Victoria Agyepong

When I moved to New Zealand as a young mum of two who had left a managerial role, I was happy to join my family and finally get funded to pursue an interdisciplinary PhD program at Lincoln University where I am developing a new analytical framework to curb misinformation in AI-led pathogen management in NZ Forests. However, I was terrified at the prospect of potentially starting all over again after working so hard to get into a leadership role in my career.

I thoroughly enjoyed mentoring and working with senior stakeholders in designing solutions. I was afraid that in a new system with zero network,  I may have just ruined my career. Then I joined the AWDT ‘s Generation Change Mentorship program as part of its maiden cohort. The mentorship program matched me with the best fit mentor, Janine Alfeld, who understood the challenges of immigrant professionals , working parents and how to navigate NZ’s policy development sphere. With her attentive , empathetic and knowledgeable approach to mentoring on career development in government and study-work-life balance as a mum , she helped me achieve my goals. For instance one of my goals was to establish a social enterprise that will improve immigrant workforce development outcomes and demonstrate my organizational leadership. As a young mum of two who had just immigrated and was figuring out my PhD, I  was completely overwhelmed with my new life but she helped me develop organizational, leadership and policy skills to balance work, life and study, understand the NZ context and create career advocates.

Today, I am happy to be a tech founder of a social enterprise that provides an online mentoring and peer learning platform for immigrants with families to access their education abroad with informed consent.  Also, I am now able to confidently communicate what I have to offer as a potential Policy and strategy leader for primary sectors with the NZ government. Finally I am mid-way to becoming a PhD candidate and still have ample time to be a present mum and spouse. I am so grateful for joining this program and cannot wait to see how far my learnings will take me in my personal life, studies and career. Join the next AWDT Generation Change mentorship program, it is for every girl who has a sparkle to lead. Definitely worth your time and effort!

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