They say experience is the best teacher, and that’s certainly been the case for the mentors at the Brisbane Business Hub. Now they’re passing on the hard-won wisdom they’ve built up over the course of their highly successful careers to help upcoming entrepreneurs reach new heights.
Andrew Coronis is the CEO of The Coronis Group. He’s spent more than 30 years in the property industry, starting out as a sales agent at his father’s ‘hole-in-the-wall’ agency before building a powerful network that includes 300 employees, 4000 buyers and sellers and 8000 investment properties.
He’s seen and done it all in the property business – and he says having mentors he could consult for advice has been crucial to his journey.
“I think it’s absolutely imperative, in whatever you do in your life, that you have a mentor you look up to that you can receive guidance from,” Andrew says.
“What it all comes down to is your goals. If you have strong goals that you want to achieve in your life, you’ve got to go and find someone who can help you achieve that.”
Andrew is a proud participant in the Brisbane Business Hub’s mentoring program, which launched in 2020. The program offers local business owners assistance in the form of free, one-on-one feedback and support from leaders in their industry.
Everyone has something to teach, everyone has something to learn
For Yasmin Sethi and Melinda Russell, the co-founders of Brisbane-based HR business Co-Lab, engaging a mentor wasn’t an obvious route for them to go down. Usually, they’re the ones dispensing advice, not receiving it.
“We’re mentors for people in the people and performance space,” Yasmin says. “But we were floundering a little bit with the growth of our business – we needed to talk to someone who could mentor us in the business development and strategy space.
Melinda says the benefits of consulting a mentor through the Brisbane Business Hub program have been obvious for Co-Lab.
“We found that as a start-up, we were going down one path, and we were probably reproducing some of the things we’d done in the past and just trying to replicate them again,” she says.
“When we sat down with our mentor, he asked us some straight questions about what we were trying to achieve. He helped us identify a different approach, and we found that when we started going down this new route, our business started to grow. It really was a tipping point for our business.”
Yasmin agrees that getting a new perspective from fresh – but experienced – eyes has been the key to putting Co-Lab on the right path.
“I think engaging a mentor is the best thing you could possibly do for your business,” she says. “They really are supportive. They want you to be successful in your business, and it’s been a very inclusive experience.”
On the other hand, Apéro Label co-founder and general manager Laz Smith – one of the Brisbane Business Hub’s mentors – says the mentees he’s met with have taught him as much as he’s taught them.
“As soon as I met my first mentee, it was obvious that I was going to get as much out of the mentoring process as they would,” Laz says.
“It’s been valuable for me to be able to share my experience with other people, and to reflect on my successes and my failures and consider what they’ve taught me. On the flip side, often the mentees will say something that might sound benign in the moment, but it’ll actually be a massive light bulb moment for me.”
The gift of giving
For Andrew Coronis, mentoring up-and-coming talents at the Brisbane Business Hub has been a way for him to give back after experiencing success at the highest levels of his industry.
“A big value of mine is giving back and helping people grow,” he says. “So if I can do that through the Brisbane Business Hub, if I can help people grow, then I get a lot out of the mentoring relationship.
“My experience as a mentor has been fantastic. It’s very rewarding to come and meet people from a diverse range of businesses and have to think laterally, not only for them, but for yourself as well. So I think it gives back both ways.”
If you’re considering becoming a mentor, Andrew says you should look at it from the perspective of what you can give back to the business community that helped to foster your own growth.
“You should not do it for any other reason than you want to help other people,” he says. “That’s the reward – knowing that you’ve made an impact and you’ve helped someone else on their business journey.”