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Making mentoring matter with Women in Mining South Africa

Mentoring matters to everyone. But for women, mentoring can be a particularly crucial catalyst for change in their careers.

Mentoring, when done right provides a supportive and empowering environment for mentees to develop their skills, gain confidence, and make strategic career decisions. It also provides an opportunity for women to build networks, expand their knowledge and expertise, and gain exposure to new opportunities. With the right mentorship, women can accelerate their careers, break through barriers, and achieve greater success in their professional lives.

This is exactly what we've seen in the Women in Mining South Africa Group Mentoring Programme in 2021 and 2022, and why in 2023, as the strategic partner to WIMSA for this programme, I'm thrilled to be onboarding 50 new mentees into the programme.

Conceptualising the WIMSA Mentoring Programme

A couple years ago I was part of a Women in Leadership course. One of our assignments was to design a mentoring programme for our company or organisation. At the time I worked by myself, and needed to look outside of my 1-person company for a larger organisation as my subject. I happened to also be a committee member of Women in Mining South Africa and mentoring was something we talked about a lot, and offered to members in a variety of ways. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to use WIMSA as the subject for my assignment.

The key challenge for WIMSA at the time was that the majority of members are located remotely, while mentoring was taking place in person at events held in Johannesburg. Looking back on this now, it's hard to believe that pre-Covid, the concept of taking a mentoring programme online, seemed like such a leap of faith. But at the time, it was a novel concept not only to take mentoring online, but to offer it as a group peer-to-peer mentoring programme when elsewhere so many programmes are one-on-one pairings of mentor and mentee.

The programme needs money

Like all programmes run by volunteer organisations, the mentoring programme needed funding, and the very first sponsor to come on board was AMIS as a result of the foresight and passion that Raksha Naidoo has for mentoring.

Raksha Naidoo, 2023 - 2024 WIMSA Chairperson
People are the heartbeat of any organisation, and when the opportunity to partner with WiMSA as a sponsor of the mentorship programme came out, we grabbed the opportunity. And what a journey it has been! Briony created the entire programme and this virtual family of mentees and mentors. I was fortunate to join the mentorship subcommittee, and whilst I was there as a committee member and mentor, I was mentored in every session. Briony has crafted a unique and powerful programme to cover a full spectrum of topics and tools that help aid both career and personal development. She has a unique gift in bringing people together and then helping them and guiding them to become stronger and more powerful versions of themselves. I know this because I experienced it first hand, as I take my learnings and experiences of this mentorship programme into my leadership everyday. I am so excited to welcome the 2023 Mentees, who I know will have an ever more powerful experience, as with each year this programme just gets better! - Raksha Naidoo

In 2023 the WIMSA Mentoring Programme has garnered significant interest and increased sponsorship almost 10-fold with the following organisations demonstrating their commitment to and belief in the power of mentoring women:

Leverage your career value chain as the basis for the programme

Over the 10-month programme, mentees will learn how to strengthen all aspects of their career value chain to ensure they:

  • optimize how they position their expertise and their personal brand,

  • advocate for themselves rather than relying on their work to do that for them,

  • nurture and leverage their professional networks,

  • ensure they remain relevant and at the forefront of their industries,

  • quieten their inner critics to cultivate self awareness and a CEO mindset,

  • develop their personal board of directors and

  • extract maximum value from their competencies to deliver maximum value to their stakeholders.

Geographic and professional representation across the mining industry

The 50 mentees in 2023 are young professional women in the mining industry from across the South African mining landscape. They represent all careers in the mining industry including human resources, training, accounting, project management, lecturing, mining engineering, plant metallurgists, quantity surveying, cost engineering, technical engineering, chemical engineering, safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ), geology, process optimisation, and process control.

Our mentees represent diverse mining houses, suppliers and consultants to the mining industry and are located in almost all the provinces of South Africa as well as as well as two women working outside of South Africa in Zambia and Sudan.

Be bold be brave be you

As we embark on onboarding the 50 mentees I feel a sense of trepidation of "can I do this again?" and I know that is my inner critic getting agitated with me for again stepping out of my comfort zone and growing this programme into a bigger and more prominent initiative.

At the same time I am reminded that 76 women have already had access to this programme, that the value of this programme is proven, and that I come away from every single session confident in the amazing women I meet in the mining industry, knowing that peer mentoring works, and appreciating that I gain as much, if not more mentoring as I give into this programme.

If ever I am in doubt that I am doing the work I am meant to do, witnessing how the mentees in this programme grow and thrive, melts away any doubts that I have that the work I do matter, that mentoring (and coaching) matter.

The WIMSA motto in 2023 is Be BOLD Be BRAVE Be YOU - and I can't think of a better way to kick off this mentoring programme - boldly partnering with WIMSA, bravely stepping out of my comfort zone along side 50 women who are doing the same, and embracing the mentoring that I give as well as receive, to be a more courageous, compassionate and curious version of myself this year.

I can't wait to hold our first session for 2023 and extend my thanks to WIMSA for allowing me to partner with them to offer this programme and to the WIMSA Mentoring Sub-Committee, who are all alumni of the 2021 and 2022 programme, for volunteering their time to this year's cohort of mentees. Unity Shiburi, Chane de Jager, Ndamulelo Mutshinya, Phathutshedzo Claudia Musalafu , Mpho Maifale, Humbulani Havhi, Vilencia Parsaraman, Siphokazi Garane we have an exciting year ahead of us.

More information

If you would like to run this mentoring programme in-house or you want to join a private online group mentoring programme that will launch in June 2023 please let me know by emailing me at


I work with my clients to show up with courage, compassion and curiosity by helping them get conscious of their inner narrative so that they create a narrative that's not just about surviving, but about connecting to their whole self so that they can thrive - in their careers, as leaders, in their communities, within themselves.

If you would like to explore how coaching could support you in your journey as a courageous, compassionate and curious leader, I invite you to schedule a discovery call with me.


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