Bayside Business Network Mentoring Program helps Sandringham College

Bayside Business Network Mentoring Program

The Bayside Business Network has initiated a mentoring program with Sandringham Secondary College as part of their "putting back into the Community" programme. The initiator of this programme, Vicki Crowe, thought Bayside Business leaders could provide mentees on the cusp of moving from their secondary education into further study or the workplace, with a greater understanding and insight into the business world.

The programme will involve the mentors and mentees working in both a one-on-one capacity and also in group sessions where they will cover topics including Emotional Intelligence in the workplace, interviewing techniques, resume writing and career opportunities and advice. Vicki says, "I think it would have been great to have had an opportunity like this when I was leaving school." Vicki, who heads up the successful Women's luncheons at Bayside Business Network asked for volunteers for the mentoring program and was overwhelmed with the response.

The Campus Principal of Sandringham College's Senior Campus was also overwhelmed when the program was announced to students. Kim Stewart said, "It's a fabulous opportunity for our students, and selection has been very difficult. I have a waiting list of students who would also love to be involved."

Andrew Murrowood who assists Vicki Crowe in the program said, "Apart from our desire for community involvement there is an opportunity for business to provide work and work experience opportunities for our younger residents."

Bayside Business Network is fully supported by the Bayside Council providing networking opportunities for Bayside Business

We would like to ultimately expand the program but it has been an excellent start.

Bayside Business Women's Network Luncheons 2008:

March 18th - What's the Buzz - Speaker Buzz McCarthy on Eight Dynamics of an Outstanding Life
June 17th - Carolyn Creswell winner of 2007 young entrepreneur of the year
October 21st details soon...

Meet the Bayside Business Network Mentees

**Pictured Top Left to right: Laura Aridas, Mary-Ann Ley, Anna Combet
Bottom Left to right: Jane Allison & Megan McNeill

Laura Aridas

Mentor: Vicki Crowe - Managing Director
Company: Cannon Recruitment
Field: Human Resources

Interview with Laura Aridas

What are you studying this year?

Laura Aridas: I am doing international studies. English, Maths Methods, Literature, Media Video.

Where do you hope to go from here?

Laura Aridas: I'm thinking of taking a year off and traveling for a little bit. Thinking some where in Europe or Paris. I'd love to go to New York, that's one of the only places I want to go in America. I'd love to go there for a bit.

Any out of school hobbies?

Laura Aridas: I'm interested in sewing and fashion. I would consider being a fashion designer.

Do you have a part time or casual job?

Laura Aridas: I work part-time at a kids shoe store in Southland Shopping Centre.

Who are you paired with for the program?

Laura Aridas: Vikki Crowe.

What field is Vikki in and what's her position?

Laura Aridas: A recruitment agency. So she pairs staff with employees.

What do you hope to get out of participating in this program?

Laura Aridas: I think that she has a lot of background knowledge, in different industries as well as her own. Experiences in learning to work with big corporations and also interested in Journalism and film. Her sister was a journalist and is now an editor and her son is also working in that field. So she has a lot of connections.

What do you plan to do when you come back from your travels?

Laura Aridas: I will still apply at the end of this year for International Studies in Law or Journalism at Monash and then just defer for a year. I'll definitely go to University after the year, if not just go next year.

How is working with Vikki in her environment?

Laura Aridas: It's a lot more personal, one-on-one. More than teacher to student, you don't felt that subject to authority. It's more like talking to a friend about experiences. And just getting a bit of a helping hand. We've had a few meetings as a group with Vikki and Andrew. One of our meetings we had men from businesses in the area come and speak to us. We were able to ask them questions. They didn't end up being mentors but they wanted to help us out a little bit. Last session was the first time we had met our mentors. With exception to Nick, another student, and myself who are partnered with Vikki and Andrew. Vikki gave me her email address and said I could email her at any stage with questions. She's trying to organise when there's a day I can go and meet her sister and some of her journalist friends that have been working with some of the major papers, like The Australian and with her editing business.

How many of you are involved in the program?

Laura Aridas: Us five girls and three boys. The boys aren't involved in the lunches. Andrew is one of the mentors as well.

How did you get selected?

Laura Aridas: Internal process within the school. Kim Stewart our principle and Viv sat down and worked it out.

Did you have to apply?

Laura Aridas: No we didn't even know about it until we were asked if we wanted to participate. Asked if we were interested. We all said yes. We were also told it would be a trial. We didn't know what to expect.

Mary-Ann Ley:

Mentor: Kathy Papafotiou - Director
Company: Smart Learning
Field: Learning and Development

Interview with Mary-Ann Ley

What are you studying this year?

Mary-Ann Ley: English, Maths Methods, Business Management and National Culture

Where do you hope to go from here?

Mary-Ann Ley: To study Law, at Monash Clayton.

Any out of school hobbies?

Mary-Ann Ley: I go to Church on Sundays and I teach the children there so that takes up a lot of my time.

Do you have a part time or casual job?

Mary-Ann Ley: Yes. I work at Games World, we sell board games.

Who are you paired with for the program?

Mary-Ann Ley: Kathy Papafotiou from Smart Learning.

What do you hope to get out of participating in this program?

Mary-Ann Ley: Life experiences. A good direction of where to go and what decision to make and what happens after school.

Have you had a chance to work along side Kathy?

Mary-Ann Ley: I've met her once and that's it. She's really nice! Kathy did tell me that I could call her at any time and arrange a meeting. So I'm just going along with her and seeing what happens.

Have you spoken at all about what you plan to do together as a part of the mentor program?

Mary-Ann Ley: Not as yet.

When do you plan to go into their environment and experience it first hand?

Mary-Ann Ley: I'm not sure as of yet.

Are you looking forward to the events?

Mary-Ann Ley: Yes yes! They're really fun. Well the lunch that we had, that was really good.

What other things do you have planned?

Mary-Ann Ley: I think there are more lunches. We have big meetings with everyone and I think we are going to do personality tests as well.

Anna Combet

Mentor: Jo Baronessa - BDM
Company: Scope
Field: Employment

Interview with Anna Combet

What are you studying this year?

Anna Combet: I did German a year earlier last year at Sunday School. My Mum is German so I had a bit of a head start. And this year I am doing National Politics, Maths Methods, Media Print, Literature and Graphics. I am trying to keep it broad and keep my options open although my interests lay primarily in politics and journalism. I'd like to peruse that as a career later on.

Which specific field in journalism?

Anna Combet: Print or Radio. I'm not such a fan of television I've had my stab at community TV there is just to much work involved. It's so much easier to do radio where its just voice or print when it's primarily word. I'd like to do radio. Seems like something good to do.

Where do you hope to go from here?

Anna Combet: I'm going to apply at the end of this year. I am applying for an Arts degree at ANU in Canberra and I'm hoping that I can do political science at Canberra University too, so I go between the Universities and then get it credited by the ANU. If that doesn't work then I'll probably just pick something like Literature Language. I don't like uncertainty. I like knowing where I'm going. I'm going to take a year off and work, and save money as well. Save as much money as I can. I'm also looking at going to volunteer in East Timor, for three months next year. Which was one of my intentions of taking a year off, that I do an extended volunteer service. East Timor interests me more than anything else.

Why is that?

Anna Combet: Partly because one of the first political campaigns I remember my parents talking frequently about was East Timor. My stepmother, my Mums partner works in a kindergarten where she had a few refugees, in the community in Richmond. So often she would bring home tales of the horrors, which they survived. I have a great admiration for the country. I think that as a democracy they are an example to us all. I follow them, they are of great interest. Also at the time I wrote a letter to John Howard requesting that he send more troops and that he help them out. He wrote back. So it really inspired me that it was an interesting issue to follow up on. It's just personal persistence. I like East Timor, I think it's a great country with an interesting history.

Do you have a part time or casual job?

Anna Combet: I work at Safeway in the Deli. I do an 8-hour shift every Sunday, which is the only day too work.

Your Mentor, what field are they in and what's their position?

Anna Combet: She works with Scope the disability foundation and her role is, after her son was born with a physical disability, which he managed to overcome. She works quite frequently with him to achieve equal opportunity with him so his not discriminated against, in his workplace. And I find that very inspiring for both woman and a Mother to take on that extra responsibility. I think she has shown great strength. She is also looking at moving into politics, which of course is a great source of interest for me. So if she does, I will probably be her number one supporter. And if I can, I'd help her out with anything as a volunteer because I think people behind the scenes, which are predominately woman, do most of the hard work. It's a thankless task. But I think the woman behind the greatest politicians are much more admirable than some of the men.

What do you hope to get out of participating in this program?

Anna Combet: I was a little bit skeptical when I first walked into the program. I am surrounded by very strong woman, my mothers have a wide range of friends who they turn to for career advice as well as friends. And I look to those woman as well as role models. This is the first time that someone has actually approached me, someone external to my area of friends. I was a bit skeptical of what some one could offer me that I haven't already got access too. When I met Vikki and Andrew they were just so nice and unpretentious and they really hopeful the project to work out and that they could bring something to us. No one really had any idea of what was going on. To walk into that room and feel the anticipate, the excitement, and think this is really going to be something good. I think its something that will broaden my horizons. They have been speaking about not just limiting it to one school or one mentor. For example one of the other girls, Hannah, her mentor runs three shops all next to each other, an Art Gallery a Florist and a Coffee Shop, we've been told that if any of us need advice on any of those things, it's available to us. They don't want us to be just paired up with one person. They want the entire group with all of their expertise to be available. Which I think is fantastic, well no one, in regards to the adults is getting anything out of this. They all offer there time, not just to one person but the group of us. It is so amazingly kind. I've also been offered the opportunity to meet Julia Gillard who is a member of Parliament. She's running a business seminar in which Julia will be on of the speakers so I have requested, if its not too much of a bother, if I can go. I hope I can. I really admire her. It's a private function for Scope.

What is next for the program?

Anna Combet: There aren't any concrete plans yet apart from the next group meeting where I suspect we will talk as a group for a while and discuss our various elements of the program and if it's working. And go into pairs and continue discussions.

Jane Allison

Mentor: Leanne Wiebenga - Organisational Development Manager
Company: Southern Health
Field: Organisational Development (Behavioural Science,Culture, Change, Leadership, Team Development, Capability Development, Psychometic Team Profiling etc in any industry)

Interview with Jane Allison

What are you studying this year?

Jane Allison: Further Maths, English, Business Management and Accounting and a Certificate Three in Childrens Services.

Where do you hope to go from here?

Jane Allison: Hopefully finish up this year and work until May, then travel for a year, with my girlfriends all over Western Europe. Then look for a Nanny position. Lucky for me I have done some semi- nanny work before, where they flew me to Hamilton Island to look after their kids.

Any out of school hobbies?

Jane Allison: Sport, I play Netball, Basketball and Dancing.

Do you have a part time or casual job?

Jane Allison: I work at Bambini Early Learning Centre in Brighton, which is great as I have created friendships and a whole range of friends and different people. I also work at a shoe store in Church Street as well as the Newsagency in Church Street.

What do you hope to get out of participating in this program?

Jane Allison: Leanne is a real business woman she has gone down many paths. I hope to just learn from her experiences, it will be an opportunity to have an inside view of some of the business world she has gone through.

Have you had a chance to work alongside Leanne?

Jane Allison:Not yet, Leanne said she will take me in and through the health program she can take me to some Children Wards, that will be really good with my Children’s Course. Once I have the opportunity to go with her to her workplace it will be really worthwhile.

Do you think this opportunity to have a step head?

Jane Allison: Oh definitely! I have always been interested in creating my own business, owning my own child care centre, I now will gain some experience, from someone who is successful. I would just love to create my own Organic Child Care Centre, not for a long time, travelling will give me so many more options as well.... Yes this mentor program is great and it’s different because hardly anyone our age, in year 12, gets the opportunity to go to business lunches and be around successful woman that have gone out in society and made their mark. Many people go straight into University not knowing what they want to do, and here we have the opportunity of seeing so many careers and woman who have had such success.

Megan McNeill

Mentor: Lesley Hunter - Director
Company: Suburban Gallery
Field: Arts/Business

Interview with Megan McNeill

What are you studying this year?

Megan McNeill: English, Further Maths, Art, Visual Communications and Certificate Three in Clothes and Fashion.

Where do you hope to go from here?

Megan McNeill: Hopefully, I’d really like to get straight into University or Tafe. But I would mind taking the year, or the semester off and hopefully get into University in the second semester, just to get some money on the side.

Any out of school hobbies?

Megan McNeill: I love art, so drawing , painting and stuff.

Do you have a part time or casual job?

Megan McNeill: I work at a ceramic café in Hampton, called ‘All Fired Up’. It’s aimed at kids; paint your own pottery as well as kids parties. I love it!

What do you hope to get out of participating in this program?

Megan McNeill: Just an idea, because you always dream of having your own business. I don’t study business so this is an excellent way to learn, easier and it complements my learning. It’s more so the experience in doing it rather than learning from a textbook. You get the actual experience, and you learn what it’s like from a person who is rather successful. They are helping with everything and you may as well ask questions.

Have you had a chance to work alongside Lesley Hunter?

Megan McNeill: My first real meeting will be with Lesley next week. As she has been jet-setting, in Brisbane at Gallery Openings and she has just come back from Sydney.

Have you spoken at all about what you plan to do together as a part of the mentor program?

Megan McNeill:What she has is an extremely clever workstyle, and she is extremely happy. Her work environment seems very happy; as she owns three businesses I can do a variety of things going from one to the other. I also have café experience and she has a café.


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