Mentor story: Jenni Donald

When Jenni Donald, who recently retired from veterinary pathology, heard VCNZ were looking for mentors she quickly signed up and is now mentoring two graduates; one based in Auckland and one in the Waikato.

“I found Mentorloop easy to use. The resources in Mentorloop and the Proskills programme provide templates for mentoring agreements, suggested formats and meeting minutes, which gives great structure to our meetings. We talk about how things are going on a personal level; what their case load is like or if they are having any issues. We always seem to spend lots of time on interesting cases they have seen. Some meetings we talk about their professional development and where they see themselves in the future.”

“The mentoring sessions have been going really well, we’ve never missed a session, which is a testament to my mentees. We meet once a month online which keeps things moving and gives us the ability to keep in touch. At the end of the meetings, we set a date for the next session and after the meeting I’ll send them minutes of what we spoke about,” she says.

Jenni initially worked in science for 10 years before changing career paths and completing a veterinary degree. Following this, she completed a PhD and spent time in America doing specialist training in clinical pathology. She says that one of the appeals of using Mentorloop to match mentees and mentors was being able to read through the CV’s and identify vets with an interest in her areas of speciality.

“I was able to read the CV’s and see what their skills were and how I could help people. Being a vet is a tough job when you first get out there and trying to find balance can be difficult. Having somebody neutral from outside the organisation they work for, who can be there for them, is quite important,” she says.

Overall, Jenni says that she has found mentoring to be a satisfying experience that she would encourage others, retired or still working, to consider.

“I think that when you retire, mentoring is a great way to keep in touch with the profession. I get a lot out of it. It feels like I’m giving something back, which was a big motivator for me to get involved, and it keeps the brain ticking,” she says. “I would definitely recommend giving mentoring a go, it’s a valuable experience.”