This is a story about the power of mentoring, and a letter from a mentor to her student.
At the recent ABCN Leadership Dinner we had organised for some mentors and students, past and present, to share their stories. One of the mentors, Carolyn Ralph, from KPMG, unfortunately fell ill on the day of the event. She was to share her story about mentoring Jennifer Truong. The pair met when Jennifer, a Yr 10 student at Cabramatta High School at the time, was awarded an ABCN Foundation Scholarship, and Carolyn was chosen as her mentor.
Eight years on, that relationship continues to grow, and the mentoring experience has had a powerful impact on both their lives. Jennifer is now a high school teacher, a career she loves, and spoke passionately at the Leadership Dinner about what she had learnt from Carolyn and about how their relationship has grown over time.
When Carolyn couldn’t attend the event on the night, she wrote Jennifer a letter, and ABCN’s Foundation Manager, Samantha Luck, took to the stage to read it on Carolyn’s behalf.
The letter left such a strong impression on the audience, and on Jennifer, that we wanted to share it with you. Thanks to Carolyn Ralph who has kindly given us permission to reprint it here.
Your prize winnings included me, but really I was the winner.
We met when you were still a teenager, but I am the one who is richer from knowing you.
While a little shy when we met on campus at Cabramatta High, all those years ago, you always had depth and maturity. You took me on a tour of the school and we bonded over our mutual love of trashy tv shows.
I remember our first few mentoring sessions were, necessarily, school-work focused. In sharing what assignments you were researching we got to know each other a little more and shared some inner secrets about ourselves. Mine was probably as deep as sharing that the dude in Hawaii-FiveO was my favourite celebrity!
Many years later and, Jennifer, I have seen you come into your own.
I’ve learned a lot from you. Not only have we tried a lot of different cultures and food (we aim to try different countries/cultures cuisines when we catch up), we also stretch ourselves with new debates and knowledge. Mostly what I have learned is:
If others ask you, I wonder what advice would you give about a mentoring relationship? I know I would unequivocally recommend it to others. I would suggest:
Jennifer, you are an incredible woman and more than a mentee to me. You are my friend. A lifelong friend.
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