Developing the next generation of leaders – RSL LifeCare’s Laurie Leigh explains why she joined LASA’s Mentoring Program

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The Royal Commission into Aged Care’s Final Report – due by 26 February – is set to turn the system ‘upside-down’ – and that includes the sector’s leadership. Our back-of-envelope calculations are that there will be an exodus of experienced CEOs and senior management from the 800-plus RAC operators in the sector – up to 60% – within three to five years.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care has also pointed to the importance of new leadership to drive its reforms, with Commissioner Lynelle Briggs urging aged care leaders to step up or make way for new ‘blood’.

So, who will lead the way?

Laurie Leigh (pictured above), CEO of RSL LifeCare, says: “As senior leaders in aged care we must be part of developing the next generation of leaders.”

“Aged Care is an exciting place. We have talent and it’s our duty to grow and develop them to take on the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

Samantha Bowen, Principal Advisor of LASA’s Mentoring Program, says while mentoring is a resource many of us have benefited from, these connections are often missing from today’s workplace.

She has this advice for potential Mentors who may think they are too busy to fit mentoring into their schedule:

  1. Understand your ideal Mentee
    Know what you are looking for in a Mentee. This will ensure you can set aside time when someone asks for help and know when to say no. If you are already mentoring someone with particular characteristics, are you keen to support someone with similar challenges? Or perhaps you’re looking for a different perspective?
  2. Utilise your Mentor Tribe
    If you are someone constantly receiving mentoring requests, now is the time to utilise the skills of those you trust. As an established mentor, you have a strong network of people you have supported in the past. These individuals can be drawn upon to support great mentoring experiences and show you that your coaching legacy will continue to grow into the future. Plus, your past Mentees will be eternally grateful to give back through the recommendation of someone they trust.
  3. Get help preparing
    Your Mentee is creating an environment of support and you can ask for guidance in how to prepare for these mentoring sessions. Ask your Mentee to send through an agenda or a core objective they would like to focus upon. Having these prior to your meeting will ensure you can spend the session sharing and connecting.
  4. Integrate catch-ups into your daily routine
    Many mentors take their mentoring sessions as Facetime sessions during their commutes to/from work, others meet Mentees at the local park for their afternoon exercise/walk.
    It is possible to integrate your Mentee sessions into the things you do every day.
    If you are going to undertake less formal sessions, we recommend the Mentee emails you afterwards with a summary of their learnings and the actions they will undertake – or confirm they are using a reflective journal. Otherwise, the learnings shared tend to get lost in the moment.
  5. Seek support in other ways
    Formal mentoring programs can be a great resource to connect you with Mentees outside your traditional network. Not only do they undertake the matching process, but a great program will also offer ongoing coaching, support the formation of mentor-mentee outcomes and more. These programs ensure both the Mentor and Mentee are connected based on established skills and experiences and have an established expectation of the time and communication requirements for these roles.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being a mentor,” Laurie says. “We worked through defining my Mentee’s role and supporting her COVID-19 experiences – which has helped with preparing my own staff.”

“The structure in the first few weeks for the Mentees was great for supporting the setting up of expectations.”

A survey of the inaugural program reiterated its success with 100% of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that their expectations were met and all said they would recommend the program to others.

The LASA Mentoring Program – a new initiative from LASA’s Centre for Workforce Development & Innovation – is looking for Mentors and Mentees to support current and emerging leaders in their career development.

The program begins on 22 February 2021.

Learn more at their website, call 1300 111 636, and email



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The Weekly SOURCE is the leading media for retirement living and aged care businesses, delivering sector-specific news through four mastheads. Operating as part of The DCM Group, The Weekly SOURCE also provides a directory of proven sector specialists and an insights exchange.