoom.

For every seamless delivery of a virtual workshop, there is actually a lot of thought, hours, back-up plans, and coordination put in. Despite this, it is very heartening to see everyone in the organising committee caring so much and being so invested in the experience of both mentors and mentees in the PIF Mentorship Programme!

What attracted you to lead the PIF Mentorship Programme, and what has been the most rewarding experience for you being in the organising team over the last three years?

Lim Cheng Hui: Knowing that this programme had played a part in shaping the lives of young tertiary women just in six months is a privilege and a very rewarding opportunity.

We usually build mentor-mentee relationships in the workplace or during college, by gravitating towards people of similar age group, career or personal interests. But with this programme, we are essentially bringing two groups of women, who probably would not have crossed paths otherwise. The potential for change, impact and magic to happen from a programme like this keeps me coming back year after year.

What made you join the PIF Mentorship Programme?

Lim Cheng Hui: Having had the chance to be mentored through the YWLC Mentorship Programme, I realised that those were opportunities that were not necessarily accessible to others.

I joined the PIF Mentorship Programme because I enjoy being part of the journey of one’s career and personal development, and I wanted to give back in ways that I knew I could best contribute.

Go Cheng Yan: I first learned about the programme at 2018’s International Women’s Forum (IWF) EduGrant event and I noticed that the young women surrounding me were very different from my peers in University. They presented themselves in a very confident manner and everyone had so much to share with me.

By joining the PIF Mentorship Programme, I wanted to receive the positive influence from the mentor and see how I could grow from the programme. The programme was timely and very aligned to the help I needed as I was in senior year of University and about to kickstart my career in the society.

How has the mentorship experience shaped and impacted you?

Lim Cheng Hui: Interaction with my mentee has often given me perspective of the bigger things that matter. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and be lost in one’s career pursuits, but my mentee keeps me grounded and in many ways, reminds me about the importance of humanity and care for others. Her courage, boldness and fierce determination in her personal and career pursuits, despite just joining the workplace, deeply inspire me.

Go Cheng Yan: It brought a new perspective in my career decision-making process. Now I have a better idea on how to present myself and I found that it is important to learn early. As I am still starting out in my career, this is an essential skill for the next interview I go for, and for planning the next steps in my career.

Want to find out more from another mentor-mentee pair? Read Part 2 here!

If you would like to volunteer with the Community Engagement subcommittee, please contact us here. Stay tuned to our social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) for more information on volunteering opportunities.

Please note that only YWLC members can take part in CE activities. If you would like to volunteer with us but are not a member yet, you can sign up to be a member here or find out more about membership here.

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