Mentorship in 2020 – A Mentees Perspective

On December 10, 2020 Article

Gai Le Roy, CEO, IAB Australia

As we open applications for the first intake of IAB Australia mentees for 2021, we will be hearing from some of the people involved in the 2020 program that saw mentors and mentees navigating work and life in completely new ways. I was lucky enough to mentor to amazing women in our industry, Jacqui Ollevoiu from Admatic in Sydney and Leisl Lillicrap from Dentsu Programmatic in Brisbane.

Below we hear from Leisl on her thoughts and experience with the IAB Mentorship program. When Leisl and I were first matched back in February that was some concern that we wouldn’t be able to have our catch up sessions face to face as we were based in different states – that quickly became a non-issue! It was a privilege being able to chat to Leisl as she navigated a newish career, working from home in a shared space and finding new opportunities in a changing agency structure.  If you are thinking about applying for the program in 2021 have a read below and then check out the all the details on our Mentorship page

Leisl Lillicrap, Media Investment Executive, Dentsu Programmatic

Why did you sign up as a mentee? What did you hope to learn through the program?

When signing up for the IAB Mentor program I didn’t have the clearest mind on what I was hoping to get out of it, or a specific goal I wanted to achieve. The program had been recommended to me by a friend in the industry who had just been through it and had a great experience with their mentor.

I applied expecting that I would be able to connect with someone that was a little further along in their career and have the chance to hear about their experiences in getting to where they are now, and receive advice on how to progress in my own career. I never in a million years expected to be paired with someone in the position Gai is in, and I am so grateful for the time she was able to give me throughout this crazy year.

I was a little concerned that going into this without a clear goal was going to affect how valuable this program would be for me. Having only been working in the industry for just shy of two years at the time of applying, I am still finding my feet in the industry so it’s easy to see now that having such an unclear mind, and not knowing what I wanted, was the reason why I jumped at the opportunity to talk to someone completely separate from my current role.

How did COVID impact the mentoring process? (did your circumstances change and thus it become even more important, or perhaps it was just around logistics of how you connected)

The process, for us, wasn’t affected too much as we are based in separate states to begin with, so we began the mentorship process prior to the COVID outbreak with our first catch-up over video call. The events of this year definitely had an effect on what we spoke about through these catch-ups as our own circumstances changed so much in this time, which somewhat lead the conversation in a slightly different direction; how are we coping with the move to WFH, workloads, having 10,000 video calls a week etc.

When you started out your career in the digital ad and technology industry, what support do you think was missing?

I definitely consider myself extremely fortunate to have started my career in one of the larger Agency holding groups, which meant that there were so many programs available already for learning & development, networking, support through programs such as NGEN through the MFA.

How can our industry better support rising talent?

Being aware that these programs aren’t always available to people just starting out in their career, I do believe that a lot of people would benefit from the opportunity of having a mentor to lean on when they are just starting out. While this may be offered within each organisation, having the ability to talk to someone in the industry completely separated from their current role, offers a really good opportunity for people to feel more comfortable talking openly, asking for advice, sharing experiences and planning goals for their career growth. I, personally, am terrified at the thought of having to meet someone and psychically asking them to be a mentor for me, so programs such as this one through IAB really help to make the experience a lot less daunting.


For more information and to apply for the program click here.