The National Mentoring Program
On Wednesday 5 May, the Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth branches of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association simultaneously launched the 2021 National Mentoring Program. The Adelaide and ACT branches hosted their launch events earlier on 30 April 2021.
The National Mentoring Program is an annual Program, coordinated by the National Executive Team and works with each State Branch and local firms to run the state-based program. This year's National Executive Convenors were Jessica Teoh and Brian Vuong, State President and State Secretary of the South Australian Branch. The Program connects those within the same state and encourages relationship building between all participants and the wider legal profession, fostering a creative and meaningful connection with AALA.
The energy at each launch was positive and each branch thanks their local sponsor and all attendees.
The Sydney Launch
Particular thanks goes to Herbert Smith Freehills, Sydney, for their unwavering support of the Sydney Committee and the Mentoring Program. Each year AALA is thankful for the support we receive from Herbert Smith Freehills. The level of commitment demonstrated by your practitioners and Diversity and Inclusion team always shows a proven and genuine commitment to supporting cultural diversity in the legal profession. We particularly thank Madeleine Motion and Sunny Li, and Christine Tran who coordinated and opened the Sydney Launch on behalf of Herbert Smith Freehills.
The Sydney Launch was conducted to current COVID-restrictions and accordingly, we welcomed 50 of our Mentor and Mentees. Our guests heard from Christine Tran and the NSW President, Marija Gurlica.
Some words shared by Marija Gurlica:
"...The Asian Australian Lawyers Association brings people together who share a story about coming to and growing up in Australia, whether you are foreign qualified and have recently moved as an adult, or like me, you are a second/third generation Australian who has found your way somehow. As much as we can discuss our experiences as impediments or as intergenerational baggage, our experiences, our skills, our wisdom is a privilege and this is what I want everyone to take home with them tonight.
Your bilingual, trilingual tongue is the privilege to communicate through communities. Your front door syndrome experienced as a child is your ability to adapt and thrive. Your in-depth, cultural understanding of your heritage and your history, has armed you with a level of compassion and empathy that cannot be taught in a class room.
The greater diversity we can welcome and most importantly, retain in the legal profession today means we will have universities, workplaces, judiciaries and legislatures that reflect the community they serve.
An old line, but a good line is this: you cannot be, what you cannot see. The legal profession is undergoing a shift, albeit slow, we are progressing and the progress cannot continue unless we have an internal shift towards embracing all that we are and all who we serve...
AALA believes that this Mentoring Program is one small way we can contribute to this internal shift, connecting like-minded professionals to pass on wisdom, provide support and most importantly share stories."
Special thanks to all the Committee Members for their commitment to the Program, particularly Stefanie Cheong, Vijhai Utheyan, Maria Xu, William Zhou, Gillian Woon and Wai Kaey Soon.