Dr Glen Lo
What inspired you to become a mentor at The Pinnacle Foundation?
My inspiration is to help LGBTIQ+ youth and my community. When I was approached by The Pinnacle Foundation in 2019 to mentor a scholar in Perth who was studying medicine and needed a mentor, my answer was without question – yes.
I come from a diverse background. I started primary school wearing abduction splints for Perthes’ disease and I was the only half-Chinese kid in my class. I was always picked last in sport, but at high school I developed an interest in contemporary dance and was mentored by working directly with professional dancers. A decade later I mentored new company members and joined Buzz Dance Theatre as a company dancer. We toured nationally – even the Sydney Opera House! Mentoring helped me achieve a dream.
Working in the arts is often financially stressful so I studied medicine as a backup career and, after leaving the dance company, I started specialty training as a diagnostic radiologist. I’m now very privileged to hold permanent appointments at a tertiary hospital and several private clinics.
In studying medicine and during my speciality training I didn’t have the same level of mentoring that I had had in training to be a dancer. Medical workplace culture is very different to a dance company but not without allies or peers. My prior experience as a mentor and a mentee showed me the value in such a relationship, and I am thrilled to be able to continue it today.
What have you learnt from being a mentor at The Pinnacle Foundation?
You are enough.
You deserve to be here.
Everybody supports you here.
It was easier than I thought it would be. Everyone feels like they don’t have enough experience to be a mentor. It’s common in medicine to feel like you’re not qualified enough to meet a standard that you’ve largely set from your own expectations. But from my mentor/scholar relationship, I’ve learnt that what I have to offer is enough and I can give the support that’s needed.
What advice would you give to other mentors or potential mentors who want to join The Pinnacle Foundation?
Being a mentor is not about having all the answers or having the exact same sexuality, gender identity and experiences as your scholar. Not even identical twins would match that. The relationship is bilateral and requires availability, approachability and adaptation on both sides. Pinnacle mentors are a sounding board, there to hear scholars’ voiced issues around their studies and their career goals. Pinnacle scholars only want invited or occasional advice but always welcome support and encouragement. Just as I work within a Scope of Clinical Practice in my day job, my scholar only asks from me the skills and experience that I bring to the table, that they want from me. The Pinnacle Foundation is careful to match a scholar’s needs with a mentor’s capacity to meet those needs; in some cases it takes more than one mentor – you won’t be asked to fill somebody else’s shoes.