“I started working at non-profit organisation Wingerdbloei as a remedial educationalist/psychologist nearly 20 years ago. I purposely chose this youth counselling centre because it matched my vision of youth care: uncompromisingly opting to pursue opportunities rather than focusing on limitations. It does require you to have the courage to step out of your comfort zone in terms of the way you think and act, not only as an individual and a team, but also as an organisation.
“I joined the board after being at Wingerdbloei for a year. That was a very organic process and it really encouraged me to be the best I could be. Then an imminent management change made me unsure about my role as a board member in the organisation.”
“The Board of Directors gave me the opportunity to participate in a mentoring programme with Ambits. My mentor, Jeroen, was a criminologist by training and was on the board of Child Focus, so he had an affinity with the youth care sector.
“He told me, ‘You’re part of Wingerdbloei’s DNA too, but I don’t hear and see enough evidence of that from you.’ And he was quite right, for several reasons. I realised that an organisation shouldn’t have to infer my vision from what I say or do – that wasn’t good enough. For example, every year I used to put down on paper what my vision of youth care was, but I never shared it with anyone within the organisation. Jeroen not only pointed out contradictions like this, but also helped me achieve a balance between what I feel, think, say and do. He drilled down into my mindset, helping me see myself more clearly. He didn’t offer any solutions, but he did come up with some options for making different choices.”
“I’m still a board member at Wingerdbloei and thoroughly enjoy it. Improving the services we provide remains my goal. I’m now less wait-and-see, not always as amenable, and I’m more willing to speak my mind than I sometimes used to be. That annual summary setting out my vision of youth care is now translated into practical measures within the organisation.”
“Mentoring makes you reflect more on your own motivation, the dilemmas you face, your background as a person and as a professional, how balanced you are, how you might come across to other people, your own barriers.”
Our newsletter is about leadership development through business mentoring.