GROW Mentoring Program

14 April 2023

Authored by Hayball

GROW is a Hayball Mentoring Program initiated in 2018 by Erin Collins (photo left), currently co-led by Laura Ulph (photo right). Every year we find the best fit for both mentors and mentees, based on their interests and aspirations for the following year. The program has proven to be extremely rewarding and an amazing way to connect with colleagues. It’s a chance to reflect on personal and professional growth and development, while getting new insight from different perspectives and experiences.

Since the launch in 2018, 51 mentees have successfully benefited from the program, with 15 pairs starting in 2022.  Melbourne, being our largest studio, had the majority of participants.

As we’re kicking off 2023 GROW mentoring program we would like to share thoughts from some of our participants from last year.

Connecting Interstate

We’ve successfully fostered many interstate mentor / mentee relationships that have enhanced the rich exchange between studios.

‘The opportunity to be connected with both the Sydney and Brisbane teams through the GROW program is an invaluable experience. The interstate connections bring me many fresh ideas and insights beyond what we know and are accustomed to in our local studio.  It opened my mind to different and new ways of doing things. Open conversations like these help us to better understand our strengths and weaknesses not only from a personal level but also from a studio perspective. It allows us all to collectively improve what we do in each of the studios through the exchange of ideas.’

– Yuyuen Leow, Senior Associate

Business and Cultural Exchange

Our GROW program recognises the many dimensions of operating a national practice and the many individual and specialised talent it takes to make Hayball what it is. The program participants have the opportunity to expand their knowledge into other integral business areas such as finance, business development, and People and Culture initiatives.

‘GROW is incredibly valuable at the strategic level – it has given Tom and I the opportunity to reflect on the day-to-day operations of the business whilst strategising the future of the practice. The business of architecture is so dynamic, and GROW is a great vehicle for a deeper dive beyond the regular board meeting. What I also love about GROW is that it reinforces our ethos and who we are as a national practice, it fosters collegiate leadership throughout the practice and that translates into the way we think and design, and ultimately our love for community creation.’

– Kit Ku, Principal


Continuing Relationships

GROW establishes a framework for mentor / mentee relationships to thrive beyond the formal program, where authentic connections and friendships are formed—a core value of our practice culture—an appreciation for open exchange and knowledge sharing. David Tweedie (Principal) and Rhys McFarlane (Architect Graduate) realised a year is not enough to talk through all the burning topics on their agenda, therefore decided to extend their formal commitment into 2023, and no doubt they will continue beyond that.

‘Apart from enjoying GROW on a personal level, I find it really rewarding to able to discuss and answer tricky questions. This forces me to express my thoughts clearly and helps with shaping my own ideas and plans. I can have an opinion on something, but I need to mount it carefully for my mentees, so they can take it forward and look after themselves. It’s all about guidance, instead of managing and giving a fixed formula.’

– David Tweedie, Principal

‘It’s great to have someone who’s been through the ranks and has battle scars and lessons learnt to share from all kinds of experiences. We get into this industry and we’re a little bit lost and confused as to how to navigate not only project challenges, but also our personal development. We put up this professional façade, but it’s crucial to be able to share personal experiences, including frustrations(!), and cleanse you mind.’

– Rhys McFarlane, Architect Graduate