Mentoring for Diversity

Bring your diversity of ideas, perspectives and experience to the board table.

looking up at white wavy building

Mentoring for Diversity is for board-ready applicants looking for non-executive board appointments at large and NZX companies. The programme aims to improve participants’ governance knowledge and suitability for selection. It links participants with mentors who are leading and established chairs and directors from large and NZX company level.

We invite applications on the basis of diversity of gender, ethnicity, Māori whakapapa, LGBTI affinity, age, culture, disability, background and experience.

We invite your application if you:

  • have a solid track record as an executive or board adviser
  • have experience on a board of an entity of significance
  • believe your diversity can contribute to board performance
  • are ready to take governance positions at large and NZX companies.

Applying for the programme

To apply for Mentoring for Diversity, you should be able to accept the time and travel commitments of:

  • new board appointments at large and NZX companies
  • six to eight mentoring sessions
  • up to four programme events in Auckland.

You should also:

  • be looking for non-executive board appointments at large and NZX companies
  • not already be on the board of more than one large or NZX company.

Large and NZX companies look for board members with specific, specialist skills, supported by more generic skills, knowledge, and experience. In your application for this programme, you should demonstrate the specified:

Technical and operational skills

You should have at least five years’ experience with boards in a senior role:

  • a senior executive or manager in a medium, large, or NZX company
  • a senior professional adviser to boards of large organisations – commercial, not-for-profit, or public sector – or NZX companies
  • a senior leader in a not-for-profit or public sector organisation, working with boards
  • a businessperson with commercial expertise and governance experience in their own company.
Knowledge and understanding

You should understand:

  • the roles and responsibilities of directors under the Companies Act 1993
  • the role of the board
  • the distinction between governance and management.
Financial literacy

You should be able to understand the financial position of a company by interpreting financial statements and reports.

General attributes

You should have:

  • independence of mind
  • confidence to ask questions
  • a well-developed critical faculty
  • the ability to work in a team
  • the ability to evaluate your own performance with the aim of continuous improvement.

You should have at least three years’ governance experience, preferably on the board of a significant organisation. You may also be in a position advising or reporting to a board of a significant organisation.

The Mentoring for Diversity programme made me appreciate the benefits of a diverse board in terms of robust decision making
- Mentee, 2015-2016 cohort

How to apply

Applications for the 2020-21 programme are now closed.

Selection for the programme

An IoD internal selection panel shortlists applicants for the programme. Our board diversity panel makes the final selection of mentees. This panel is made up of our chief executive and selected IoD council members.

If you are not selected for the programme, you can apply again in future years. 

Doing the programme

Mentoring for Diversity runs for 12 months. Mentees pay for their own travel and cover their own costs participating in the programme.

We hold a briefing session with the mentees at the start of the programme. At this session we give our expectations about the roles of mentee and mentor, and advice on how to get the most out of the programme.

We hold two mentee knowledge-sharing events during the programme, which we expect mentees to attend. Mentees also commit to providing feedback when requested through the programme.

We hold a final sharing session and graduation at the end of the programme.

We expect that mentees and mentors meet for at least an hour every two months, at times convenient to both. We recommend that mentees and mentors keep the scheduling and format of their meetings formal.

Find out more

How is the Mentoring for Diversity programme progressing? (2019)

Mel Templeton mentee testimonial

Mel Templeton talks about her experience on the MFD programme

Amanda Santos mentee testimonial

Amanda Santos talks about her experience on the MFD programme

Our mentees

Congratulations to our 2020 mentees:

Jacqui Apiata-Coyne
Brent Carey
Tania Dickie
Analisa Elstob
Venus Guy
Jerry He
Laura Humphreys
Tina Jennen
Paula Kearns
Ben Kepes
Sarah Meikle
Jennifer Moxon
Rachel Ritchie
Kennie Tsui
Kate Vennell
Kate Yang

See a list of all past mentees on the Mentoring for Diversity programme