Ember Connect has unveiled an innovative online professional mentoring program aimed at enhancing employment, social, and economic outcomes for participants. It is our hope that through this pioneering initiative, made possible through a Social Enterprise Grant in partnership with Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), we can transform the lives of First Nations women across Australia through empowerment and connection.
The program, designed to bridge geographical gaps, is hosted on our digital platform, ensuring accessibility to a wide audience of First Nations women regardless of their location or time zone. Currently, 50 women from diverse regions in Australia are actively engaged in the program. Each participant is thoughtfully paired with a mentor, taking into consideration various factors such as life experiences, employment, education, industry expertise, and aspirations. This meticulous approach ensures that mentoring relationships are cultivated authentically and with cultural sensitivity.
Our General Manager, Narelle Henry, expressed her enthusiasm about the program, stating, “Receiving the social enterprise grant from IBA has been a game changer for Ember Connect. We are thrilled to roll out this innovative approach to mentorship for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Our model allows us to scale up our impact, potentially reaching hundreds of women each year.”
The program is both flexible and structured, featuring resources to facilitate meaningful discussions between mentors and mentees. Monthly meetings provide a minimum framework for interaction, allowing the mentoring relationships to evolve organically at a pace tailored to each pair. Leveraging familiar technology, the program extends support to those who may not have had access to such resources before, significantly amplifying its impact nationwide.
Stella de Cos, IBA’s Director of Community and Customer Experience, emphasized the positive change this partnership would drive. “Supporting Ember Connect to achieve this milestone and expand their reach with the online platform will empower many First Nations women. It provides them with access to resources and a network of like-minded women with whom they can connect, share their strengths, and seize opportunities.”
The program has garnered support from dedicated mentors like Julie Gibson, whose passion for supporting women in business fuels her involvement. Julie noted, “Being part of Ember Connect’s mentorship program allows me to help break down barriers for First Nations women. It’s a privilege to assist my mentee, Jacqueline Elwell, in prioritizing her goals and staying focused on her vision.”
Jacqueline Elwell, an Arrernte woman and Ember Connect member, shared her positive experience, highlighting the program’s unique understanding of the challenges faced by Indigenous women. “This mentorship program provides a safe space to discuss aspirations, receive guidance, and stay accountable.
“Being a successful Indigenous woman comes with many different hats to wear. We walk in two worlds and having a mentor program that understands and supports us in meeting those challenges has resulted in a platform and community that is like no other. I would highly recommend the mentoring program to all Indigenous women.”
Ember Connect’s nationwide digital mentorship program stands as a beacon of hope and empowerment, fostering connections, breaking barriers, and nurturing the aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women across Australia. Through this initiative, we hope to pave the way for a brighter future for Indigenous women, one mentorship at a time.