‘I can’t wait to see her fly – and fly high’

Sheeza Shakeel, an ABCN mentor from Accenture, reflects on the gift that comes from mentoring a student

In the middle of personal and professional challenges and change management during and post-COVID, I have realised what’s important, what gives me true joy and most importantly how important it is now more than ever to give back to society.

One of the highlights of my work life at Accenture has been volunteering as a mentor with the ABCN Accelerate program, a three-year program for students who are exceptional yet face significant barriers. Successful applicants receive a unique combination of one-on-one corporate mentoring support, leadership coaching and financial assistance over Years 11, 12 and their first year of tertiary studies or training.

Through ABCN, I’ve had the privilege of entering a three-year mentoring relationship with an outstanding girl, Jowil, who has escaped war in Syria and come to Australia as a refugee. Her story is nothing less than inspiring for me.

Sheeza and Jowil

Jowil is a Year 12 student at Thomastown Secondary College in Victoria and has an interest in engineering and architecture. Just like all of us she has dreams and she wants to have choices.

Through ABCN’s programs and monthly catchups, we have been working on how to amplify her interest in technology and develop language skills. I can’t wait to see her fly – and fly high.

The mentor-mentee relationship is a two-way street. We each learn from each other and inspire each other. Jowil and I have spoken about studies, aspirations, friends, family, finances, and when I see Jowil juggling multiple things and it gives me a new perspective.

ABCN has an interesting way of matching mentor mentee profiles so that they logically fit each other culturally and otherwise so that both parties benefit from one another.

I have benefited from the program because of the platform it provides in connecting with other industry mentors, diverse background students as well as my own mentee.

Jowil says she has been inspired do better in life, set short- and long-term goals and work towards achieving them. She has gained tremendous confidence in public speaking and has learnt to ignore naysayers and focus on doing well in life.

‘I am learning and growing by the day because of the mentorship. I am motivated to do something bigger and better in life,’ says Jowil, Year 12 student, Thomastown School

My experience with ABCN, my passion for women in STEM and a desire to do more, led me to put my hand up to co-lead Accenture’s Inclusion & Diversity pillar: Social Mobility.

My vision is for everyone to reach their potential, no matter what their background or circumstances. Let’s not forget to help each other. Let not forget to be kind to each other.

  • Sheeza Shakeel is a Director at Accenture, responsible for growth and new business development for digital technology transformation services portfolio for the energy and utilities industry in ANZ.


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