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Applications open for Mentoring for Diversity programme

3 September 2013

Media Release

Applications open for Mentoring for Diversity programme

Applications opened today for the third year of the Institute of Directors’ (IoD) Mentoring for Diversity programme amidst a sense that progress is being made in New Zealand.

The programme, which aims to boost the number of women on NZX-listed and large company boards in New Zealand, pairs a highly experienced senior director or chairman with a woman who is looking to take that next step into a directorship in a large company environment. It provides excellent learning and networking experiences which are invaluable for the professional development of the mentees chosen.

IoD Chief Executive, Dr William Whittaker said, “We are pleased to launch the third year of our Mentoring for Diversity programme. The first two years of the programme have been a great success with several mentees being appointed to the board of large private and public companies including NZX listed, or soon-to-be listed companies. In addition, the feedback from mentees shows the significant value they have taken from the programme and their mentor.”

Speaking about her experience, Samantha Sharif, 2013 mentee, said, “I have found the programme invaluable for the opportunity it has provided to fast-track my governance networks and knowledge; and most of all for the opportunity to share the insights and comradeship of a seasoned and highly regarded senior director.”

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Mentor, Michael Stiassny believes the programme plays an important role in the drive to improve corporate performance “this programme which addresses the issue of the under-representation of women on NZX boards is an essential component of IoD’s wider diversity strategy. On a personal level being a mentor in the programme is an incredibly valuable experience. Often people think of mentoring as a one-way street, focusing solely on what value the mentee gets but in my experience the mentor gets almost as much out of the relationship as the mentee. The process gives you an opportunity to reflect and challenge your own thinking at that same time as helping someone else to develop themselves and their career.”

On diversity, Dr Whittaker said, “The IoD is committed to increasing the diversity of boards throughout New Zealand, not just gender diversity but true diversity of thought. Research is clear that diversity improves the quality of decision making. It is something all boards should strive for and shareholders should expect”.

“We believe that there is progress being made in the area of gender diversity on boards but there is still much more to be done. It was encouraging to see the Human Rights Commission’s Census of Women’s Participation results late last year showing a significant increase in the representation of women on boards of New Zealand’s top 100 companies. We look forward to seeing further improvement when the first full year of results from the new NZX diversity rule are reported in January 2014. The IoD encourages all boards to develop a realistic diversity policy for their organisation and bear the importance of true diversity of thought in mind when recruiting new board members,” he said.

Women who are interested in the programme should visit the IoD website (www.iod.org.nz) for further information about the programme, criteria and an application form.

Applications close at 12noon on Friday 20 September.

ENDS

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