by Emily Trent

As a long-standing member of Professionelle, I was delighted to learn of the launch of the new Professionelle Mentorship Programme. Targeted at early career women, the programme featured team-based mentoring where a small group of mentees spent a year with a senior career woman, meeting monthly to discuss a range of issues.  I was attracted to the team-based model of the programme that offered me the chance to learn from my network of peers alongside my mentor.

Three key aspects made this programme a success for me:

A different view

As mentees, we represented a diverse group in terms of industry, work experience, and personal life experiences.  This diversity meant robust discussion, challenging viewpoints, and new lenses for understanding and analysing issues. I benefited from insights into other workplaces, which broadened my thinking. It was also reassuring and encouraging that despite our differences, there were remarkable similarities in regards to our challenges, aspirations, and dreams.

A safe place

Our meetings were part mentorship, part support group, part catch-up with your besties. They remained a separate and protected space for me to walk away from the daily grind of the work world and reflect critically on what was going on, explore next steps, and address barriers. The format and commitment from all the women involved meant close personal bonds were formed, marked by high levels of trust.  We made ourselves vulnerable to one another, allowing us to quickly get right into meaningful discussion.

The whole woman

Many notable occurrences transpired during the year, both within the workplace as well as outside.  These significant aspects of our non-working lives such as new babies, new relationships, and new identities were fundamental in discussions of how to better achieve work-life balance, identify next career moves, and work through self-doubt.  Whereas past experiences I’ve had with mentorship or professional development have narrowed my experiences to just that of an employee, this holistic approach recognising the whole woman felt much more authentic.  I was armed with the breadth and depth of understanding to make the best decisions for myself.

The mentoring pay off

I recently earned a significant promotion at my workplace, and I can wholeheartedly attest to the fact that my experience with the Professionelle Mentorship Programme was instrumental in this success.  Along each stage of the process, from deciding to apply for the position through to negotiating the final terms of the contract, I drew on experiences and advice I had gleaned throughout the year.  I could feel the presence of my group along each step, cheering me on.

Ultimately, the programme supported me to go forward with a belief that I could do it, and that I was worth it.


Emily Trent specialises in managing the development and delivery of transformational visitor experiences in the arts and cultural sector.  As Gallery Renewal Project Manager at Auckland Museum, Emily is part of the team leading an ambitious programme of gallery revitalisation and capital works projects.  Contact her via her LinkedIn page.


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