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​Mentors can offer crucial guidance to graduates of the Office of Multicultural Interests’ Leadership and Governance Program.

The ‘Stepping Up to the Challenge’ Mentoring Program is an adjunct to the governance training program and is designed to support graduates who want to achieve their full potential.

Graduates can be placed with a mentor for six months who is available to guide, encourage and advise them in the process of achieving an active board position in the public, corporate or not-for-profit sector.

OMI is always looking for mentors to take part in this program–please apply through the application form for mentors on this website.

Fadzi WhandeMentor profile: Fadzi Whande

Fadzi Whande offered to become an OMI mentor because she wanted to share her experiences and journey with others as a way of inspiring and motivating them to pursue their dreams.

“I want to help create opportunities for other women and men from culturally diverse backgrounds”, Fadzi said.

As part of the board for Women Aglow International in Botswana, Fadzi served as a mentor to a group of young women. She also serves on the boards of the Carers Advisory Council and the Mirrabooka Senior High School, and has been mentoring young women and men though her church and professional community for several years.

“One of the greatest gifts of value you can give someone else is your willingness to help them progress”, she said.

“Many of the opportunities that came my way, came as a result of having great mentors in my life who were unselfish and willing to share their experiences and their journey with me. I have always been one who seeks to help others progress and I believe that being a mentor would be of great benefit to me, also.”

Fadzi believes that the process of mentoring also helps enhance the mentor’s skills.

“The experience gained from mentoring helps facilitate my own professional growth and allows me to strengthen my coaching and leadership skills.”

Rasa SubramaniamMentor profile: Rasa Subramaniam OAM JP

Rasa Subramaniam has experience as a mentor in the areas of local government, education and the Commonwealth Society speech and leadership program. He became an OMI mentor so that he could use his experience to help others fulfil their dreams.

“I’d like to assist future leaders on their path in life and help them to become strong leaders with a sound ethical background,” he said.

Rasa has long been involved in grassroots activities with newly-arrived and more established communities, and has taken every opportunity to promote multiculturalism in the wider community.

In 1991, Rasa became the first Asian to be elected to Local Government in WA and his ‘can do’ attitude has inspired many others from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to follow his lead into local politics.

Rasa was named Citizen of the Year by the City of Melville in 1995 and, in 1996, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for Services to Multicultural Organisations, the Tamil Community and Local Government.

By mentoring others, Rasa wants to give something of his knowledge and experience back to society.

“I’d like to assist people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to become successful board members so that they, too, can give back to the community.”

Jo Harrison WardMentor profile: Jo Harrison-Ward

Jo Harrison-Ward currently provides consultancy services to the Public Sector Commission and government agencies in the areas of board governance, functional and structural review, and senior women in leadership.

A career public servant with more than 15 years’ experience at senior and executive levels, Jo’s roles have included Chief Executive Officer of the Fire & Emergency Services Authority, Executive Director of the Western Australia Police, and Executive Director of the State Emergency Management.

Jo wants to connect as a mentor to pass on the knowledge and experience she has gained.

“The Public Sector Commission wants to encourage greater diversity on government boards so that Western Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities are better represented,” she said.

Jo’s main area of expertise is in the public sector, where she has specialised in leadership, public sector governance and environment, management, stakeholder management, networking, risk management, disaster management and defence.

“I am interested in being part of a partnership journey that will provide a strong group of potential public sector board members.”

Shona ZulsdorfMentor profile: Shona Zulsdorf

“Mentoring is a resource that wasn’t available in my workplaces years ago, and it’s something that I would have benefitted from enormously,” says Shona Zulsdorf.

With a 20-year career that has included senior roles in government agencies, government trading enterprises and ministerial offices in a range of portfolios, Shona wants to offer the support and advice that wasn’t made available to her.

Shona is currently responsible for strategic planning, business planning, monitoring, evaluation, reporting, risk and project management, and her workplace’s annual report.

“Reform, strategy and policy development have been key deliverables across my career. More recently, change management and senior stakeholder engagement have been a major part of my role.”

Shona has serve on the boards of two not-for-profit organisations: she was the chair of Starick’s board for six years and a board member of Rise Community Support Network for one year. She has also worked with pro bono consultancies for not-for-profit organisations in strategic and business planning.

Shona is part of the Stepping Up to the Challenge Mentoring Program as she is keen to assist young women the benefit of her experience as they start their careers.