Combining a personal dream with wanting to “pay-it-forward", Haim Ozchakir, the visionary behind Mentor it Forward, has a simple goal: to connect aspiring professionals with seasoned mentors to foster career development and personal growth.
Ozchakir’s initiative, which was launched in September this year, offers people who want guidance and career support a six-month mentorship with people who have “been there, done that” and want to give back and share their experience and business acumen.
He is also partnering with CCIWA so Members can join the program as mentors or mentees.
“It’s addictive,” Ozchakir says, who has more than two decades of professional experience, mainly in digital technology.
“There is a profound gap between those seeking guidance and support and the wealth of experience and knowledge possessed by others eager to share. My mission is to bridge this gap, to seamlessly connect these two realms, fostering meaningful connections and facilitating the exchange of knowledge.”
Closing the gap
Six months ago, Ozchakir decided to take a career break. He spent time helping his “inner circle” of friends and colleagues with career guidance and advice.
He quickly realised there was a need for a more formal mentoring program.
“I started with one person who quickly turned into two and then the third one came in. It dawned on me that what initially seemed like an individual's quest for mentorship unveiled a much more significant, collective challenge,” Ozchakir says.
Ozchakir says there are about 50 mentors currently working with mentees across Australia in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales but also in New Zealand, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel. The program pairs individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences, and industries.
One of the program’s early adopters was Clint Collard, CCIWA Associate Director, Digital & Technology, who could see the benefits of the program.
“CCIWA is about making West Australia the best place to do business and live. Why not get involved?” he says.
“This is about fostering our local talent and getting them into the right position to succeed so that businesses can succeed.
“I suppose I can see that a little bit with Mentor it Forward as it helps expand on that attitude and culture we have at CCIWA and that's why I think it's a great opportunity for a partnership to help foster Western Australia and the greater business community.”
Collard, who is currently mentoring someone in the medical industry, says he has been providing guidance to mentees “for years”.
“I think that's a really important relationship in everyone's career; to have that guidance, advice and perspective from someone who can challenge you to do things a different way.
“That helps you adjust your perspective and get a broader experience range.”
Partnership with CCIWA
Ozchakir says anyone who seeks career guidance can apply for the program. It’s free and the mentors are all volunteers, driven by a passion for contributing to the professional growth and development of individuals and fostering a supportive and collaborative community.
He says after talking to Collard, who he has known for a few years, and CCIWA Membership Engagement Manager, Nora Saaid, he realised the two companies have similar goals and aspirations.
“In the brief span since our inception, the swift accumulation of success stories and testimonials serves as living proof that our shared objectives are not only within reach but can be exceeded,” Ozchakir says.
“Collaborating with CCIWA, dedicated to championing businesses of all sizes, amplifies our potential to achieve remarkable outcomes.
“Empowered by CCIWA, anyone can boldly declare, 'I'm ready to be part of something extraordinary –I aspire to be a mentee, soaking in wisdom from our local community, or I'm eager to step up as a mentor, ready to share my valuable experiences with others’.
“So, by collaborating with CCIWA, I’m confident that our impact will reach new heights across WA.”
For more information on the Mentor it Forward program, click here.
To be part of WA’s peak business organisation, get in touch via 1300 422 492 or [email protected].