Participants in the inaugural Women in drinks Mentoring Program have described it as both life and career changing.
The program concluded last night with a cocktail celebration at Sydney's Luna Park, attended by mentors, mentees, the drinks association board and other guests.
Women in drinks Chair Jennifer Collins addressed the gathering (below), noting that the mission of WID was to educate, inspire and support the drinks industry to increase gender diversity and inclusion.
"I would like to congratulate and acknowledge all 58 participants for their commitment and courage," she said. "It is not easy as a mentee to be matched with someone you may not know and talk about your personal leadership and career pathway.
"For mentors, we acknowledge your courage in putting yourselves forward as trusted supporters of your mentees and as change agents for the drinks industry.
"Over the six months of the program, participants have engaged in debates on inclusion, diversity and leadership where they have been taken out of their comfort zone. We hope they will continue to build on all they have learned towards creating an inclusive culture in this sector.
"It has been an absolute privilege to work with our partner Serendis Leadership Consulting and as an industry with look forward to continuing to work with you to enhance and grow the program in future years."
HR representatives met before the cocktail celebration to discuss the benefits staff had gained from the program and noted that both mentors and mentees had found the program equally inspiring.
They revealed that many of the participants planned to continue the mentoring process beyond the official program, while one mentee had even invited her mentor to her upcoming wedding!
Feedback from participants
Among the most consistent feedback from mentees was how much value they found in the program's networking opportunities, the focus on personal development, and the tools for building resilience.
"This has been a great opportunity not only from a mentoring perspective but also to have the opportunity to network with peers," one wrote. "Taking time to invest in my own development and valuing the importance of this investment. I've realised that there are lots of other people at high levels with the same insecurities as me and it's given me greater insight and confidence.
Meanwhile, mentors universally praised the objectives and structure of the program.
"My mentee has been great to work with and I just hope she's getting some value out of it," one noted. "I'm certainly enjoying the opportunity."
The drinks association is currently looking at launching the Women in drinks Mentoring Program 2018 in May, in both Sydney and Melbourne.
For more information, please contact drinks association CEO Georgia Lennon on email@example.com or Program Director Bianca Havas on firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some photographs from last night: