Girl Guardians is a pilot mentoring programme that has commenced through Imaginarium this term; a small group of gifted and high ability students in Year 5 is partnering with five of Perth College’s former students, known affectionately as ‘Old Girls’.
Mentoring allows gifted students to develop a relationship with a mentor through which they can explore their interests, personalised to their needs. Two-way communication is based on mutual respect, with mentors providing support for the student’s social and emotional development, in addition to their intellectual development and exposure to a range of careers.
Ellie is one of our mentors for the Girl Guardians mentoring programme, graduating from Perth College in 1996. She fondly remembers “the anticipation each year of waiting to find out what netball team you had made it into, who your coach would be and what grade you would be in.” She recounts her favourite year playing netball, when she made it into a higher grade than expected and her team won the grand final.
An interview with Ellie highlights how fortunate we are to have her involved in the Girl Guardians mentoring programme:
What career pathway have you taken?
I am an Executive Coach and Leadership Development specialist. Not too many people know what this involves, but I like to think of myself as the person an organisation approaches to help individuals or groups discover their potential and the opportunities around them to change or grow. I do this through a lens of evidence-based coaching and positive psychology which fit together beautifully.
Why did you choose this pathway?
I started my professional career as a lawyer, which I wouldn’t change for the world. I met my best friends through study and working as a junior lawyer, and I loved the opportunity to test myself in a high-powered corporate environment. I discovered quite early on, though, that my passion was for people and what makes them tick, so I made the decision to leave the law and move states into a role in human resources.
Many people couldn’t understand why I would ‘throw away’ six years of legal training and a few years of legal practice. For me, that was never a consideration. Firstly, I use the skills I learned at law school (how to synthesise disparate pieces of information, focussing on what is important to the person you are communicating to/with, writing and speaking clearly and confidently and asking good questions) every day. Secondly, I believe wholeheartedly that we should do what brings us meaning and we should do it to the greatest extent possible.
Through a range of jobs (I now work for myself but have also worked for various organisations) I discovered that for me, any day I get the chance to shine a light on what makes someone unique and capable and help them achieve their dreams is a great day. And, more often than not, my work day involves just this.
Tell me about your interests:
I am the type of person who is interested in everything. I love to travel, read, eat good food and listen to painfully hipster Icelandic music (I blame my husband for that one!). I also have a deep love of children’s literature. I love running when I am not injured and am passionate about positive psychology. My guilty pleasure is watching Survivor!
What are your strengths?
My signature strengths are: social intelligence, love, kindness, humour and fairness.
How would your friends describe you?
My friends would describe me as a bit goofy, always ready to listen and ready to do something silly and fun at very short notice. They might also say that I am competitive and overly punctual to the point of being annoying.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by many people I meet. I look for the unique and amazing in everyone and am surprised and impressed almost every day. I’ve also got a lot of women in my life who inspire me. My daughter inspires me to keep working on being my best self and role modelling the things that are important to me. She also inspires me to wear more colours and a lot of mismatching jewellery sometimes!
My mum inspires me to be strong and independent, but also to be comfortable showing my feelings and being vulnerable. I have an amazing professional mentor, Louise, who inspires me to see the best in myself as well as others. My 90-year-old grandmother, Betty, inspires me to be a person who is unfailingly kind and nurtures the relationships I have with the people closest to me.
Favourite movie or book? Why is this your favourite?
It is impossible for me to pick a favourite! I have very broad tastes and they are all favourites! From Anne McCaffrey (science fantasy!) to Toni Morrison and Isabel Allende, to Star Wars and Love Actually. I am currently reading a book about Queen Victoria, who is someone I don’t know much about.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I have a three-year-old, so in my spare time I often collapse with a book or Netflix. After that I like to get out in the bush or to the beach, or to play cards with my mum, nanna and aunties. My husband and I will also take any chance we get to go to a new restaurant or see a movie.
What makes you laugh the most?
My daughter and her ‘creative’ ways of interpreting things. There are quite a few times each week that we all laugh to the point of sore cheeks.
What have you enjoyed so far, being part of the Girl Guardians programme?
I have loved getting to know the girls and I can’t wait to get to know them even more. They are all unique and creative and have their own way of looking at a problem. I have also appreciated the chance to learn more about how PC applies positive psychology in a practical way with the students.
Thanks to Ellie for volunteering her time for the Girl Guardians mentoring programme this term.