Beyond Traditional Mentorship: A Look Into My Personal Advisory Board

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I’ve had the opportunity to meet and learn from people over the course of the last few years. These individuals have become people that I’ve turned to for advice, guidance, or even a push when I needed it. Now that I’ve joined Mentorloop, I’ve discovered that there’s a term for what these individuals are to me – they form my Personal Advisory Board!

In this article, I want to share who they are, how I met them, and what role they play in my Personal Advisory Board.

My Professional Mentors

We probably associate mentorship most with a professional relationship. I’ve had a few professional mentors in my 3-year career. Here are a couple of them.

David: the traditional mentor

I met David when I was new to working in a professional environment, only having a few university assignments under my belt. He was the CTO at my workplace and I was the newbie intern. David took a chance on me and mentored me into my first development role. 

As a young intern, I was impressed by David’s efficient way of working and how he always gave practical, implementable advice. As an example, when I was frustrated with writing console logs, he suggested that I look into using Turbo Console Log. This small VS Code extension eliminated the repetitive task of manually writing console logs by allowing me to use a simple keyboard shortcut to automate the process. I still use this extension today, which is a testament to David’s practical influence on my current work.

His support and patience with me was invaluable during the beginning of my career. His guidance helped me transition from a programmer with personal projects to a team player who contributes to larger projects with confidence. His influence and support, together with his advice, molded me into a more capable developer, a more efficient worker, and a better team player. 

Josh: the peer mentor

I met Joshua when I joined my first large company. 

When I first joined, I often felt overwhelmed, especially with tasks that I wasn’t used to, like collaborating with multiple departments. As the new guy,l didn’t really know where to go for the assets I required, what I’m allowed to edit on the copy for certain projects, or where to get approvals. It was Joshua, who I’ve worked closely with since day one, who patiently showed me the ropes. He helped me find the right contacts and made the necessary introductions. He also used this opportunity to teach me how to communicate thoroughly and effectively across teams in a corporate setting. 

As we continued working side-by-side, Josh’s can-do attitude, out-of-the box thinking, and problem-solving capabilities had a significant influence on me. Seeing him navigate issues in our small department with limited resources and tight deadlines was a learning experience in itself. Like when a stakeholder requested a collapsible section on the platform which we couldn’t implement, Josh proposed a workaround – well-structured list with an alternative layout that would convey the main message effectively. Observing this situation and many others like it taught me to clearly communicate constraints early on and to always propose alternative solutions with a positive attitude.

I learned so much from the way Josh worked. He exemplified what it means to be consistent and showed me the importance of attention to detail as he happily and patiently sense-checked my work whenever I needed an extra set of eyes on something.

My Personal Mentors

And while professional mentors are valuable, mentors who guide and support you in your personal life are also invaluable. Here are mine. 

Chris: the role model

Christian is my Greek language private tutor and future brother-in-law. And he is someone I look to as an example of resilience. 

I met Christian during my VCE when he became my tutor for Greek language subjects and we quickly bonded over the fact that we were of similar ages (around 15 years old) when our families immigrated to Australia.

Our mentoring relationship developed through Greek board game nights, where we would speak only Greek, play Greek games, and discuss cultural differences between Greece and Australia. Christian’s deep knowledge and teaching experience were invaluable, as he guided me through both language and cultural challenges.

Seeing Chris being able to maintain his connection to his culture and community while navigating life in Australia showed me what my future as an immigrant could look like. He became a role model to me and was someone I would turn to for advice on navigating cultural barriers and general things about life as an immigrant. His practical advice and meaningful guidance have had significant and lasting impact on my life and I credit his support in helping me integrate into and thrive in my new environment while preserving my cultural identity.

Karthrik: the growth catalyst

I used to work with Karthrik at a supermarket when I was in uni and he was finishing up a masters degree. He was the person who inspired me to apply for my first role as a developer.

During our breaks, we would chat about our dream jobs in our desired fields. As he was already applying for jobs in his field, he encouraged me to apply for some summer internships. I was initially hesitant to apply as I was intimidated by the role requirements. But also, at the time, I hadn’t realized the importance of internships. I was focused on my own projects and thought that sacrificing personal time to work on them was enough. He showed me that, while this was valuable, real experience was also important to have.

However, Karthrik helped me overcome my fears and apply for my first role. His encouragement, support, and reassurance were invaluable, and that summer, I landed my first summer internship at Edcursion Technology and got to meet David.

Karthrik taught me the importance of making sacrifices to achieve what we want in life – whether that’s choosing to work on projects that will help your career long-term over leisure activities, or finding and making time to nurture your friendships despite being busy.

I wouldn’t be where I am in my career today without Karthrik pushing me to step out of my comfort zone to pursue opportunities I hadn’t considered. His support has had a lasting impact on my career and personal growth and I’m always going to be grateful for it. 

Anna: genuine partnership

I met my partner Anna in high school and we quickly formed a bond doing homework together and encouraging each other to do well academically. And that only grew stronger as our relationship went on. 

Anna and I are the same age and so we go through roughly the same stages of life together. This means our mentoring relationship is two-way – we switch to being each other’s mentor or mentee based on what we need at the time. 

From high school exams to university applications, being able to bounce ideas off each other and having each other for support has been invaluable. She was instrumental in helping me make the decision to choose the right uni degree for me, as well as the choosing the roles I’ve gone for in my professional career. And as we grew older, this evolved into supporting each other through professional and interpersonal challenges and helping each other develop as individuals.

After meeting in high school, Anna and I have been best friends ever since and we know each other better than anyone but we also think a little bit differently from each other. This also contributes to why we find each other’s insights so valuable. Our deep understanding of each other and a shared understanding of our experiences mean that when we bring our strengths to the table, we are able to make better informed decisions and find better ways forward together. 

Expanding My Personal Advisory Board

The value of having these diverse perspectives in my life is immeasurable. Each mentor, with their unique insights and experiences, has contributed to my growth both personally and professionally. They provide a rich palette of colors that paint the canvas of my life and personality. While some of these relationships are maintained more frequently than others, I strive to keep in touch with everyone in my personal advisory board, understanding that nurturing these mentoring relationships requires effort and time.

Currently, I am expanding my personal advisory board through my company’s internal mentoring programs and pair programming sessions. These initiatives allow me to engage in one-on-one problem-solving with colleagues, gaining valuable mentorship and continuously growing my professional network. As I progress in my career, I plan to continue seeking and cultivating new mentoring relationships, recognising that each new perspective adds depth and richness to my journey.

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Peter Papanastasatos
Peter Papanastasatos
Passionate about problem-solving, a tech trends enthusiast, a Melbourne hidden gem hunter and a holistic well-being explorer. I enjoy hitting the gym, reading a book and pondering a bug, sometimes at the same time, in pursuit of O(nlogn) efficiency in life.

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