drinks trade associate editor Hannah Sparks is taking part in the inaugural drinks Mentoring Program. Here, she reports on the half-day leadership development module that kicked off the program in early May.
It was fascinating to attend the Serendis workshop, designed to provide participants with the tools and framework to prepare for the WID Mentoring program.
Launched by the drinks association's Women in drinks council, in partnership with Serendis Leadership Consulting, the drinks Mentoring Program supports emerging leaders within the industry towards the next stage of their careers.
Top executives selected from 10 companies including Coca-Cola Amatil, Carlton & United Breweries and McWilliam’s Family Winemakers will act as mentors for these women over the coming weeks, helping them to build key skills and the confidence to progress as leaders.
The aim is to decrease the gender gap at executive levels in the workplace, with men still representing a much bigger percentage in early management through to CEO level.
The latest statistics from the Federal Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency shows women make up just 27.4 per cent of management personnel across the nation.
Yet research shows organisations with greater diversity perform better from both a human and financial perspective.
Mentors too will develop new ways of thinking and inclusive behaviours through the program and by listening to their mentees.
The 2017 program has attracted 58 participants who will now drive the conversation on inclusion and diversity across the industry.
Mentees during the leadership development module highlighted some barriers to inclusion at executive levels. Among those mentioned were: not enough women putting their hands up for leadership roles; leaders within companies not being inclusive; women leaving to have children and returning to new team dynamics; and a lack of mentors.
Statistics show men receive more support through informal mentors and sponsors within their organisations than women and that a mentor can be the difference between a person being considered for a job.
This program will identify and fulfil the lack of mentorship for women and help participants grow an effective network across the industry.
Mentees also identified during the session that inclusion and diversity must also be front of mind for all leaders to drive organisational change. Leaders must switch from a mentality of sticking to what has been done in the past to taking the time to seek out a different perspective.
The program provides mentors and mentees with the following guidelines on how to lead inclusively:
1. Commitment to slow down thinking when it comes to judgement
2. Courage to give others the opportunity and provide an environment that allows them to fail
3. Transparency around decisions and processes affecting a team and broader business
4. Openness to invite and value different perspectives
5. Collaboration – seek contributions of others in a systematic way
6. Cultural intelligence – adapt behaviours appropriately
Mentors and mentees will meet around six to eight times until October when all participants will come together again for a panel discussion around the results of the program.
Below are two videos from the drinks Mentoring Program's cocktail kick-off:
Pictured: Hannah Sparks is congratulated by drinks CEO Sandra Przibilla on joining the inaugural drinks Mentoring Program.