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Pictured: Participants of this year's program have embraced new ways of (virtually) connecting.

People are at the heart of any business and at Development Victoria we are passionate about developing our teams to be the best they can, even if it means stretching beyond their comfort zone to try a new kind of learning.

That’s where experiences like the Juno Adaptive Leaders Program come in. This is the third year that Development Victoria has taken part in program, which last year saw 75% of protégés securing employment or returning to study.

The program’s sponsor and one of the original participants, Executive Director, People and Culture, Caroline Monzon said following the trial in 2018, it was “very clear, very quickly that this program was a natural fit with our values and our culture of inclusiveness and diversity.”

This year’s four participants can attest to this and are almost at the end of the three-month journey of mentoring and learning.  Working with White Lion and disability community service JobFind Australia, Sam Peart, Yogeeta Silva, Alice Reynolds and Julia Angove have almost three months working and mentoring with a protégé from a disadvantaged background helping build their confidence and skills.  

While our aim is to help our protégés, they in turn help us. At the beginning of the program, all mentors chose the area they wanted to improve upon and taking the journey with a protégé offers the opportunity to do this.

All four Development Victoria mentors agreed they nominated for the program to enhance and expand their leadership skills, while also having the opportunity to connect with, learn from and help someone else.

In previous years, mentors and protégés met face-to-face each week but in 2020 the climate changed dramatically with the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and both mentors and proteges needing to adapt to a new way of doing things. FaceTime, ZOOM and Skype quickly became the new normal. 

“We also really needed to rethink the approach and the outcome, so the focus moved to motivating, supporting, listening and getting proteges “work ready” for when the current situation eases,” said Alice. 

True to the concept of teamwork and collaboration, this year’s team of four benefited from the experience of some of our staff who have been through the program in 2018 and 2019. 

“Emma Arkesteijn, Richard Temlett, Oliver Smith and Luke Osland provided us with great support and also had the opportunity to continue to hone their own mentoring and leadership skills. The concept of “mentoring the mentors” was a huge part of the experience,” Yogeeta said.

"This is a very tangible way that we can give our staff a great leadership and development experience, as well give back in a very real and practical way to the community,” Caroline said.

“It really does contribute to our vision to make Victoria a better place.”

This year’s Juno program will conclude in mid-June with a “new-look” graduation ceremony for all participants. 

2018 participants
Richard Temlett, Karen Cowden, Jessamy Smooker, Caroline Monzon and Simon MacLennan

2019 participants
Nicole Shen, Emma Arkesteijn, Tim Miller, Kate Baker (Luke Osland and Oliver Smith also completed the program via NAB).

2020 participants
Sam Peart, Yogeeta Silva, Alice Reynolds and Julia Angove

Updated on 26 May 2023