Sunday, 4 December 2022

Want to try me on as a mentor in 2023?

One of the absolute best things I did in 2020, in the height of  the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic in Aotearoa, was open up an opportunity for people to try me on as a mentor.

I took on three people; one was a so-so relationship for both of us, I think; two were just fantastic, and I got to be part of the working lives of two women who I massively admire and from whom I learned so much.

I'm now just about 3 years deep in my current role and have found my footing (knock on wood). So I think I have the capacity in 2023 to work with 2, maybe 3 new people. 

How this works

I'm going to take the same approach as I did last time. Further down this post is a link to a short form for people who are interested in this opportunity to fill out. From those applications (last time I got nearly 60, which just blew me away) I'll pick about 4-5 people to have an initial meeting with (in-person or online). This is a chance to get to know each other a bit, and see if we fit at this point in each of our working lives. Afterwards, we'll decide together whether there's value in continuing to meet longer term. I'm envisioning mentoring relationships that last between 1 and 2 years.

Who I work best for

The areas where I know I can offer the most value are:
  • Transitioning into a leadership role
  • Adjusting to people management roles (either when you're new, or working through something like a looming restructure / change of leadership)
  • Adjusting to working with a board
  • Taking care of yourself as a leader / people manager
  • Working with a board 
The public cultural sector is my home base and site of most experience, and I know I'm of most service to  people who are in that zone. I will be upfront and say I respond best to optimistic, proactive people who are looking to grow. I know from past experience that I'm not good for people who are feeling lost or dismayed in their careers. That kind of career period needs something more like career coaching, and that's not my skillset. 

How to apply

If you're interested, please fill out the short form below by 22 January 2022. I'll review applications (please let there be applications this time!!) over the summer break, write back to everyone at the end of January, and set up those initial meetings for the start of February (depending on people's availability).

Expression of interest form

In the spirit of disclosure, one of the things a fantastic mentor once advised me to do to take care of myself  was to carve out time at work to do things I find restorative and joyful. As an endlessly curious person, immersing myself in people's professional lives and ambitions is one of my happiest things. So, if this is an opportunity you're interested in, know you're doing me a favour by pursuing it.

An extra, please read with care

When I was 32, I was widowed when my husband committed suicide. That was a long time ago, and it feels like another lifetime - or even someone else's life. While I won't give advice to people about mental health, what I will always make time for is supporting people who are grieving and returning to work, or whose job is to manage a person who's going through this. I can't provide professional support but I can share my experience, what I found I needed, what surprised me. Please don't use that form to approach me for this - but do reach out if you need to, I'm pretty easy to find.

About me

Oh, also! If you don't know who I am: I'm Courtney Johnston, Tumu Whakarae | Chief Executive of Te Papa. You can read a bit about my background & experience in this profile by Nikki Macdonald (from when I was appointed in 2019) or this 2022 interview with Duncan Greive on his epic podcast, The Fold.

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