Paying-it-forward: Murdoch University, women in leadership mentoring program

May 2019 saw the completion of our third Entry to the C-Suite® cohort. Two years in from our initial launch in September 2017, we are extremely proud of the accomplishments and progress made by our participants and sponsors thus far.

Each cohort has brought together a diverse group of women – high potential senior managers across multiple industries with vast experience and knowledge. And whilst their backgrounds have been unique, they have all shared a common objective: to achieve gender equity in their organisations and fields.

Having an impact on gender equity outcomes and Paying-it-forward are key elements of Entry to the C-Suite®.

The finale activity asks participants to consider how they will pay forward their learnings in order to have a positive impact in their organisation and community, and promote gender equity in WA.

Cohort 3 championed this challenge: a mentoring and leadership program in partnership with Murdoch University.

From a pool of bright Murdoch University students, seven female students from varying faculties were selected to engage in a unique experience: to shadow a Cohort 3 participant in their respective organisation for a day.

Students sat in on team and leadership meetings, wore high-vis gear and hardhats, saw functioning robots and experienced first-hand the endless possibilities that lay ahead of them.

As examples, in BHP Billiton, Murdoch student Jessica Haddad stayed in Port Hedland for an evening to have a full day onsite at the Nelson Point Operation.

In CBH, student Jade Fowler was led by Paula Shepherd and she saw first-hand CBH’s entire supply chain from grower to customer of CBH. She saw how the grain was processed, to its exportation from one of their dedicated port terminals in Fremantle.

Great feedback was received from the mentees. Each mentor, with the support of their organisations, went out of their way to provide a unique experience for each student. With the immense success of this mentoring program – and with an endless pool of eager femal students – we hope that this may become an established program of the future within Murdoch.

Entry to the C-Suite® program recap

  • Launched in September 2017
  • Engaged 22 different organisations, across over 15  different industries
  • 26 high potential female participants, so far, have been sponsored by a mix of both male and female sponsors
  • Fourth cohort commenced May 2019

Program highlights

  • Focus on sponsorship and career readiness
  • Cohorts of 6-7 organisations
  • 2 key streams: a participant stream for emerging female leaders and a sponsor stream for executive sponsors
  • 1 not-for-profit invited to participate at no cost
  • Events, networking and guest speakers sharing various industry knowledge and insight

Murdoch university students and their Entry to the C-Suite® mentors

  • Jessica Haddad (studying Law and Business) and Jessica Balasso (BHP)
  • Jade Fowler (studying Science & Veterinary Medicine) and Paula Shepherd (CBH)
  • Louise Dinnie (studying Law & Australian Indigenous Studies) and Nell Gillett (South32)
  • Shalini Vijeyaendra (studying Psychology) and Renita Almeida (Murdoch University)
  • Jaye Lee Snowden (studying Criminology and Psychology) and Rita Freijah (South Metropolitan Health)
  • Carmel Penny (studying Sociology) and Megan Kerr (Senses)
  • Sarah Smit (studying Journalism) and Rebecca Lewis (Woodside)