After two years of operation, Sequana Partners has gone from strength to strength, growing a vast team spanning across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
This diverse range of talent not only spans across age and experience but also gender and cultural backgrounds, providing a really unique and valuable opportunity to share learnings and experiences across the team, with on the job learning and mentoring a driving force behind each employees own role and personal development at Sequana Partners.
Sequana Managing Partners Mike Walsh and Frank Fisseler thoroughly understand the power of professional mentors, whether formal or informal. Consciously and unconsciously, we all learn from observing and listening to other people. Sometimes we learn not to be like them, but mostly we tend to absorb their ways of thinking and their behaviours.
For Sequana, mentoring provides another pathway for our people to grow, not just through work itself. Interacting with a mentor can help the mentee achieve greater success not only in their work life but also how they approach life in general. It can assist by increasing opportunities through listening, learning and sharing thoughts and ideas with a mentor.
”Mentoring in my view does not always need to be a formal process – although this can be very powerful – but in my experience there can significant benefits to those who follow the simple act of observation and understanding a Sequana Partner’s approach to business and life,” says Mike.
Mentoring gives opportunity for the mentee to grow by the simple act of engagement with someone they believe they can learn from. Whilst formal mentoring can take effort, with specific skills and sensibilities, there can be reward on both sides. In the case of the mentor, it leads to greater levels of employee engagement, retention, and knowledge sharing.
“For us, mentoring is really just a more relaxed way of learning without any great expectation on performance or outcomes which normally comes with our work life. It promotes an inclusive, supportive and non-threatening environment where active listing, questioning, self-reflection and story sharing are key components.”
Reflecting on his own experiences as a mentor, Mike believes you must have a willingness to reflect on and share your own experiences, including failures and that the most effective means of mentoring is to not only ‘talk to the talk’ but ‘walk the walk’ and lead via action.
“I mentored a number of younger people in my former role as Managing Director of Thames Water in Australia. Both formally and informally. Leading by example will – if the mentee is committed to expanding his/her organisational and industry knowledge and observing the best aspects of personal and business behaviours – translate to the mentee mimicking those attributes and the opportunities that will open up for them.”
Mike has had his own informal mentor throughout his career, and it is a relationship based on shared work values and interests. A former employer who he followed through the ranks of business into leadership roles.
“Interestingly enough, my mentor has a completely different personality to me and other differences that you wouldn’t expect give a good foundation to mentoring. But actually, it is exactly those differences and perspectives that can give you a broader understanding of the world and your place in it.”
This is something that rings true to Sequana Partners Senior Associate, Tony Antoniou – who has spent 30 years of his 36 year career mentoring – who is an advocate for diversity when it comes to mentoring.
“When you mentor people, it is important work with a diverse mix of people. People from different backgrounds with their own unique experiences bring different ways of thinking and different techniques, and if you put all of these things together and look at the results, you will have more efficient outcomes, more creativity and more efficient ways of delivery,”
“And if you look at Sequana for instance, it’s the same thing. You’ve got different genders and age, with young and up and coming graduates, eager to learn and the oldies who are a wealth of knowledge – and it works well when you connect the two.”
At Sequana Partners, we are fortunate to have such a diverse range of skills and experience right across the business, as well as some very impressive graduates and team members just starting out in their careers – and we are committed to creating an environment where mentoring is part of the day-to-day of all of our employees, as our team’s own development and growth is the most important thing to us.