One2One Stories

“It was worth its weight in gold”

“I’m now more open to opportunities. I have greater confidence, have stronger relationships with key influencers and my staff and have become more outward facing -recognising the benefits of connections across industries.

“I’ve also achieved my career goal of stepping into a CEO role in a great organisation. The investment and experience has been worth its weight in gold.”

Giancorp Property Group CEO Glenn Collins and mentor and Non-Executive Director, Craig Wallace share their mentoring experience. 


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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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Why successful entrepreneur seeks mentor.

The vibrant Nicole Eckels, Co-Founder and Creative Director at Sapphire Group, Glasshouse Fragrances and Circa Home shares her story being mentored by one of Australia’s leading women, Geraldine Paton AO. Click here to read.

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Indigenous health leader wins scholarship

The CEO of Gurriny Yealamucka Aboriginal community-controlled health service has won the 2015 McCarthy Mentoring Not for Profit Executive Scholarship which seeks to support and inspire a leader in the sector and help them achieve their goals.

Suzanne Connolly-Andrews has led Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services in Yarrabah, Northern Queensland since 2012 following the transition from government to community-controlled management of the service.

With 70 staff, the majority of which are local Yarrabah residents, Connolly-Andrews oversees the provision of Primary Health Care and Wellbeing services including women and men’s health, child and maternal health, social emotional and wellbeing, home medication review and chronic disease management. The key focus is preventative health care and early intervention.

Within the past year the service has seen significant improvements in the health of the community such as 87% immunisation rate and has succeeded in meeting and exceeding national health targets as it embeds the new model.

“It has been an exciting yet challenging time so it’s wonderful to have been given this mentoring opportunity. It will be invaluable to have an advisor, outside of my community, to offer new perspectives and help me reflect and build on my leadership skills.”

McCarthy Mentoring’s Executive Director, Sophie McCarthy said that they were delighted to offer this scholarship to Ms Connolly-Andrews.

“Sue is a passionate, talented leader who is keen to gain insights from someone who has extensive executive experience and can act as a sounding board to test ideas, guide through challenges and build further confidence in her role,” said Sophie McCarthy.

“We see the difference mentoring can make in the corporate and government sector – both personally and for the organisations – so we wanted to extend these benefits to a leader facing tough challenges and high demands in the NFP sector.”

Ms Connolly-Andrews’ mentor, Marg O’Donnell AO, will draw on her experience as an executive, board director and advisor to the State and Federal Government to support Ms Connolly-Andrews in her role as a CEO and offer insights into leadership and board dynamics in a confidential, independent forum.

Marg O’Donnell AO is currently Chair of Breast Cancer Network of Australia and the Visiting Committee, Griffith University Law School. She has been the Director of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Division in the QLD Department of Justice and Attorney General and the Director-General of three QLD Government Departments including Aboriginal Affairs and the Office for Women.

McCarthy Mentoring received the highest number of applicants since launching the scholarship three years ago. The applications were from small to large social services, disability services, media, health, youth affairs and education organisations and demonstrated the high calibre of leadership in this sector.

“Yet, the executive face significant challenges and stress in creating sustainable funding models and responding to increasing stakeholder demand with limited resources while seeking to improve their own leadership and board management skills,” said Sophie McCarthy.

2013 scholarship winner, Karen Bevan received the scholarship for her work in advocacy for disadvantaged children and families at UnitingCare. Since then she has lead the submissions team on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, has become the CEO of Playgroups NSW and is the Vice President and a Non Executive Director of the NSW Council of Social Service.

2014 scholarship winner, Brett Macdonald is the Co-Founder and Executive Director for national charity, Dry July Foundation and a Director at Clear Heads International. Brett has been instrumental in Dry July’s year-on-year success and growth. It has collectively raised more than $15 million, helping support 37 cancer services across Australia and NZ.

Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services –

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Why do mentors mentor?

McCarthy Mentoring asked Richard Spencer, Director, Social Ventures Australia his thoughts on the value of mentoring, what he most enjoys about the experience and some of the common issues he is asked by mentees.


Value of mentoring?: One of the key challenges for leaders today is finding the time to step aside from the daily pressures and flurry of activity to reflect on the deeper issues confronting their organisations. It is often about the strategic direction of the organisation but increasingly their role as leaders in a rapidly changing environment.  Mentoring provides a wonderful opportunity to explore those challenges with a trusted experienced confidant.  It’s a conversation that can’t happen in the organisation – doubts, uncertainties and crazy ideas can all be explored to sift and sort options and possibilities.

Most enjoy? It’s enormously inspiring to see the quality of leadership In Australia and to work with talented committed individuals who continually strive to improve the impact of their organisations.  They have different strengths but share a willingness to explore new thinking and ideas.  The trust that develops opens up space for honest open debate about opportunities and challenges.  You never quite know where it will go but it often leads to fascinating insights and “aha” moments.

Most common issues asked? It’s fashionable to talk about “Disruptive technology” today but it’s real.  Thoughtful farsighted leaders know it and understand that current business models will need to be flexible and quickly adapt to a vastly different environment.  But ultimately this challenge is about people in the organisation – will they embrace these changes?  Leaders have a crucial role to play in creating a mindset of opportunity rather than a fear or defensiveness to change.


Richard has spent over 20 years as a Chief Executive in the not-for-profit sector. Most recently he was CEO of The Benevolent Society, Australia’s oldest charity founded in 1813.  Previous roles included CEO of Cerebral Palsy Alliance and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs in New York. He served as Executive Director of UNICEF Australia (United Nations Children’s Fund) in the late 1980s. Prior to that he worked as a corporate lawyer for Clayton Utz in Sydney and as a senior manager with Rio Tinto in London.  He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from Sydney University and a Masters degree in Professional Ethics from the University of New South Wales. Richard is currently a director of Social Ventures Australia and China Committee for Intercultural Education as well as Chair of Bonnyrigg Management.  He was recently a member of the Board of the NSW Commission of Audit and served on the Boards of the Community Council for Australia and GoodStart Early Learning.

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