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Mentoring for Diversity FAQs


The IoD’s Mentoring for Diversity programme was launched in 2011 to link experienced female directors (mentees) with chairs and senior directors (mentors) from NZX and large company boards.

The programme was expanded in 2015 to promote board diversity in its wider sense, and we welcome applications on the basis of diversity including gender, ethnicity, Māori whakapapa, LGBTI affinity, age, culture, disability, background, sector and experience.

The programme aims to:

  • assist mentees to gain knowledge and skills to help them achieve director appointments, particularly in large companies
  • increase mentees’ understanding of how listed and large company boards work
  • enhance the connections between senior directors and chairs, adding to the diversity of the director pool and making board-ready talent more visible.

How do I apply to be a mentee?

You need to complete an application form available on our website iod.org.nz/mfd

Applications must be completed and submitted by email to mentoring@iod.org.nz with a copy of your current governance CV by 12pm  Wednesday 08 April 2020 (note - this is an extension from the original 02 April deadline)

Applications received after this date will not be accepted.

What does it cost to apply for the programme?

There is no application fee to apply for the programme.

Mentors have agreed to participate in the programme on a voluntary basis.

How many mentees are selected?

We expect to select approximately 20 mentees for the 2020/21 programme.

Is the programme open to applicants throughout New Zealand?

Yes. We have mentors based across NZ. Mentees will be asked whether they prefer a mentor in their own location or are prepared to travel to meet with their mentor.  Mentees may be matched with a mentor outside their region if a mentor is not available in their location. Mentees will also be required to travel to Auckland four times per year – see below for details.

Do applicants need to be a member of the IoD?

Applicants do not need to be a member at the time of submitting their application, but they will need to join the IoD if they are accepted into the programme.

How many times will I meet my mentor each year?

Our mentees usually meet with their mentors 6-8 times per year. 

What are the criteria to apply?

  • You must be or intend to become a member of the IoD
  • You confirm you are actively looking for non-executive NZX or large company board position/s (rather than planning to in the future)
  • You need to be flexible with your availability to meet regularly with your mentor
  • You need to be able to commit to the Mentoring for Diversity programme (ie have the time and availability to properly commit the time required each month to prepare for the mentoring sessions and undertake the necessary work recommended by the mentor)
  • You should have the capacity to take on board positions (ie not too busy with other board, executive or personal commitments)
  • You are a New Zealand citizen, permanent resident or have the right to work and/or study for a period of at least five years
  • You have not already participated on the Mentoring for Diversity programme.

In addition:

  • you should not plan any significant overseas travel (more than two consecutive months) between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021; and
  • you should not already be a director on the board of two or more NZX or large companies
  • As a mentee, you will also need to travel to Auckland up to four times at your own expense-  once for the launch and briefing session on Tuesday 23 June 2020, twice for mentee sharing sessions (September 2020 and March 2021) and once for the end of programme celebration (late June 2021). All dates and times to be confirmed. 

How does the mentorship work?

The purpose of this programme is to provide support to ‘board-ready’ applicants who aspire to being appointed to the board of an NZX company or a large unlisted company.

The mentorship is not intended to be a training programme. Rather, mentors provide guidance based on their experiences on high performing boards, including networking, positioning, conduct, presentation (personal and CV), etc.

The form of mentoring will vary from candidate to candidate and mentor to mentor.

What is meant by the term ‘board-ready’?

Applicants usually have experience on boards of SMEs or larger non-commercial boards or are CEOs or executives dealing with a board.  They consider themselvesready to step up to a board of a NZX or large company.

Will the programme guarantee me a board position on completion?

No. Whilst the programme provides exceptional support and may open new doors for our mentees, we do not guarantee that you will obtain a board position after completing the programme.

74% of our past mentees have obtained board positions since completing the programme.

What skills do I need before applying for the programme?

Applicants are encouraged to undertake rigorous self-appraisal before applying and consider their eligibility against the following criteria.

Commercial experience

At least five years’ experience in one or more of the following:

  1. Commercial: as a senior executive or on leadership teamof an entity of some significance in the commercial sector, the listed or unlisted space (eglarge SME, family company, co-op, SOE); or
  2. Professional advisor:  as a senior professional advisor to a board of an entities of some significance (NZX or large unlisted or large company),  You might be a lawyer, accountant, investment banker providing specialist knowledge/advice to the board eg external and emerging markets, internationalisation, mergers and acquisitions and other legal issues; or
  3. Public sector: In a senior position within government, public sector or not-for-profit sectors that involves working closely with boards; and/or
  4. Growing your own business: demonstrable commercial expertise ie achieving significant and demonstrable success in growing a company within a governance structure.
Board experience

At least three years’ experience of boardroom practice, preferably as a board member of an entity of some significance, eg New Zealand subsidiary of an overseas group, large not-for-profit, crown entity, large SME or working closely with, and reporting to boards.

Knowledge and understanding

A clear appreciation of the roles and responsibilities of the director under the Companies Act 1993 and an excellent understanding of the value-adding role of the board as well as an appreciation of the distinction between governance and management.

Financial literacy

A high level of understand the financial position of the company through interrogation of financial statements, etc.


A well-developed critical faculty, independent thinking, ability to work in a team, confidence to ask questions, ability to evaluate own performance with a focus on continuous improvement, etc.

What should I include in my governance CV?

As part of the application process you are required to submit a governance CV. The IoD has guidelines on how creating governance CV on the website.

I have an extensive employment history. Should I list all the positions I have held?

No. We are primarily interested in your most recent experience and/or relevant board experience so it is not necessary to outline all experience. Please consider those positions which most relate to governance experience.

How are mentees selected?

Mentees are shortlisted by an internal selection panel, including the IoD’s Membership Programmes Manager, and Governance Services’ Advisor[MS1] The final selection will be made by our Board Diversity Panel, consisting of the IoD’s CEO, GM Members and key council members.

Do I have to complete the IoD’s Company Directors’ Course (CDC) or similar course in order to be selected?

It is not a pre-requisite to have completed CDC or other governance courses, although a commitment to training and upskilling in governance will be considered favourably.

When will mentees be notified whether they have been selected for the programme?

All applicants will be notified by 3 June 2020 as to whether they have been successful or not. Mentees will be selected by a selection committee made up of Mentoring for Diversity programme staff and IoD council members. Selections will be final and no review will be undertaken.

What happens after I am selected?

A briefing session and programme launch will be held late afternoon/early evening of 23 June 2020 in Auckland. The session will outline how the programme will work in greater detail. Expectations around the role of mentee and mentor will be covered, and  advice on how to get the most out of the programme. Each mentee will receive a copy of a mentee guide.

The programme runs for a 12 month period from 1 July 2020 until 30 June 2021. We suggest that mentors and mentees meet for at least an hour every two months. 

We recommend that the scheduling and format of your mentoring meetings is formal. 

There will be two mentee sharing events in September 2020 and February/March 2021. These will likely be held in Auckland or where the majority of mentees come from. All mentees are expected to attend. Dates of these sessions will be confirmed as early as possible. Travel is at the mentees expense. A briefing and congratulations session will be held at the beginning and end of the programme – 23 June 2020 and late June 2021.

A formal review of the programme will be undertaken midway through the programme. Mentees must commit to providing feedback in a timely manner as requested during the programme.

Who will meet the costs incurred by mentors and mentees?

The mentee and mentor will each bear any expenses incurred in participating in the programme. Where mentees have indicated that they are prepared to travel to meet with their mentor, the mentee will meet these travel costs.

Will mentees be offered a board position?

No. While it is hoped that mentees will upskill and obtain additional board appointments in the future, this is not within the scope of the project nor within the power of the IoD.

Can either party withdraw from the programme during the period?

The mentor and mentee are free to withdraw from the programme at any time by contacting IoD’s programme manager.   If a mentor withdraws from the programme before 31 December 2020, the IoD will attempt to find a suitable replacement. However, we cannot guarantee that this will be possible.

Will my name be made public if I am accepted into the programme?

The IoD reserves the right to use your information for marketing and publicity purposes as outlined in the terms and conditions within the application form.

We would expect to publish a  list of mentees on the IoD website and through our  social media channels.

What if I’m not selected?

Applicants who are not selected for the 2020/21 Mentoring for Diversity programme will be able to apply to join the programme in future years.

Have another question about the programme? Contact us