Today our Founder and CEO, Jéromine Alpe had the pleasure of interviewing Ravishankar Gundlapalli Ph.D., CEO of MentorCloud and mentorship expert. Ravi shares his personal journey, his vision to catalyse 100 million mentoring conversations by 2020 and explains how mentorship through intentional conversations is the future to shaping and developing a committed and highly engaged workforce. Learn why trusted iconic brands choose MentorCloud to solve the challenge of engaging and retaining talent and supporting employees across life transitions to return to work. For a free copy of Ravi’s book “The Art of Mentoring” and a demonstration of the MentorCloud platform reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CDP: Chiara, you founded the non-profit organisation Led By HER which focuses on creating a better world for women. Can you share the kind of impact Led by HER makes and what is involved in that process?
CC: Led By HER is a non-profit based in France that carries out advocacy and programs for women’s entrepreneurship and women’s rights. We have run a program to help women who have suffered from violence become entrepreneurs with courses and individual mentoring.
We created events such as hackathons to mobilise the community around women's entrepreneurship and participate regularly in events and conferences to raise awareness around the causes we believe in. We are now creating a platform to allow companies to help women entrepreneurs directly. This work that we have carried out on the ground over the years was very formative, it has given me new ideas and the willingness to do more. At this time it pushes me to advocate to try to change things on a new level through the visibility that I have gained.
It has provided me with new ideas and visions of what we can do that can make a big difference for women and now more and more I feel that it is my job to make those ideas heard. That is why I try to participate as much as I can in conferences, media and international dialogues, because I think that it is more important than ever to raise awareness around these issues.
CDP: The mentoring program facilitated by Led by HER has been a successful way to connect like-minded women across industry - how important is the mentoring process to empowering women for success both personally and professionally?
CC: At Led By HER we believe in a combined approach. It is important for women to have transversal networks and support each other in the form of a cohort. This gives you the support and understanding of people who have gone and are going through the same challenges as you and you can always learn enormously from your peers who have different skills than you do. Having collective courses is extremely important because we believe that personal evolution is also about learning new skills and tools that you can apply to new situations in order to reach new levels. Finally mentoring and coaching are also crucial in individual development because it is important to focus simultaneously on your own project. Sometimes we learn things but because of challenges and blockages we have difficulties applying them to ourselves and our own projects. That is where the mentor can help create that roadmap and set out the steps we need to get where we want to go. That is extremely helpful on the road to realising our dreams!
CDP: How has your personal and professional background influenced your decision to contribute to the community through Led by HER?
CC: I started my career working on maximising gender impact in investment projects at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Those years convinced me there was an incredible need for projects addressing specifically the advancement of women. I learned that gender equality was never just going to happen but that we needed to proactively create it. This experience made me eager to do just that, but I wanted to contribute in my own way. That is why I decided to create my own non-profit and advocate for the cause on the ground. Being close to the people you want to help also makes you see things differently and gives you new solutions to problems.
I used to think that impact was a big word and impact meant millions of people, that everything had to be big to matter. Actually Led By HER taught me the opposite. Impact is much more about doing small things in a big way. Impact is about the intention and magnitude with which you do every little thing-- and that is what will move mountains. I learned that you change a world one person at a time and each of those small revolutions will foster others.
CDP: Where to next for Led by HER? Can you share any new projects coming up?
CC: We are now extending our impact by creating a platform, FoundHERLab, built with Capgemini which allows companies to mobilise their employees to give probono skill-based volunteering to women entrepreneurs locally. We are now testing the beta and hope in the near future to launch worldwide. Companies can sign up as sponsors and set up the platform as part of their volunteer engagement program. The platform allows employees to be matched with women entrepreneurs locally who need their skills. We hope that the platform will allow companies to have a greater impact on changing the statistics for women entrepreneurs by concretely contributing to their success.
CDP: How can both women and men worldwide connect with the amazing work you are doing?
CC: Women entrepreneurs can definitely join our platform and companies can contact us to become supporting partners of the platform.
To always stay up to date, sign up to our newsletter on our website www.ledbyher.org
CDP: You have been at the Golden Door in both QLD and NSW, in the beautiful Hunter Valley, as General Manager for more than 10 years. During that time you have personally met tens of thousands of guests, many of them taking time out from very busy work lives. What is the primary reason people take time out to attend your 3, 5, 7 day programs?
People come to Golden Door for many reasons, however if we were to group them into some broad themes, these would be the key reasons;
o Time out/ rest
o Dealing with stress/anxiety/depression
o Kick start health and wellbeing behaviours
o Loss of a loved one, colleague, relationship, job
o At a cross roads in career or life
CDP: In 2014 the Golden Door introduced the Corporate Wellbeing Program. Why did you decide this was important for corporate Australia and how does it differ from other programs?
10 years ago we had the owners of a sports retail company send 52 of their staff to Golden Door over a 12 month period. It was a big investment by the owners and it delivered excellent results in terms of staff motivation, retention and personal wellbeing goals.
Based on this we decided to develop a more specific corporate wellbeing program for individuals and/or small teams which includes a wellbeing survey (optional) for baseline results, mindfulness training and wellness coaching. Corporate wellbeing guests can participate in seminars on nutrition, sleep, resilience, movement and behaviour change as well as participate in a range of mind/body classes. It is a one stop shop delivered by a professional team in a short space of time.
We know Corporate Australia is still driven by a culture of long hours and poor work/life balance, despite the evidence suggesting it hampers performance. The offsite immersive experience at Golden Door offers corporates a new perspective, enables better lifestyle choices and is the ideal setting to learn life-long tools for a more balanced life which can provide significant professional advantages.
CDP: What do you believe is the single greatest benefit for Leaders from experiencing an immersive program focusing on their wellbeing?
Getting offsite gives perspective. When you remove yourself from the regular grind, daily habits and influences you can start to see life through a new, clearer lens. Our aim is to break the burnout pattern and enable a new era of healthy sustainable leaders.
CDP: What is your recommendation for sustainability of wellbeing in work and life?
Sustainability is about building rituals and habits. Don’t rely on motivation alone.
Prioritise the most important things first…
Accountability. Work with a mentor or coach to keep yourself on track.
Writing down the changes you want to see. Making a written commitment or vision statement.
CDP: Do you mind sharing any feedback you have had from corporate leaders who have decided to embrace greater wellbeing and how this has benefitted them in their life and work?
“It is almost a week since I left Golden Door & I have not stopped thinking about the learning I now have. It's fair to say I arrived with some trepidation, after a mate suggested a five day corporate wellness package would be good for me. A little weird at first but I soon settled in and felt comfortable that it was OK to put myself first for a week. It really is excellent value for money when you consider all delicious meals, superior accommodation and some extras are covered. The quality of the program is exceptional as is the calibre of the staff.
I leave there as a changed person, noting that incremental changes in habit can make an incredible difference to my outlook, stress and wellbeing.”
Ocean Nourishment Corporation
“The Golden Door Corporate Wellness experience gave me the opportunity to regroup, rebalance and accept myself and my life. Giving my staff the same opportunity and experience was rewarding on many levels”.
Jenny Zeuschner – Founder and Creative Director of Vigorella
A group of 9 senior managers from Menzies Aviation participated in our 3 day Corporate Wellness program. 12 weeks after their stay, the team had sustained some fantastic results. We asked Menzies’ Regional Senior Vice President about its lasting effect on his team.
“Every member of the team describes their Golden Door retreat as a life-changing experience,” he told us. “The one-to-one session we had with the Golden Door team were particularly impactful.”
“Collectively, we have lost 62kgs in weight – with one member of the group alone losing 21kgs – and have made a range of lifestyle changes such as cutting down on coffee or alcohol, and improving our diet. As a team, we think a great deal more about health and wellbeing.”
If you would like learn more about wellbeing in the workplace for leaders, please click here.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency released a statement marking 31 August 2018 as Equal Pay Day. It marks the additional 62 days that women had to work to earn the same amount as men did on 30 June this year.
The pay gap is reported to be at its lowest in 20 years at 14.6% but there is still a long way to go to combat pay inequity Australia and worldwide. WGEA have provided some valuable resources and education assisting individuals and organisations to continue the conversation and action around pay equity.
Corporate Diversity Pathways is a proud Pay Equity Ambassador with WGEA.
Read the full article from WGEA here.
Corporate Diversity Pathways welcomes Allison O'Shea to the team as Associate Partner - Corporate Leadership and Wellbeing. At CDP, we believe that being able to share true and authentic stories with our clients and industry informs our WHY - why do we do what we do?
Allison O’Shea is a Non-Executive Company Director, Executive Coach and Associate Partner of Corporate Diversity Pathways who is passionate about leadership, performance and wellbeing for corporate clients and individuals.
“Always confront adversity with humour, grace and style and focus on your successes and rewards”
Allison tells her story!
I refer to my passion for corporate leadership and wellbeing as my “sixth career change” but in reality it is an amalgamation of many years of work and study in clinical and health law and business (finance, insurance and technology) along with a lifetime personal belief in the pillars of wellbeing: physical and mental health, emotional & social, financial and career. Looking after myself is not only for my benefit but the benefit of others in my work and life.
The rollercoaster of work and life took a sudden halt for me five years ago in what I refer to as my “Adversity to Wellbeing” awakening. It’s a long story I don’t mind sharing as it has so many important messages that many of us can relate to, either personally or those close to us. After a good friend’s wedding I jumped out of a cab and wandered across Bondi road into the path of a Vespa (yes! I was “jaywalking” and yes it was just a Vespa not a car or bus!). After a period of “touch and go” in intensive care, some brain surgery and a two month stint wheelchair bound in a rehabilitation unit I was released back onto the rollercoaster of work and life five months later. I was motivated, positive and extremely grateful life was back to “normal”. But life was different.
What did I learn?
So many things I wish I could share them all! But a few things really stood out for me. When I returned to my finance career after five months rehab, all of my clients (Senior Executives & Professionals, Board Directors, Business owners) wanted to talk about my personal story and share their own experiences of adversity rather than talk about their investments. Many of these clients had become good friends or acquaintances over the years and they had never shared their stories before but now felt they had an ally to share their experiences.
Adversity will impact all of us throughout life (either directly or indirectly) whether it be through an accident, ill health, work or personal stress, loss of loved ones or many other scenarios. The greatest lesson to learn is how to turn “Adversity to Wellbeing”. As an A-Type “Pollyanna” personality I admit I had a head start but it remained a challenge. From reading prolifically (being a health and science nerd) and speaking to experts about the best strategies I discovered the key strengths were:
i. Resilience: the ability to personally or professionally succeed despite adversity
ii. Positivity: allows us to discover and build new skills, knowledge and ways of being (this is my favourite and without it I believe the others are harder to develop)
iii. Motivation: initiates, guides and maintains goal orientated behaviours
iv. Determination: keep going and don’t give up.
In addition, I would add the following as essential traits:
a) Gratitude: don’t fail to recognise the opportunities for wisdom and growth that accompany adverse experiences
b) Humour: not always easy but certainly rewarding to see the other side of adversity, to be cheeky, to smile and to laugh
My Personal Motto:
“Always confront adversity with humour, grace and style and focus on your successes and rewards”
For those of you that find yourself questioning your why or wanting to understand how to be at your peak both personally and professionally, especially if you also have the responsibility for others as a carer or leader, I encourage you to learn, be inspired and be motivated to make the changes you and/or your organisation need to overcome any adversity and to Be Well.
My vision is that organisations and individuals take responsibility to ensure their wellbeing is one of their highest priorities as we know from growing research that everything else falls into place more easily providing success and rewards personally and professionally.
By Jeromine Alpe on August 4, 2018.
- The importance of the personal and professional support network.
- Coaching and Mentoring: differences between short and long time solutions.
- How necessary is it for your coach or mentor to understand your expectations or goals?
"WE STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT THE MOMENT YOU STOP LEARNING, YOU STOP GROWING"
Small business can be lonely if you don’t have a personal and professional support network around you. Seeking out a mentor or participating in some 1-on-1 coaching can be the difference between a good business and a great business.
A decision to invest in a coaching or mentoring program empowers individuals through deeper self-awareness of individual characteristics, competencies and values that underlie individual approaches to work, leadership, and interaction with others in the workplace.
Business owners who recognise the need for learning and a different perspective open themselves and their business to greater opportunities for success. The first step is to understand what the opportunity is and how to get there.
What is the difference between Coaching and Mentoring?
Studies show organisations with strong leadership are 13 times more likely to outperform their competition, and three times more likely to retain their most talented employees (Peter Berry Consulting). In small to medium businesses, strategies such as coaching and mentoring are vital to ensure success in the foundational stages of running an organisation.
Coaching can be a short term solution to focus on key issues a business owner might be facing; it’s performance driven. Coaching is task focussed working through strategies to identify challenges, seek opportunities and resolve any issues. However, coaching can often be misconceived as only a short term solution whereas it can have a lasting impact on business owners and the way they continue their business journey.
Mentoring is a longer term commitment focussed on developing the mentee holistically targeting both personal and professional qualities. Mentoring can be both formal and informal which can determine the lasting impact of the process. Business owners looking to create lasting connections with key industry leaders might benefit from a longer term mentoring program where they can gain insights specific to their business. If business owners are looking to operate a mentoring program within their organisation, they may want to consider customisable digital platforms that offer the opportunity for staff to connect.
Important things to note when choosing a mentor or coach.
Agree on your purpose
Are you both there for the right reasons? In a less formal mentoring program, the purpose may not be as defined as that of a rigorous coaching program. When first engaging a mentor or coach, ensure they understand your objectives and reasons for undertaking the program.
Ensure your values are aligned
That’s not to say you shouldn’t engage with people who do not have the same values or perspectives as you. Opening our mind to different viewpoints is a crucial part of becoming a dynamic entrepreneur or business owner. However, within a mentoring or coaching program, you may be looking for someone who is going to understand who you are and how your purpose aligns with your business. Seeking out someone you respect and admire for an initial chat can be a great way to begin the process.
Establish expectations early
This can be a simple question of logistics. Draft up a one-page document of what you expect from your mentor or coach. This can be a combination of the time commitment, agreed outcomes and desired learning topics. This may be more appropriate for a mentoring program as coaching programs tend to have more structure.
Coaching and mentoring can be an incredibly valuable experience for both new and experienced business owners. Equipping yourself with the knowledge and benefits of each program is important to suit the needs of the individual.
Corporate Diversity Pathways is a full service diversity and inclusion advisory focused on empowering women for diversity, happiness, inclusion and peak performance. We do this through Careers for Women, Executive Development Programs, Coaching for Peak Performance, Workplace Wellness, D+I Advisory and Action, D+I Leaders Network and The Power of Mentoring.