Tuesday, 24 March 2009, saw the launch of the Women’s Property Network (WPN) pilot of the mentorship programme by National Chair of WPN, Ipeleng Mkhari, and Lynette Ntuli, National Executive Member of WPN responsible for the Mentorship Portfolio. The pilot essentially heralds the transferal of skills and accelerates empowerment to women in the commercial and industrial property industry in South Africa.
The mentorship programme has been conceptualised out of the evidence that there are very few senior women in the commercial property industry encouraging young women to enter the industry and assisting them to fast track their personal development and careers. The programme therefore aims to empower and affirm WPN members by training and guiding suitable mentors, identifying suitable mentees and exposing them to senior leaders in the property sector.
Sponsors of the pilot, Old Mutual Investment Group Property Investments, are hopeful that the initiative will attract a diverse group of both female and male mentors from various industries as well as dynamic mentees who wish to grow in the commercial property industry.
“Mentoring relationships are a significant factor in succession planning, career development and skills development as well as adding value to the transformation process – all key development areas for the commercial property environment and the women involved in it,” says Amelia Beattie, Chief Operating Officer of Old Mutual Property Investments and recipient of WPN Five-Star Woman Award.
The pilot programme which is being facilitated by Yvonne Finch of Yvonne Finch Consulting, who is renowned in the area of women and business, will involve the following, explains Mkhari: “Following the successful matching of mentors and mentees, the process will necessitate the continual coaching of all the role players and stakeholders in the programme, and enable involved organisations and individuals to integrate the mentorship process and its outcomes into their own environments through human resource processes – which include training and development, employment equity and leadership or career development programmes so that a programme legacy is created for both individual and organization.”
A workshop, which followed the launch, explored the relationship and difference between mentoring and coaching, the value and benefits of mentoring and the potential challenges that could arise out of the process. Finch took the delegates through some interesting case studies and role-plays, which sparked healthy and diverse comment. It was well received and the active and meaningful participation thoroughly enjoyed by the prospective mentors and mentees present.
With Finch firmly in control of the process, she will evaluate the responses received from prospective mentors and mentees, conduct a personality profile on each to ensure appropriate matching and then formalize each mentorship with an agreement signed by each party. The process and relationship will then be closely monitored and feedback given to WPN and relevant stakeholders. The intention is to launch the mentorship programme in Durban and Cape Town in due course.
Issued Jointly by Women’s Property Network and Old Mutual Investment Group Property Investments.