Launch of Mentorship Programme in Cape Town & Durban

Following the successful implementation of the pilot programme of the Women’s Property Network, Mentorship Programme in Gauteng in March, introductory sessions were held on Tuesday, 28 September and 6 October 2009 in Cape Town and Durban respectively.  Sanett Uys, National Executive Member of WPN and Chair of the Western Cape Region, and Kerry Bonafede, Strategy Executive for Old Mutual Investment Group Property Investments, welcomed the guests in the Cape, whilst Lynette Ntuli, National Executive Member of WPN responsible for the Mentorship Portfolio, and Umi Khan, OMIGPI’s Portfolio Manager, did the honors in Durban.  All four women espoused the characteristics of the programme, which 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, OMIGPI, 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 OMIGPI and recipient of the 2008 WPN Five-Star Woman Award.

 The 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 Ipeleng Mkhari, WPN Chair:  “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 organisation.”

Dates for workshops have been set for November in Cape Town and Durban, and these sessions will explore 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 will also take the delegates through some interesting case studies and role-plays, which will undoubtedly spark healthy and diverse comment.
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 formalise 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.  A mentee involved in the pilot programme in Gauteng has had the following to say about her experience:  “I have grown so much since the mentoring process started. I find it very helpful and would recommend it to anyone. I have realised that there are things that you can never think of unless you find someone who knows better and who is not involved in your day-to-day interactions.  The process is really rewarding. It is also a rather positive push to know that you have someone monitoring your progress in a good way, that makes you want to work hard and achieve more”.

Issued Jointly by Women’s Property Network and Old Mutual Investment Group Property Investments.