We know that our scholarship recipients often need more than just financial support. As one of our Scholars put it:
‘My greatest challenge is to ensure that I make the right decisions during the year which balances out my academic, personal and work options. I need someone to hold me to my study plan, to ensure I complete exercises in a timely way so there is minimal stress.’
Mentors can play a really important part in meeting these types of challenges and developing the skills they need to be truly successful in life.
We want to expand our panel of what we call “vocational mentors” – a group of really successful people who identify as LGBTIQ, that have established successful careers and who come from all walks of life across Australia. Our aim is give all scholarship winners regular access to these guiding lights and be further inspired.
Our objects and operating conditions are very important so that our reputation grows. Without transparency in the way in which Pinnacle operates and clarity on what we expect from Mentors and Scholars, the Foundation cannot expect to obtain financial support from the community.
If you become a Mentor for the Foundation you are one of Pinnacle’s front line representatives. Your sole role as Mentor is to be a ‘sounding board’ and provide guidance on academic and related issues to Scholar. You will be expected to conduct yourself in a professional manner while representing the Mentor program. Professional manner is understood to be respecting the dignity and rights of others, observing all relevant laws in conducting mentor relations and avoiding any improprieties.
Mentor/Scholar Selection Process and Timeline
By early December the Selection Committee has determined the Scholars for the forthcoming year and then turns its mind to the mentor matching process.
We aim to match sexual identity, location and academic/professional interests of both scholar and mentor. This process is challenging given the odds of finding the right fit for our Scholar, so registration of your interest in mentoring is very important.
This process also means that it may take some time for us to find a match with a registered mentor. So when we do think we might have a match with you we contact you and confirm your continuing interest before taking the next steps.
These steps involve reference checking, probity checks with ASIO and police, completion of our Undertaking and compliance with our Code of Conduct. We provide both mentor and scholar with Mentoring Guidelines as well as a briefing session at the commencement of any new relationship. We provide an opportunity for both mentor and scholar to meet to assess whether a positive relationship is likely since it is not in our interest for a relationship to continue if it is not going to be beneficial to the Scholar.
We continue to monitor the development of the mentor/scholar relationship through informal contact as well as half yearly and end of year reviews. The Board receives a report on mentoring outcomes. Our Scholar Liaison Officer is charged with the responsibility of taking early action if a relationship is not beneficial to both parties.
What is the level of commitment required?
How often and where you meet is a matter for discussion between the Mentor and Scholar, given work and study commitments. Most commonly monthly face to face meetings seem to work for both parties with more regular communications by way of text, email or phone. Both the Scholar and Mentor are equally responsible for maintenance and growth of the relationship.
Ideally the relationship will last for the duration of the Scholar’s academic efforts and association with The Pinnacle Foundation, which may be for one or more years. In the event that a Mentor’s circumstances change and it is no longer possible for them to continue then a new Mentor is found.
To ensure that the relationship gets off to a good start we hold an Induction Program late in February of the new academic year. This once off program runs over a weekend in Sydney and brings together all new Mentors and new Scholars to learn more about our collective experience in providing scholarships and mentoring opportunities. We consider participation in this program to be an essential part of your time and financial commitment to mentoring a Scholar.
Could I make a good mentor?
The Mentor checklist is the first step and is designed to guide individuals who are thinking about becoming Pinnacle Mentors through a self selection process.
On each question below, please rate yourself according to the following scale:
4 = Strongly Agree 3 = Agree 2 = Disagree 1 = Strongly Disagree
- I see myself as being people oriented;
- I am a good listener and respect my colleagues and peers;
- I am sensitive to the needs and feelings of others;
- I recognise when others need support or independence;
- I want to contribute to the academic development of others;
- I am able to support and help without smothering, parenting, or taking charge;
- I find it easy to separate professional and personal relationships;
- I am able to explain things at various levels of complexity and detail;
- I am familiar with Anti-Discrimination laws and have no issue with what they are aiming to achieve;
- I have no past incidents or associations with other persons or organisations which is likely to bring The Pinnacle Foundation and its aims into disrepute.
- I am prepared to sign a written agreement to comply with the Foundation’s code of conduct and operate within The Pinnacle Foundation’s mentor/mentee protocols;
- I can clearly articulate the value, expertise and distinct benefit I can bring to the role of mentor;
- I can provide independent referees;
- I am comfortable with The Pinnacle Foundation conducting an independent probity check that includes ASIC and police records.
Scoring your Mentor Abilities
There is no single ideal profile, but respondents who score highly (high 40s) and possess most of these qualities are likely to serve well as Mentors. If you have serious doubts about the strength of your qualifications, it might be useful to seek a second opinion from a colleague.
What do I do next?
We will let you know that we have received the application and registered your interest. To keep you informed we will ensure you receive our regular e-newsletter and invitations to our functions in your home city.