Executive development for property leaders

Applications are now open for the UDIA NSW Executive Mentoring Program for leaders working in the property sector. Managed by McCarthy Mentoring the program offers talented industry specialists a unique professional development opportunity to work one2one with an experienced executive. Mentors will draw on their experience in business and as company directors in the sector to provide confidential advice and support. Participants will also be invited to exclusive networking events with program alumni and peers.

Research shows that mentoring is a strategic way for organisations to engage, retain and develop talented people. It also helps to manage succession planning, increase cross-organisation and industry communication, broaden networks as well as develop a culture of mentoring within the urban development industry.

The UDIA NSW Executive Mentoring Program is specifically designed to assist with:

  • Talent retention – recognise and engage high performing employees
  • Executive development – strengthening leadership capabilities

For the participants, the 12 month mentoring program offers:

  • Chance for reflection and clarity around professional and personal goals
  • one-to-one support and advice from some of the industry’s most respected leaders
  • Support to gain further confidence and become more effective leaders
  • Insights into effective stakeholder management and communication
  • Chance for reflection and clarity around professional and personal goals
  • Expanded professional networks and increased industry profile
  • Exclusive access to events with current participants and program alumni


Applications close Monday 12th September. Full details and applications forms are available here.

Who should apply

Talented professionals who are currently employed at a member organisation with 10 -15 years industry experience, a track record of achievement and the aspiration to be a future leader in the sector.


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How mentoring delivers leadership diversity

If you plan to be a leading organisation in 2017 with diversity of thinking at the executive level and a strong pipeline for growth, now is the time to implement change to make it happen.

The research is clear. The business case has been made. Yet according to the latest research by EY Australia, only 20% of companies reviewed have set up structured programs to increase numbers of women at the top.

Mentoring is one of the strategies that can change the figures and drive cultural change. Effective programs successfully retain and develop talented aspiring female leaders.

For example, 67% of women in a formal mentoring program at a top tier law firm were promoted to partner. 63% at an ASX listed company on a gender diversity mentoring program for senior women were promoted.[1] While the NRL has seen a substantial shift in numbers of female staff and team executives through its mentoring initiatives.

The latest Harvard Business Review report on programs to boost diversity in the workplace also sites mentoring as one of the top initiatives that can strengthen the pipeline. It says the programs that work don’t ‘teach or train’ but engage. They get active involvement from the top and encourage social accountability to be part of the solution.

Mentoring works because it allows emerging leaders to test ideas, gain fresh perspectives and seek experienced counsel on leadership, career and performance.  It helps promote women by boosting confidence, exposing emerging talented to senior executives and encouraging them to take risks with their careers and responsibility for their own progression.

Jetstar’s Chief Pilot Captain Georgina Sutton – only the second female chief pilot in the world – was selected for a mentoring program in her role as a senior Qantas Captain and says her mentor was invaluable in increasing her confidence and providing honest, candid advice to help her progress. She now strongly advocates the support of programs for women to enter leadership, particularly if they haven’t envisaged it for themselves.

Another senior manager on our program agreed, “mentoring gave me the courage and confidence to challenge the status quo and take risks and achieve beyond my wildest dreams”

They are not alone. Many business leaders, including our female mentors now sitting on some of Australia’s top company’s executive and board tables, advocate the value of mentoring to get ahead.

For maximum impact, a structured program with careful planning, good design and clarity of purpose is recommended.

In our experience, the program should be positioned as an initiative to support talented female participants. It should be championed from the top, matches carefully considered and clear parameters set to encourage engagement and commitment.

Formally connecting the mentee/mentor can also be an important part of its success. Women are statistically less inclined to approach potential mentors on their own and the recent Harvard Business Review’s research report suggests male executives feel uncomfortable reaching out informally to young women, yet are eager to mentor formally assigned protégés, whoever they may be.

In addition, connecting select women with experienced mentors within a program not only demonstrates the value the organisation places on them but validates the importance of focusing on their own career progression. It also creates a professional relationship that adds accountability and the required commitment to learn and grow.

Of course, other factors such as sponsorship, cultural change, increased flexibility and unconscious bias are all important parts of long term change.

Mentoring is certainly not the only solution but it can be an effective, cost-effective piece of the puzzle. It’s great to see all the discussions taking place but the figures make it clear we need to take action and implement the right initiatives to make it happen.

Don’t just hope it happens organically. It won’t.

 1] Results from McCarthy Mentoring Emerging Leader 12 month programs

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Invest in leadership development to hit org targets

A major two-year study urges organisations to invest in future leaders, particularly frontline leaders, to improve workplace performance and innovation. The report found 40% of companies are not hitting key performance targets due to under-investment in the next generation of leaders alongside concerns that local executives are relying too much on gut instinct to make decisions.

Effective mentoring allows emerging leaders to test ideas and gain a fresh, experienced perspective on leadership, management and performance.

In our recent NextGen Mentoring programs 75% of participants said their overall performance had improved, 73% improved influencing and negotiating skills, 85% are making better decisions while 84% of CEOs in a recent HBR study stated mentoring had made them more proficient in their roles faster.

Read the key findings from the 2016 Study of Australian Leadership by the University of Melbourne and Centre for Workplace Leadership.

It is the largest ever survey of leadership in Australia. SAL surveyed almost 8,000 individuals across 2,703 organisations and 2,561 workplaces. Respondents included senior leaders (such as CEOs), workplace leaders and specialists (such as HR managers), frontline leaders and employees

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Make it happen because no one goes to bed at night worrying about your career.

I spend a lot of my week listening to people discuss their careers & lives: their first job, the path travelled to their current role, what they like about it, what’s challenging and what’s next?

This year we have worked with barristers, farmers, retailers, lawyers, engineers, and executives from organisations in the performing arts, museums, finance, construction, insurance, mental health and aged care. I love listening to people’s stories and the choices they have made along the way.

It’s safe to say that the people I meet in these programs are top of the pops and future leaders of our nation’s key institutions and corporations. They are well educated, hardworking and have leadership ambitions. Some are pure genius, terrifyingly charismatic and have leader in their DNA, but that’s about 5% of them.

The rest are focused and committed people trying to do big jobs – lead large teams, bring about change and keep their own lives, health and families on track. They seek mentors for inspiration, accountability and support to define and meet their own professional goals. They are looking for tips on how to progress their careers, manage challenging people and situations, and stay focused on the organisation’s vision.

The thing that strikes me about most of us, and the chosen emerging leaders in this group, is that we spend quite a lot of time worrying about our careers, but not much time doing anything useful to improve them. I guess career planning can fall into the same category as diets and exercise, we all dream about that magic pill that enables you to run a marathon without much training or lose weight without changing our diet.

So, here’s my tip: no one goes to bed at night worrying about your career. Your boss is rarely planning your overseas post to Paris with a bonus, the tap on the shoulder for that board role only happens to the same 50 people in Australia and that start up selling green suede stilettos will not get investment until you ask for it.

You need to make these things happen and there are plenty of people willing to help once you ask, including your boss, mentors, or people from your broader network, but they are not mind readers and may not know that you are desperate to move to digital marketing when you have been in finance for ten years. I know we can all get overwhelmed by the apparent brilliance of other people’s careers and lives, but we all have choices and when you break things down into smaller goals, they become achievable.

Four years ago I bought this business and started to run in half marathons. Possibly they were connected. Both involved serious anguish, self-doubt and too much introspection for months leading up to the event or the decision to buy the business, but once I passed that threshold, it was fun and exciting. I realise now that once you commit to your plan and say it aloud you just get on with it, people support you. With the business I set goals, sought a lot of advice, got myself a mentor, actually three and the results have been positive. We have a terrific team, have moved premises to the city, exceeded our financial targets and built an online platform one2one to support our programs.

Perhaps the running has followed a similar pattern. Five years ago I trained for a 9km fun run with a few friends, terrified that I wouldn’t be able to finish. It’s hilarious to think that anyone would care about that fact, but the fear of failure holds us back from doing lots of hard, challenging but sometimes fabulous things. I finished, sprinted to the finish line, and was hooked. I’ve since done 4 half marathons and am now training for the full 42km in November. I’m almost 48 so it’s definitely a mid-life crisis thing, but it gets me out of bed, stops me drinking too much and I love the physicality of running and the events. I enjoy the setting of these short term goals and planning to achieve them.

So have a go, make it happen and try just one of these ideas in the next week to kickstart your career. As my mum used to say ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen?’

  1. Set goals & make a plan. Ask yourself what you need to feel happy and successful? Do you want to be working in a different role in 12 months’ time? How can you make that happen? Make a plan.
  2. Get advice, seek mentors and ask for feedback. Do some preparation before you fling yourself on others, it will be a much more constructive meeting. Look for people who have the skills, experience, interest and time to assist you. Access programs in industry organisations, people in your own organisation or McCarthy Mentoring if you want access to experienced mentors with executive experience.
  3. Identify your strengths. What motivates you? What gives you energy? Are you currently in a role that uses your strengths? If not can you change or develop other skills?
  4. Expand your networks. Who in your workplace or industry knows you and would support you for a promotion? Do you have a profile outside your immediate business unit? Do you have sponsors or mentors in your organisation? Have you considered joining an industry or professional organisation? Identify 3 people you should meet to progress your career
  5. Communicate and share your goals, strengths and plans with your team, your partner, boss, mentor and network. You will be pleasantly surprised at the response.

Best wishes,

Sophie McCarthy

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Mental health leader wins scholarship

The Director of Programs for national charity SANE Australia has won the 2016 McCarthy Mentoring Not for Profit Executive Scholarship which seeks to support and inspire a leader in the sector and help them achieve their goals.

Sarah Coker, Director of Programs, has the responsibility to manage a diverse range of innovative activities to help improve the lives of Australian’s living with mental illness.  SANE Australia’s key focus is preventative health care and early intervention through support, training, and education.

“I am honoured and excited to be the recipient of the McCarthy Mentoring Scholarship for 2016. I believe my mentor will help me achieve my goals by providing a sounding board to talk through issues and obstacles that I am facing at work and by providing exposure to other ways of thinking and working. This is a wonderful opportunity for personal development and I hope it will also allow discussion of innovative ideas from an external perspective that may lead to opportunities for SANE to grow.” said Ms Coker.

McCarthy Mentoring received a significant number of applicants that demonstrated the high calibre of leadership in the not-for-profit sector. We would like to thank all applicants for expressing their interest and congratulate Sarah on winning our scholarship.

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