Systematiq supports Women in Transport: Mentoring Program 2023

Systematiq’s Maria Montealegre recently took to the stage at the Women in Transport (WiT) Mentoring Program Launch, providing insight into her experience in the program as a mentor.

Hosted in RMIT’s aesthetic Storey Hall, the vast auditorium was packed with attendees hailing from across the Australian transport industry. With every seat filled and the venue at capacity, the atmosphere of the event was lively and energetic.

The WiT Mentoring Program has been a key aspect of the Victorian Government’s Women in Transport initiative since its inception in 2017. The program aims to cultivate supportive and productive mentor-mentee relationships for young women within the male-dominated transport sector, whilst also serving as an opportunity for mentors to share their experience and contribute to a positive future for the capability of women in transport. With women and people of diverse gender identities representing only approximately 21% of the total workforce in the Victorian public transport sector, the need for equal gender representation and participation within the industry has never been more important, in order to remove barriers to entry for female graduates and achieve a more inclusive and robust workforce.

Every year, the WiT Mentoring Program draws in hundreds of mentor applicants, keen to support a culture of positive learning and female empowerment in the transport industry. 2023 was no different—with 628 applications for mentors and mentees and 257 successful mentor-mentee relationships solidified—the popularity of the WiT Mentoring Program is testament to the forward-thinking individuals who are committed to making a positive change in the Victorian transport sector.

Systematiq Senior Consultant Maria Montealegre is one of those people. With experience both as a mentee and a mentor, she was one of the three presenters that took to the stage during the Program Launch event, along with her mentee Shweta Chettiar, and Tifanny Hunter, the managing director and mentoring specialist of Nerdu Badji Education.

Systematiq’s Maria Montealegre shares her experiences

Maria spoke in-depth on her experience with Shweta, and the kind of support she provided in her role as a mentor; with an emphasis on the importance of inspiring young women in the industry with self-confidence—a sentiment which was echoed throughout the event.

When met with feelings of low self-esteem, imposter syndrome, and constant doubt regarding her work and her role, Shweta was able to fall back on Maria’s advice and support, serving as a form of validation, and allowing her to develop a stronger sense of assuredness in herself.

Through the Mentoring Program, Maria also provided her mentee with the steps required to advance her career. By offering guidance and building self-confidence in mentees at critical career transition points, mentors such as Maria are able to improve opportunities for young individuals and dismantle structural barriers which inhibit the capability of women in transport.

In an exclusive interview with Systematiq, Maria provides some advice for those who are just at the beginning of their mentor journey:

‘From my experience, both mentors and mentees should prioritise building trust in your relationship from the first meeting. These initial meetings are crucial, so ensure that you clearly outline what your expectations are, and what you hope to get out of the experience.’

She also comments on the importance of being a mentor, and the value of the Mentoring Program:

‘We all are beginners at some point. So, for young women trying to excel in any area or aspect of your career or personal life, it’s important to find someone with more experience to guide you, in order to help you to achieve your long-term goals in a shorter amount of time.’

Systematiq commends Maria and Women in Transport for fostering a nurturing environment for personal development and professional growth, where young professionals can be empowered to recognize and achieve their career aspirations within the Victorian transport industry.

We are encouraged by the popularity of the mentoring program this year, and are proud of Maria for her contributions to this culture-changing initiative.

Congratulations to Women in Transport for the successful launch; Systematiq is in support of your goal in creating an ‘empowered, enduring, and energetic future’ for women in Victoria’s transport industry.