Toni Craig is a Senior Change Manager with NAB. She is also a Success Works mentor. Toni was interviewed in June 2023 and she shared her experience of mentoring with Success Works.
Tell us a little bit about you.
I live in Sydney and work as a Change Manager within Financial Services and Banking. I am also a qualified Financial Planner. In my spare time, I love doing Pilates Reformer and going for walks, and interrupting my walks with soy cappuccinos and the odd croissant. I read a lot of books and do cryptic crosswords and as a former figure skater try to get back to the ice rink from time to time.
How long have you been mentoring for Success Works?
I started working as a SWP mentor back in October 2022.
Why did you decide to be a mentor for Success Works?
I was looking for something to do by way of volunteering or giving back in some way but wasn’t sure what to do. I was already a follower of Dress for Success and saw a LinkedIn post calling out for volunteers for SWP.
The purpose really resonated with me as I thought I can use my professional experience for good and hopefully make a positive change in someone’s life.
What have you learned about yourself and others (i.e. candidates) through the mentoring program?
I have learned a lot about myself by being a mentor and have been reminded how fortunate I am. Before becoming a mentor I would tick the background check box in job applications without a second thought and now I look at that tick box with a completely different lens. Sometimes, if I feel ‘brave’ I raise it at work and challenge people’s views on the background check and why it’s not black and white in some cases I have been surprised by people’s reactions and desire to know more and in other cases disappointed by the bias and judgement that some people have before they even hear someone’s story.
Through the program, I have realised that I do have a lot of life and work experience that is of benefit to someone else and that it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference. Helping someone realise that they have transferrable skills that an employer would value or helping with interview confidence and prep. I have learned a lot from my candidates too, one is that there are some very strong resilient women out there who have overcome adversity to be here. I am encouraged by their persistence and resilience to keep going forward.
Describe some of the challenges and how you’ve overcome them.
My main challenges with becoming a mentor is feeling like I am not doing enough or that I don’t have access to the job networks in industries I am unfamiliar with. That is where SWP team has been amazing in connecting me and my candidates with job opportunities. When I first started I felt like I should have all the answers but realised that me and my candidate are a team and there is a network of people and connections that when we work together can get a better outcome.
What advice would you give prospective SWP candidates and mentors about the benefits of mentoring?
I would say to any prospective SWP candidates and mentors: just go in with an open mind and know that there is no set way of doing things, for mentors just get to know your candidate and you will find ways to help and for candidates, I would say well done for getting this far and encourage all the ladies to remember knowledge is power. I encourage all the ladies to find and enroll in a course to upskill in an area of interest. By building capability and skills you will have many more work options available to you in the future not to mention the personal satisfaction of achieving a study goal. If you are like me and got told ‘you’re just not good at maths’ at school and went on to get high distinctions in maths subjects in Financial Planning I say leave those labels behind and create a new one for yourselves.
Anything you’d like to add?
I just want to give a shout-out to Gemma and Eleni who have been so supportive and inspiring to work with.
Thank you to Toni Craig. Julie was interviewed by Board members Gabrielle Droulers and Angela Pirrone in June 2023 and she shared her experience of mentoring with Success Works.
Success Works believes that mentoring is an enormously effective and beneficial process for women affected by the criminal justice system. We acknowledge the essential and valuable contribution Mentors make in providing support and empowerment to women who are committed to seeking, securing, and maintaining employment. We are currently looking for new mentors. Could you change a woman’s life?
We are currently looking for new Mentors. Could you change a woman’s life?