We sat down with Sandra Connolly, Regional Manager at Programmed Facility Management. Managing contracts and clients in the Facility Management space and runs the national service centre, she is a strong leader, strategically minded and KPI-driven.
Looking to enhance her current skill base, she joined NAWO, a not-for-profit organisation that inspires women to take the lead.
With some of Australia’s largest organisations in their membership; BP, Nissan, NewsCorp, Rio Tinto, BHP, Orica, McCain, Australia Post and Coca-Cola Amatil, they offer a ‘Mentoring Circles’ program connecting a group of 5-8 high potential, mid-career women with a mentor to guide them through a series of sessions that have the potential to have a profound impact on their future careers.
Sandra tells us a bit about the people who have helped her along in her career and what she was looking for.
I have been very lucky to have worked with some great people throughout my career including at my current employer, Programmed Facility Management.
However, I was searching for more.
I was looking for a meaningful experience to network with great individuals and that is exactly what I got. I wanted to be part of a group that looked outside the box and their day-to-day activities for learning opportunities and growth.
Ultimately, I wanted to be a better leader.
My recent mentoring experience has been fantastic and a great opportunity to network and align with individuals. It’s been a great social and learning experience overall too.
Searching for knowledge outside her immediate access point, Sandra turned to NAWO. She tells us what drew her to the program.
I am very passionate about people, operations, diversity, leadership and making a difference in the workplace. With NAWO, I loved the event schedules and the opportunity to network with other people in Operations as part of my growth and learning as an individual.
Throughout the program, I have grown and enhanced my skill base and it has encouraged me to look outside my current industry and provide insight into other working environments. I believe all my group have benefited on this journey and developed skills in all sorts of ways.
Most of all, I really enjoyed how organised the program was, participating in social events, great opportunities to mingle, great little bites talks, great insight into workplaces, creative, fun, interactive and great people.
NAWO’s focus is to lift up women overall – we spoke to Sandra about why she feels it is important to mentor women and how it contributes to women in operations more specifically.
I feel mentoring provides a huge contribution to women in operations and provides a space to mingle and grow with others.
In operations, women can at times be a minority and the mentoring program provides a great opportunity to encourage development and a challenge to increase the presence of women in operations
By the conclusion of the program, the changes I saw in myself were definitely
Confidence, clarity, enhanced leadership styles – I realised that Programmed Facility Management is a great company to work with and made me more determined to encourage women in operations and to continue mentoring and seeing people grow. Participating in the program was a great insight into the female contribution in the workplace.
Can you tell us about your mentor?
My mentor has a wealth of experience, is a good leader, listener, challenges me and is a natural problem solver. If I had to summarise it, I feel like my preferred mentoring style varies between The Encourager/ The Coach and The Genius. On one hand, I thrive on the encouragement and banishes all self-doubt. On the other, I enjoy having a mentor that inspires me through insight, guiding me towards what might be best and away from what may not.
Anything to add?
Honestly, I have loved every minute of it. I have discovered that I am passionate about my chosen career and assisting people in the industry.
International Women’s Day
With International Women’s Day fast approaching, now is the perfect time to think about how you could deploy a bespoke mentor program to better support your people. Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in hearing more about our special IWD package.Start a mentoring culture today