Irise’s Mentorship Circle empowers young people to find their strengths
“A weakness is only a weakness in certain contexts; something that is a weakness in one situation is a strength in another.” This was the key take away from the Mentorship Circle meeting in June, where participants were encouraged to see their perceived weaknesses as valuable characteristics.
Breaking Down Traditional Hierarchies
The Irise Mentorship Circle brings together aspiring and seasoned leaders to mentor each other to realise their full potential as change makers. The Mentorship Circle takes a non-hierarchical structure. The ethos is that everyone, regardless of age, has value and everyone has something positive to contribute. Both groups are invited to share their experiences, listen, and learn from each other.
Connecting Aspiring and Experienced Leaders
In March, we hosted the first ever Mentorship Circle meeting, connecting change makers across the globe. Young people from across contexts came together to share their experiences and one overarching factor kept cropping up as their biggest barrier: identifying, and believing in, their own strengths.
With a renewed focus, The Mentorship Circle ensured young people had the tools and support to identify their strengths. The following session encouraged participants to take the Myer-Briggs test to understand qualities that make them unique. In that way, participants were encouraged to reflect on their perception of a ‘weakness’.
To further support our members to identify their strengths, we invited human rights lawyer and advocate, Cianne Jones, and Irise program officer, Patricia Humura to share their stories on how they found their purpose and became leaders in their field.
Patricia talked about her childhood and how she listened to the affirmations of her teacher who told her that she was a good public speaker. By accepting the positive things said about her, Patricia was well aware of what she had to offer and used this self-awareness to guide her in her career pursuit. Cianne also talked about her childhood and advised participants not to undermine their strengths that might not fit traditional masculine perceptions of leadership.
Advice from current leaders encouraged members to see that successful leadership can come in different forms. Having been presented with the idea that there is no one way to be a good leader, participants were encouraged to introspect and tap into their own unique leadership qualities.
By Georgia Nolan-Rose.