Unlocking the Benefits of the VMA Quayclean Mentor Program with Mirella Taylor AVM and Danielle Thompson

Jun 19, 2024Blog, Member News

The VMA Quayclean Mentor Program offers a unique opportunity for professional growth and development in the venue management industry. Designed to foster a one-on-one professional relationship, this program allows experienced industry professionals to share their knowledge, skills, and insights with mentees. This enriching exchange not only supports the mentees in their career journey but also provides mentors with the chance to make a significant impact on the industry and their professional development.

The Power of Mentorship

The VMA Quayclean Mentor Program aims to engage, inspire, and nurture both mentors and mentees within a professionally supportive learning environment. Mentees gain invaluable knowledge and support, while mentors have the opportunity to influence the next generation of industry leaders. Let’s hear from Mirella Taylor AVM and Danielle Thompson, who participated in the inaugural program in 2023, about their experiences and the benefits they gained.

Mirella Taylor AVM, Executive General Manager, Venues – Stadiums Queensland

How has your experience as a mentor in the VMA Quayclean Mentor Program enriched your own professional and personal growth over the past year?

“My mentee works in a different department, type of venue, and even country than myself. It has been great getting to know more about different aspects of the industry and gaining a varied perspective on venue management through our conversations.”

Can you share a success story or a particular moment during your mentorship  that you found especially rewarding or impactful?

“My mentee and I had spent time discussing career progression and preparing for the next opportunity. It was wonderful when a couple of months ago, she secured her dream promotion with her existing employer. She had been working very hard on being ready to take the next step in her career, so I was delighted for her when this came to fruition and I felt privileged to have a front row seat to her journey.”

In what ways do you believe mentorship benefits not only the mentees but also the mentors themselves, and how has this impacted your own perspective on career development?

“Through mentoring, I had to reflect on my own career and draw on my learnings from over the years. At times, there were opportunities to see my career through the eyes of someone else, which offered a fresh perspective on my experience.”

What advice would you give to potential mentors who are considering joining the mentor program in 2025?

“Give it a go! You will be surprised by the breadth of experiences you’ll be able to draw upon which may have relevance to others. It is a great opportunity to grow your network, and even as a mentor, to learn from others in the industry with their own incredible professional and life experiences.”

Danielle Thompson, Director of Business Services – Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre

How has your experience in the VMA Quayclean Mentor Program impacted your personal and professional growth over the past year?

“I had such a great experience with my mentor. Initially, it was a bit daunting, but my mentor and I had a great connection from the start. Our venues and locations were totally different, yet I took so much general learning away from the experience. It has really helped me be a better/stronger person with a better belief in myself and what I can achieve, both personally and professionally.”

Can you share a specific moment or insight from your mentoring relationship that you found particularly valuable or transformative?

“For me, it was about having the opportunity to talk to and hear from someone who has ‘been there before’ and experienced similar challenges. Changing roles and being promoted during my time on the program is a standout moment, as I had great support and encouragement from my mentor.”

In what ways did your mentor provide guidance and support that helped you overcome challenges or reach your goals during the program?

“Hearing someone else’s experiences and receiving gentle encouragement like ‘you can do this’ was invaluable. Just a different perspective can make all the difference and make you realize that you can actually achieve those lofty goals.”

What advice would you give to potential mentees who are considering joining the mentor program in 2025?

“I would highly recommend the program. Initially, I questioned whether I could commit to the time, worried about finding a mentor, and whether I knew how to be a mentee. But I am so glad I went ahead. It is a great way to make connections within the industry, and having the support and encouragement from someone outside of my own venue was a great benefit.”

The Benefits of Participating in the VMA Quayclean Mentor Program

For Mentees:

  • Gain new skills and valuable insights to bolster your professional growth.
  • Access to a wealth of knowledge from experienced industry professionals.
  • Opportunity to build confidence and develop a stronger belief in your abilities.
  • Personalised guidance to navigate career challenges and opportunities.
  • Network with like-minded professionals and industry leaders.

For Mentors:

  • Reflect on and share your professional experiences and achievements.
  • Gain fresh perspectives on industry challenges and solutions.
  • Contribute to the growth and development of the next generation of venue professionals.
  • Expand your professional network and learn from mentees’ experiences.
  • Strengthen the overall industry by fostering a culture of collaboration and learning.

Participating in the VMA Quayclean Mentor Program is a mutually rewarding experience that enriches both mentors and mentees, fostering a dynamic and supportive industry community. Whether you’re looking to share your expertise or seeking guidance on your career path, this program offers invaluable opportunities for growth and development.

Applications for the 2025 program intake for mentors will begin in September and mentees in October, offering you the chance to be a part of this transformative journey and help shape the future of the venue management industry. Learn more about the VMA Quayclean Mentor program here.

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