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Franklin Women Series Part 4 : Growing through the Franklin Women Mentoring program

Dr Nicole Caixeiro

Nicole Caixeiro, CONCERT Manager, was great at her job. She was getting promotions and her career looked like it was steaming ahead. But there was one crucial thing missing: confidence.

Enter the 2018 Franklin Women Mentoring Program.

“The program came at a perfect time for me as I transitioned into my new role as CONCERT Manager. In my new role, I needed to form relationships with people from my peers to those at the most senior level and I needed to gain confidence to do that,” Nicole explains.

The program provided an opportunity for Nicole to focus on improving her communication and relationship-building skills.

“I’m now able to approach people that I wouldn’t previously have been able to talk to. Learning these skills has opened up new opportunities for me,” says Nicole.

“Without the program, I would have continued to be the quiet, hard-worker in the corner.”

Dr Jane Kohlhoff

Jane Kohlhoff, Senior Lecturer at UNSW’s School of Psychiatry and Research Fellow at Karitane, came to the 2018 program with different needs.

“I felt that I had been working solo for a long time. Although I knew I was doing well in my work, I needed someone who could help me to strategically plan my career going forward.”

Coupled with this need was a desire to figure out how best to manage her time as an academic and a mum of two young children.

“I needed to find a way to balance my life so that my work wouldn’t encroach on my family life and vice versa. I also wanted to make a space in my life where I could think about my career objectively and in a structured way,” says Jane.

Both Nicole and Jane agree that the best part of the program was the one-on-one sessions they had with their mentors.

“While I enjoyed the workshops, the sessions with my mentor benefited me more personally as they were tailored specifically around my needs,” explains Jane.

Nicole agrees, adding that she connected so well with her mentor, Rohina Joshi, that they continue to keep in regular contact even though the program has officially ended.

While the mentees of the Franklin Women Mentoring Program are women, the mentors can be of either gender. Jane’s mentor was a male which Jane said worked really well as he was able to provide a different perspective.

“I sometimes felt that my mentor truly believed I could do anything and that was a nice feeling,” says Jane.

Asked to provide one pivotal piece of take-home advice that resonated with them, Nicole said, “You need to take opportunities but you should be selective about the opportunities that you do take. In other words, don’t take on so much that you lose work-life balance.”

Jane added, “The program taught me about how important it is to be aware of your personal values and strengths and to work within that framework to achieve your goals.”

If you’re interested in participating in the Franklin Women Mentoring program, go to for information.