Suicide prevention organisation, Roses in the Ocean’s General Manger Operation and Quality, Kathy Poulton, was the recipient of the 2020 McCarthy Mentoring Executive Scholarship, an annual six-month Executive Mentoring Program scholarship for executives in NFP and for-purpose organisations.
For Kathy, the scholarship came at a time when she had recently been promoted into the executive team, was bringing on new staff and it was the start of the pandemic. During this time, she and her team needed to quickly develop new resources, moving face-to-face workshops to virtual workshops. In addition to ensuring continuity of programs for communities, organisations and government bodies, the development of this new format created an opportunity for Roses in the Ocean to connect with more remote and regional locations.
With applications now being invited for the 2021 Executive Mentoring Program scholarship, we asked Kathy about her experience and the impact of the program.
How did the scholarship help you?
The program was rewarding both personally and professionally. I cannot recommend the value of having a mentor for leaders of a not-for-profit more highly. I have come so far in such a short time and am truly thankful for the opportunity, the support and the guidance. The knowledge and leadership skills I have gained have enabled me to be true to who I am while actively learning and growing in my role.
I developed better communication skills, expanded my perspective, took on my management role with more confidence as well as implemented new and improved ways of working with my team.
Was your mentor a good match?
My mentor, Managing Director Naomi White, was an ideal sounding board for new ideas and an expert guide on how to work more effectively and efficiently. Naomi helped me appreciate and understand my potential, grow my confidence and expand my skills and knowledge in a number of areas within my new role.
With her guidance, I was also able to develop my aspirations and goals which are challenging and bold. But the most important goal for me is to be an inspiring values driven leader for my team and my organisation.
Was it the right time for you?
It was perfect timing! I had just been promoted to a new role in executive management and was on-boarding new staff and training my successor. Naomi’s guidance and support during this time was key to my success.
Can you give an example of how you’ve applied the mentoring?
I gained valuable insights in managing conflict, not only from a regulatory perspective but also in terms of organisational outcomes and culture. I also learnt to back myself more and act more purposely when deciding on the best course of action in difficult situations.
The most challenging aspect of my mentoring was openly and honestly discussing my strengths and weaknesses, how to use these to develop and grow, and the impact they could have in shaping my future.
What’s the impact for Roses in the Ocean?
Improved leadership skills have made me more effective with my team. Improved processes developed from a better understanding of how to manage competing goals has not only allowed my team to help themselves and make decisions within their own roles, but they’ve given me the confidence to make clear informed decisions and communicate these clearly.
We also asked Kathy’s mentor, Naomi White, MD and Founder of Metamorph Co consultancy what she saw was the impact of the scholarship
Why do you think it was valuable?
Kathy has a very busy job so the mentoring was a chance for her to pause and reflect on the challenges she was facing and the opportunities ahead of her, so she could be more intentional about the way she led and operated. It was a chance for her to explore how to do her busy role in a more sustainable way, and in the process be even more effective and impactful.
What did you most enjoy about mentoring Kathy?
Kathy has been an absolute pleasure to work with. She is a high integrity, purpose driven person who was eager to learn and open to being challenged. ‘Roses in the Ocean’ does such great work in the world so it was also rewarding to be able to support her to be successful.
What did you see was the biggest impact?
Kathy’s level of confidence rose and she is now much more relaxed and in control. Some of the situations she previously found challenging are also no longer worrying her.
Mentoring is a safe space to discuss challenges, brainstorm solutions, and explore alternative ways of leading and operating, benefiting from the experience of the mentor.
ABOUT ROSES IN THE OCEAN
Roses in the Ocean is Australia’s leading exponent of lived experience of suicide. It collaborates with government and non-government organisations to build a trained and supported workforce of empowered individuals with personal, lived experiences of suicide who can provide expertise and skills to all aspects of suicide prevention.
Roses in the Ocean teaches people it’s okay to reach out to others for support. For anyone who needs help, please contact any of the support services listed here.