As the country’s peak water safety and rescue organisation, Surf Life Saving Australia’s mission is built on saving lives, creating great Australians and building better communities. This mission is further supported by their impressive commitment to fostering talent and community within the organisation. Last Tuesday SLSA launched their Women’s Mentoring Program which is now in its fifth year and is once again supported and sponsored by the expertise of McCarthy Mentoring. 40 women are matched in 20 pairs representing roles across all club levels, including state and national. SLSA’s five-year investment in a women’s mentoring program has resulting groundswell of improved confidence and courage, better levels of engagement at all levels of the organisation, and has impacted all aspects of the participants private and professional lives.
Surf Life Saving Australia’s CEO Adam Weir spoke at the launch event last week, as did President John Baker, Program Donor Kerryn Briody and Chair of the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Suzanne Storrie who is the program’s champion and sponsor, as well as its co-founder. All expressed gratitude towards McCarthy Mentoring as a key supporter of the program’s training and provider of some physical resources including our popular one2one cards. We look forward to our fifth year of delivering expertise to this 12-month program.
Surf Life Saving Australia have committed to gender equity in leadership at all levels, and are leveraging this mentoring program as one of the ways it is lifting the representation of women in the organisation from around 20% to more than 40% by 2030. It was gratifying to learn that SA’s Brighton club has a new President, Katrina Meehan, is the first female president in the club’s 80 year history.
But gender equity is just one of the metrics in SLSA’s diversity and inclusion objectives. The investment in younger and emerging talent is paying off as the mentoring program reaps benefits and past mentees are now returning to the program to pay it forward as mentors. McCarthy Mentoring looks forward to a long and continuing association with this Surf Life Saving Australia, and to witnessing the benefits of the mentoring in the leadership pipeline, the diversity of perspectives contributing across all organisational levels and as SLSA prepares to face the challenges of the future.
What mentees had to say:
“I really appreciated the carefully thought-out matchups. From our first meet-up, I found it so easy to identify with my mentor. Hearing of her experiences, I felt her journey within youth development and education could have mirrored my goals and future experience within SLS. This excited me and gave me direction towards my goals within SLS.”
“I think purely having someone to discuss situations or issues with has been amazing. Having someone who understands Surf, but who does not have their own agenda or anything to benefit directly from this, but who gives their full confidence in someone they have never met is extremely powerful! (My mentor) has given me the time to discuss things, suggestions from her own experience, and built my self-confidence. To be part of the first National program of selected applications is extremely exciting and motivating, and I feel very privileged to have had this opportunity.”
“The connections that I made, but also the support it provided. It made me think beyond surf life saving into other areas of my life and has supported me to be a better person. I am much more realistic and efficient with my time after completing this program. My critical thinking has improved
and I am better able to process my emotions. Tapping into successful women from all walks of life around Australia was an honour that I certainly feel privileged to be a part of.”
“Feeling a part of a community, having support consistently from my mentor & hearing about other women’s lives has been enriching.”
You may also like to read our ‘Sisters of Surf’ article published in the Womens Weekly in February 2023 and Surf Life Saving Australia’s Empowering Women in Surf Lifesaving: Cohort 5 of the Women’s Mentoring Program Announced.