Media Release: Mentor and Mentee of the Year 2021

Each year, to recognise International Mentoring Day on 27 October, Art of Mentoring invites mentees and mentors to nominate their deserving mentoring partners for the Mentor of the Year or Mentee of the Year Award.

Mentees often describe their mentoring experiences as “life-changing”, and in 2021 we have heard many stories about the deep impact that a mentor’s listening ear, gentle challenge and genuine affirmation has had on their more junior colleague. Mentors have told us about their mentee’s focus and commitment to investing the time in themselves, and share their joy in helping the mentee to pick themselves up after a disappointment and work their way through challenges.

On 7 December we were very pleased to recognise outstanding mentoring efforts in 2021.

Art of Mentoring 2021 Mentor of the Year

The 2021 Mentor of the Year Award was presented to Emma O’Brien from the TMCA Mentoring Program.  Emma was both surprised and moved by the recognition from her mentee and the mentoring community. Emma attributes her love of and commitment to mentoring to her own experiences with generous mentors as a young person with ESL. She believes that mutual trust and sharing, and patient non-judgemental listening are keystones of a successful mentoring partnership. Her mentee Mary Currenti nominated Emma because she had demonstrated that precious ability to listen, to coax and challenge and then to guide Mary to discover her own way to meet the challenges and grab the opportunities in front of her.

The TMCA (Toyota Australia) Mentoring Program provides a safe and structured opportunity for female employees to be mentored and gain support to take ownership of their own career to actively consider opportunities.

2021 Mentor of the Year – Emma O’Brien
TMCA Mentoring Program


Art of Mentoring 2021 Mentee of the Year

This year, Art of Mentoring has chosen to award Mentee of the Year to Fiona Bailey (MBA Women Building Australia National Mentoring Program). Fiona, who was unable to attend the award ceremony due to parenting commitments, believes that a mentee must fully invest in the program and themself as you “really do get back what you put in, and more”. Fiona came to her mentor, Becky Paroz, with some real challenges, but Becky acknowledged Fiona’s full engagement in the relationship, was very organised and very proactive in driving the program, and “stretched herself in a positive way to meet her own expectations and her desired outcomes”.

Master Builders Australia is the peak body and national voice of the building and construction industry in Australia. The Women Building Australia National Mentoring Program provides women in the industry with access to support, encouragement and advice from experienced individuals through a virtual or face-to-face mentoring relationship.

2021 Mentee of the Year – Fiona Bailey
WBA National Mentoring Program


Art of Mentoring recognises outstanding mentors across programs in Australian organisations and associations, and awarded seven Highly Commended Awards to outstanding mentors and mentees in the following programs in 2021:

  • Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) Mentoring Program
  • Asset Management Council Mentoring Program
  • Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) Graduate Mentoring Program
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Science Mentoring Program
  • The Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA) and Australian Centre for Healthcare Governance (ACHG) Mentoring Program
  • The Women Building Australia National Mentoring Program

© Gina Meibusch 2021


A guide to unleashing the hidden value in your organisation through high impact strategic mentoring programs.

Most human beings and organisations have one thing in common – they both want to do better. But it’s hard for one to achieve without the other. When you can harness both you can achieve great things.

Unfortunately, most organisational structures are hierarchical, which may aid efficiency but not necessarily “real” human interaction.

Solving the human equation is the cornerstone of great culture and the larger and more diverse the workforce, the more challenging it becomes, even before we factor in things like location, technology and pay rates.

Well designed and managed mentoring programs can have a dramatic impact on workplace culture and people engagement. A strategic mentoring program transcends hierarchy, creating relationships and interactions to build individual and hence organisational value.

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the ripple effect