By Lisa Calautti
When marketing manager Emma Tune MIML decided to seek a mentor, IML ANZ teamed her up with business advisor Sarah Hunter FIML. It turned out to be the perfect match.
Why did you decide to join the Member Exchange program?
Sarah Hunter: Mentoring is something I do quite a bit anyway. It is definitely a giving back exercise. I enjoy helping people who are at an earlier career stage to jump ahead – you think of all the things you know now, that you wish you had known 10 or 20 years ago.
Emma Tune: I have always been fortunate in having managers and colleagues who have been generous in sharing their time, knowledge and skills with me. But I didn’t have anyone within the business who had a marketing background. Things have changed so much in marketing in the time I have been in my role, so I sought the opportunity to learn from someone with that background and experience.
How would you describe the experience of being part of Member Exchange?
SH: Very good. In fact, at our first meeting we were quite overcome by how well matched we had been. We just clicked right from the beginning and it was clear that what Emma needed, and what I had, were extremely well aligned.
ET: We were so well matched. There were so many similarities in my role and Sarah’s experience. We talked the same language.
What did you gain from the program?
SH: A bit of clarity of thought. I had to put myself in some circumstances and try not to see things from my perspective or through my own lens. That wasn’t too hard because I was not making decisions, setting direction or giving instructions; just listening and offering reading material or an avenue to follow, then letting Emma do it herself. I had the satisfaction of seeing someone grow and develop, knowing some of the things I had put in front of her were helping her do that.
ET: Sarah was great at recommending resources and frameworks for the different situations and challenges that I had. We talked about many aspects of my role and having an outside perspective helped me to reframe the issues in many cases. Sarah was great at challenging my thinking in a constructive way. Overall I learned that in almost all cases it comes down to people and process. Having recommended resources to use also gave me something tangible I could work with.
One of the key areas that kept coming up was the importance of people management. In my head I already knew this but, through our discussions, I realised there is so much more to it than just managing a team of people. In business it is important to manage relationships at all levels across the business. Another key learning was that seeing the business from an outside perspective makes you look at the bigger picture, which is so important, but hard when you get caught up in the busy day to day.
What motivated you to be involved in Member Exchange?
SH: Definitely giving back, and being someone who can help build confidence. Emma taught me that really everything is all about people. No matter what business, industry or stage of life, it all goes back to being about people.
ET: I enjoy learning from people and seeing different perspectives. It had been many years since I had taken part in a formal mentoring program and thought it was the right time for the stage I was at in my career.
Would you recommend the program to others?
SH: Yes, I recommend people get involved in mentoring as it is an opportunity to look at things in different ways. This program is a valuable part of the membership for IML ANZ. It has a really good point of difference in bringing together a huge cohort of diversity, experience and insight. Working with younger managers I can see through their eyes the challenges they are facing today, which are not always the same challenges I was facing at that career stage.
ET: Yes, just getting that outside perspective is invaluable. People who are mentors go into it because they want to share their knowledge and coach and help you. By being matched with someone who has experience in areas you identify with, you are set up to succeed straight away.
Find out more about Member Exchange
New Zealand: managersandleaders.co.nz/mentoring-program
This article originally appeared in the December 2019 print edition of Leadership Matters, IML ANZ’s exclusive Member’s magazine. For editorial suggestions and enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.