We know that, within our community, mentoring remains somewhat of an unknown. To shed some light on what it’s really like to be an Out for Australia mentor, we caught up with one of our most experienced mentors, Vasili Hatzis from Goldman Sachs, to share his thoughts, insights and experience.
OFA: Why did you apply to be a mentor with Out for Australia?
VH: Through contacts at Goldman Sachs, and the work the firm’s LGBTI committee has done with Out for Australia, I had met a number of the Out for Australia executive team and was very impressed with the work the organisation is doing. I decided to do my small part to help out, and signing up as an Out for Australia mentor seemed like a great opportunity to do so.
OFA: How does your mentoring relationship work on a day-to-day basis? How often do you meet and what do you talk about?
VH: We meet up around once a month, and also chat via phone and email. I’m generally happy to let the conversation be guided by what my mentee thinks is important, but we usually focus on job applications, career pathways, the finance industry and investment banking.
OFA: Did you find it hard to be a mentor in the beginning? What structures or tools did you use to begin your relationship with your mentee?
VH: My primary concern was that our mentoring catch-ups wouldn’t be relevant or useful to my mentee’s current situation. As a result, I’ve found that having my mentee set the ‘agenda’ for our catch ups helps focus on the issues he wants covered, and I’ve been fortunate in that he is very proactive in doing so. I have also leveraged my contacts to set up introductions for my mentee to learn about other industries.
OFA: Has your mentoring experience changed the way you looked at the issues and challenges that you face at work?
VH: The mentoring experience has made me realise there are a lot of misconceptions around investment banks and the work they do from an LGBTI diversity and inclusion perspective. I know from experience that Goldman Sachs is very focused on LGBTI inclusion and we have a very active local LGBTI network (GLaM, or Gays, Lesbians and Mates), however we need to keep working to ensure all prospective intern and graduate applicants are aware of this commitment too.
OFA: What have you learnt by being a mentor?
VH: I’ve learnt that there are many people out there who have dealt with similar issues and are eager to help, but have not had the opportunity to share their knowledge. I have definitely become more focused on who my mentors are, and how I can proactively manage my relationships with them. OFA’s mentoring program goes a long way in helping to address this mismatch of supply.
OFA: Many mentees join Out for Australia’s mentoring program in search of career advice and job-seeking skills. Can you share how being part of a mentoring relationship can be helpful when the time comes for job applications and interviews?
VH: No matter how thorough your preparation is in applying for internships or graduate roles, nothing will beat being able to talk informally with someone who works in the industry. Many students will be aware of this over the next month as applications for summer internships close and interviews commence. A successful mentoring relationship can help with preparation, industry knowledge, interview and presentation skills, and providing an insider’s account of what it is actually like to work in your industry of choice.
Applications for Goldman Sachs’ summer internships are open now and close on July 13 (Melbourne) and July 27 (Sydney and Perth). Visit goldmansachs.com/careers for more information.