Charbel and Michael make the most of mentoring

Mon 12 February 2018

profile photo of Charbel Kadib and Mike Volkiene

Michael motivates through mentoring

Michael Volkiene, has worked at ANZ for eleven years. He heard about the Australian Network on Disability (AND)’s Positive Action towards Career Engagement (PACE) Mentoring program four years ago when a speaker from AND presented at a staff meeting.

“I wanted to volunteer as a way to give back, but I wasn’t prepared for what I got out of it. It has broadened my perspective and enabled me to make some changes to become a better leader,” said Michael.

One of Michael’s mentees was Charbel Kadib.

“Charbel is an amazing guy. He has had plenty of obstacles thrown in front of him but he is determined to do well. He is very ambitious,” said Michael.

Michael was able to take learnings from his previous two mentees to work in partnership with Charbel towards his goals.

“All of my mentees have been different. My first mentee experienced mental health issues, and the second had an intellectual disability. Charbel is vision impaired. My communication skills have improved as I needed to adapt to each person’s individual needs,” said Michael.

The pair focused on developing Charbel’s skills base and building his resilience in interview situations. They talked about the structure of interviews and how to proactively talk about Charbel’s disability in a way that would address employer concerns and remove any unconscious bias.

“He hasn’t worked before so repetition was key. We did around eight to ten mock interviews in different situations to build his ability to sell himself using the Situation, Task, Action, Result (STAR) method. I was proud to hear when he was successful at his first interview,” said Michael.

Michael is confident he will participate in PACE again and recommends it to others who want to grow their leadership skills.

“I have found the  program to be challenging and inspiring. I feel 100% more confident to work with people with disability. It is extremely rewarding to see people grow, learn, develop and reach their professional goals,” said Michael.

“As a leader PACE is absolutely one of the best things you can do and the added bonus is the friendships I have made,” he said.

Charbel makes the most of mentoring

Charbel Kadib, from Croydon Park, is looking forward to starting his career in a media or Government role.

He studied Politics and Journalism at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney and, supported by an innovative mentoring program run by the Australian Network Disability (AND), he is well on his way.

Charbel has an eye condition called Stargartd’s disease. It is a type of macular degeneration that causes a progressive loss of central vision.

“I don’t use vision aids, like a cane or a dog to get around, but I do use Zoomtext, a magnification software, to read and study,” said Charbel.

The Positive Action towards Career Engagement (PACE) Mentoring program supports jobseekers with disability to develop their skills and confidence in a workplace setting.

Mentors are selected from organisations that are members of AND, a national, membership based organisation that aims to advance inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of business.

Charbel was matched with a mentor from ANZ, Michael Volkiene.

“Mike was great. I gained a lot form the experience, mainly around interview preparation. I wanted to increase my confidence to find a job and I definitely achieved that,” said Charbel.

Following completion of the program, Charbel was successful in securing a paid internship position with the Department of Communications.

The internship is part of AND’s Stepping Into Internships program, supporting penultimate and final year graduates to gain meaningful paid work experience.

Internships are offered across most disciplines, including business, commerce, law, HR, marketing, communications, IT, engineering and social sciences to name a few.

“Anyone considering joining PACE should apply, they will definitely benefit. I will stay in touch with Mike. He’s not just a mentor, he’s a friend,” said Charbel.

PACE Mentoring is a 16-week program which takes place twice a year. Mentors and mentees meet approximately 6-8 times during the 16-weeks.

Visit or call 1300 363 645 for more information about the Australian Network on Disability or about the PACE Mentoring program. 

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