Media Release: Mentor and Mentee of the Year 2020

Art of Mentoring announces the winners of their 2020 Mentor of the Year and Mentee of the Year Awards.

Art of Mentoring Awards Karen Johns, Mentor of the Year Award 2020 and Kerrie Gregory, Mentee of the Year 2020

Sydney, 2 DECEMBER, 2020: To celebrate International Mentoring Day in October, Art of Mentoring, an Australian based mentoring business and leading supplier of mentoring programs to associations, corporates, federal and local government, opened nominations for the annual mentoring awards. The company has awarded Karen Johns, the prestigious Mentor of the Year Award 2020. This year’s Mentee of the Year Award goes to Kerrie Gregory.

Ms Johns participated in the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) Mentoring Program and Ms Gregory was a mentee in the NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment’s Women in Senior Leadership Mentoring Program.

Art of Mentoring received over 150 nominations for the coveted awards. The winners were selected on the basis of their mentoring partners’ descriptions of their character and behaviour during the mentoring relationship.

What makes an exceptional mentor?
Analysis of the mentor nominations revealed that exemplary mentors were caring and warm, worked hard to build rapport and trust, humble and authentic and a true inspiration to their mentees. They guided the mentee’s learning journey, open doors to their networks, encouraged and motivated and, at times, challenged the mentee to aim higher. They went above and beyond to support their mentee, particularly during stressful times such as job loss. Having the support of a mentor during COVID-19 proved to be invaluable for many.

Ms Johns displayed almost all of the landmark mentor characteristics and was enthusiastically nominated by her mentee.

What separates a stand-out mentee from the rest?
A great mentee starts the relationship with intention and gives the relationship full focus right to the end. Mentees nominated for the awards were well-organised, driven and purposeful. They were courageous about making themselves vulnerable to share their development gaps, open to challenge  and remained accountable for their own success.

Ms Gregory is a perfect example of a mentee who embraced the opportunity with relish and was described by her mentor as having transformed over the course of the relationship.

Art of Mentoring recognises outstanding mentors across programs in Australian organisations and associations
Art of Mentoring also awarded five Highly Commended Awards to outstanding mentors in the following mentoring programs within organisations and associations:


  1. Rebecca Blowes, Ministry for Primary Industries, NZ Mentoring Program
  2. Anna Broughton, Australian Institute of Project Management Mentoring Program
  3. Jane Powles, Beaumont People LEAD Mentoring Program


  1. Ben Parker, Australian Institute of Project Management Mentoring Program
  2. Zeanda Ragg, a Commonwealth Government agency Mentoring Program

Mentoring helps attract and retain employees and association members through professional development
Art of Mentoring designs, implements and manages mentoring programs for organisations and membership associations throughout Australia.
Studies show that a well-run mentoring program helps attract and retain employees by demonstrating an organisation’s or association’s commitment to talent development. Mentoring is also instrumental in preparing the next generation of leaders. Researchers have shown that teaching people high quality mentoring skills, helps them develop their transformational leadership capacities.1 There is also growing consensus that mentors benefit as much as mentees in this regard.

For associations, attracting and retaining members is critical to their financial viability. A well-structured and managed mentoring program offers significant returns by providing high quality professional development that engages their member base and advances the profession or industry they represent.

[1] Kram, K. and Ragins, B.R. (2007) The Landscape of Mentoring in the 21st Century. In K. Kram & B.R. Ragins (Eds.) The Handbook of Mentoring at Work (pp. 659-692), CA: Sage.


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