Melissa Hardy AIMe, manager of corporate planning and implementation at Queensland Investment Corporation in Brisbane, was looking for a fresh perspective when she joined AIM’s mentoring program, Member Exchange, last year. Chad Renando AIMM, community manager of Ipswich City Council’s innovation hub, Fire Station 101, helped her to shift her career focus.
Why did you join AIM’s mentor program?
MELISSA HARDY: I was looking to get the most out of my AIM membership. I’ve done a lot of formal training and study, and am at a stage where I’m looking for more hands-on, practical experience and advice.
CHAD RENANDO: I was looking for opportunities to give back and also wanted to meet new leaders who wanted to make more of themselves because that can be very contagious. When you meet people who want to advance and learn something new, that energy tends to rub off on you.
The role of the mentor is to be able to offer advice, but you’re also learning as much from them as they are from you.
What is the value of a mentoring relationship?
MH: The experience definitely reinforced the value of the mentoring concept. It’s encouraged me to seek more opportunities to be mentored and also to share my experience with other people. With the mentoring process, you have to be willing to share authentically. If I wasn’t willing to tell Chad how I was really thinking and if he wasn’t willing to push me and keep asking questions, it wouldn’t have been as valuable.
CR: It exposes you to new ideas. The role of the mentor is to be able to offer advice, but you’re also learning as much from them as they are from you.
What did you learn from each other?
MH: Chad encouraged me to spend more time reflecting on where I’m at, what I enjoy doing, and the other areas in my life where I can pursue the things I’m passionate about. I think he calls it your ‘capital’. What are the other aspects of your capital, aside from your job, where you can focus and find fulfilment? That broadened my thinking, which is good.
CR: Melissa has a unique position within the finance industry, so it was interesting for me to be exposed to a different domain.