Mentee: Kira Woods – Alluvium Consulting
Mentor: Sarah Ning – Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group
Coming into the Twinning program, Kira had a very general project idea already developed and this was refined after reflection on her personal development goals for the program. The new project set out to investigate environmental watering partnerships that comprised a unique partnership or achieved shared benefits.
On a more personal level, the project set out to address some of the key areas Kira identified she would like to improve, such as overcoming anxiety when approaching and talking to people, and increasing confidence presenting and leading discussion.
We met and spent the day together after our first workshop and were able to share our love for a cup of tea. At this meeting we revisited our mentoring agreement, got to know each other better and talk through the approach for the new project. Throughout the program we remained in touch through emails and phone chats to keep things on track for the project and share and discuss ideas.
The project delivered by Kira worked well towards achieving the mentoring agreement and personal goals and resulted in the delivery of two interviews:
- Rick Webster (Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group) and Jamie McMaster (private landholder)
- Barapa Water for Country project team
From the interviews it was evident that strong partnerships were critical in achieving the outcomes and successes enjoyed through both projects. All the interviewees agreed that having a solid relationship with partners built on trust and open communication was the most important factor in seeing projects eventuate.
On the other hand, challenges to achieving outcomes included; attempting to deliver ‘first of its kind’ projects within the existing environmental water management framework, recognition of new values associated with environmental water and the roles that groups not traditionally involved in water management can play in the future.
A critical component of completing the Twinning project for Kira was delivering the final presentation. Despite a significant amount of anxiety surrounding the presentation, Kira was able to confront her fears and present the results of her project.
What did you personally gain from the Waterway Management Twinning Program?
“For me participating in the Twinning program has been more about personal development than professional development, although they are somewhat closely related. Anxiety, confidence and perfectionism are things that I have always struggled with and the Twinning program has helped me to challenge these issues. Through the program I was forced to meet and talk to new people, approach people for help, ask questions and confront anxieties and self-doubt, often at time when I just felt like staying in my safety zone.
Twinning has helped me learn that I don’t have to be perfect, I shouldn’t compare my journey to others, the end point might not look the way you always imagined and even though you feel anxious, you can still follow through and complete what you set out to. Throughout the year I have been able to build new relationships and have been forced into self-reflection. My relationship with Sarah has developed over the year and she has given me some valuable advice and gently encouraged me to find my way through challenging situations.”
“The Twinning Program, while I had heard of it, it wasn’t something that I was overly familiar with prior to joining and forming a mentoring/mentee partnership with Kira. The foundations for the program are so important for what can at times feel like isolation from other Waterway Managers. Meeting new people and reconnecting with others, reconfirmed the need for meeting, sharing and collaborating across a range of different sectors. The TED talks provided inspiration and the workshop activities gave a great insight into the need for reflecting on the Why, not only for work, but in my personal life also.
I have really enjoyed working with Kira and feel proud of her achievements, she never fails to impress me with her professional approach and her ability to be adaptable, practical and radiate confidence (even if she doesn’t feel it) in her presentations and engagement with other Waterway Managers and landholders. I especially appreciate her efforts for ‘trying’ to teach me how to take a selfie. Being part of the program has highlighted the need for me to have a mentor – I can see how important it is for work and life in general.”