The transformative power of mentorship

Janessa Pickering Mentoring

Mentorship has long been a cornerstone of professional growth, whether through formal programs or the natural mentorship that occurs when working closely with others. It provides vital support, fosters meaningful connections, and leaves a lasting impact on both the mentor and mentee.


For Dr. Janessa Pickering, the diversity of cross-sector participants in ACvA’s Mentorship Program was an irresistible draw. As a dedicated researcher at the Perth-based Telethon Kids Institute and a Board member of the Western Australian Cardiovascular Research Alliance (WACRA), she saw the program as a golden opportunity.


Despite her strong background in microbiology, particularly relevant to Rheumatic Heart Disease, Dr. Pickering felt she lacked a complete picture of the broader cardiovascular sector and the groundbreaking research happening across Australia.


She recalls, “When this program came along, I instantly recognised it as a chance to branch out further and make a more significant contribution.”


Dr. Pickering didn’t anticipate just how much insight she would gain about the different sectors surrounding research. “This new perspective helps me see exactly where research fits in the world compared to how I saw it before.”


She highlights the benefits of encouragement, endorsement, and having someone to listen and understand the day-to-day challenges in her field.


“Mentors allow you to see things in a completely new way. The insights they provide are true ‘light bulb’ moments.”


Dr. Pickering describes her mentor as ‘a very special person,’ praising her for providing practical support, such as preparing for fellowship interviews, reaching out to new collaborators, and connecting with experts she wouldn’t have otherwise met. “She helps me not to stress the little stuff. She always brings positive energy to our meetings and brightens up my week!”


Of course, the mentor/mentee relationship isn’t always guaranteed to work. Personalities can clash, but Dr. Pickering appreciated how comprehensive the Mentoring Program was, with tools and agreements in place to structure the early meetings and ease any initial awkwardness.

“I’ll take this framework into any new mentor/mentee relationship.”


Dr. Pickering is emphatic about the benefits of participating in a mentorship program. “If you care about your development, it’s the perfect thing for you!”