More Than Monthly Macchiatos: Mentoring for impact.
Author Kiarah Grace Kelly
I had been so looking forward to Jen’s presentation at the Retreat 2019 that Hannah and I, on our way down to Kingscliff on Friday, rearranged our whole weekend just so I could write this recap. Jen has long been an incredibly inspiring force for me, there’s only a very special few people in our industry that would, despite their success and influence, find the time to keep a tabs of and even reach out to law students and early career lawyers to just check in. Jen has often done just that for me throughout my studies and now my early career and I am incredibly indebted to her for the inspiration she has given me. Here’s Jen’s story…
Jen started her life as a lawyer as a 22 year old, the age I am now. Jen was an all-rounder, jill-of-all-trades superstar at her first firm; a sole, general practice.
Jen bravely remembers her very early carer as being filled with unbelievable pressure, Jen described real difficulty.
Jen is the eldest sister, she was the valedictorian at her high school- she knew how to use her voice. Her experience as being everything to her sole-practitioner boss but not being everything she needed to be for herself, took her voice. Enter, the angel in the red power-suit.
The Angel in the Red Power-Suit (with shoulder pads)
Jen’s voice was down but not out, she used her voice to talk to her loved ones about how she was feeling and from there she was introduced to the angel in the red-power suit (with shoulder pads, it was 1996 after all).
Three hours into her lunch date with the angel, and the suit, Jen was still crying. Jen felt hopeless and that she just couldn’t do it. It was here that Jen received an incredibly powerful piece of advice- “Jen, you’ve never done this before.” A lightbulb moment for me for sure, this part of Jen’s presentation reminded me of the quote that says- “if you judge a fish in its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing it is stupid.” A message I will absolutely be taking from this part of Jen’s presentation is that we can only know what we know, until we know more.
The angel and the suit inspired Jen’s passion for mentoring. Jen went on to tell us all how her next move into a mid-tier firm taught her to talk and then talk some more to people who need it. Jen became known for her empowering honesty in that business, one that was full of competition. Jen’s empowering honestly became her superpower and her superpower became mentoring.
The Why and How of Mentoring
The law is a people business. People are at the centre of all we do and Jen tells us that mentoring, whilst also being the best thing she’s ever done, allows her to be a people person. Jen goes on to tell us that mentoring allows a diversity of experiences and beliefs into her legal life, and that brings joy to the mentor and the mentee. Jen tells us that mentoring has become at part of her, it has stayed with her since the angel and the suit.
Great mentoring, Jen tells us, comes from mentors that hang on to their mentees and mentees that hang on to their mentors. Great mentors ask questions, they won’t tell their mentees what to do.
Jen's C Game
Jen teaches her mentees, and encourages us to adopt, the C Game. The C Games insists we don’t Criticise ourselves, Condem ourselves or Compare ourselves to others. Instead we must be Conscious, be Curious, be Compassionate, be Courageous, be Confident and have a Community.
When being Curious we don’t need to accept what we have if it doesn’t suit us. When being Curious, we must name our feelings. When being Compassionate we must first practice it with ourselves. When being Courageous, we must remember it only takes 20 seconds of bravery to start something new. When being Confident, we must know we are free to do so; confidence is the general view of how likely you are to achieve something based on your past results, it is not arrogance.
With her C Game, Jen doesn’t always need her A Game.
I am truly so grateful for Jen and her impact on the Club but also on myself. I can’t thank Jen enough for particularly pointing to early career lawyers and letting them know how they are feeling is okay, and that they are not alone. As there is no one better to talk all things Jen, then Jen herself, I will leave you all with some quotes from Jen-
“you can be happy, hurting and healing at the same time”
“life is full of befores and afters, it is the stuff of being human”
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jen.
Thank you to our partners for helping us bring The Retreat 2019 (a law conference like no other!) to you!
THIS SESSION WAS SPONSORED BY
My friends over at Vincents Chartered Accountants— aka John Thynne and Peter Haley are joining us for the 2 days of business and law innovation fun! John and I have been working together for many many years now and the value, knowledge and bad dad jokes he brings to my clients and their matters is just incredible. John and the team at Vincents specialise in the provision of expert evidence into the Family Law arena.
Vincents are expanding their “Vin-link”— a support network for accounting and legal firms to give them access to knowledge of Vincents specialty services they don’t have in their practices such as business valuations, forensics, taxation, superannuation, financial advisory, insolvency or audit. The program gives members free telephone access to the specialists, webinars, seminar and events. More importantly, the programs puts members together who can benefit from each other.
John and Peter invite you to join the Vin-link program and if you mention #theclubretreat they will waive your monthly membership fee for the first year.
Kiarah Grace Kelly
Blogger and Happy Lawyer
Hi! I am Kiarah Grace Kelly, I have just finished a dual Bachelors degree in Law and Government and International Relations at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. I tested my legal toes in the water at a boutique Gold Coast law firm before starting as a Law Graduate at Brisbane Family Law Centre in November 2018. I’ve just been admitted here in Queensland which makes me a Brand New Lawyer or #babylawyer as the BFLC gang likes to say. My sole practice area is Family Law.
I’m looking forward to writing about and sharing with you all that I can at this crazy-exciting but daunting stage of my career. I think there’s a need to talk about our experiences as early career lawyers so that we can all lean on each other as much as we can.
I would love to connect with you on Linkedin and Instagram!