Prize-winning lawyer credits good mentoring as the secret to success

Emily MacDonald has won Bond's Young Alumni of the Year Award. Photo by Cavan Flynn.

CONTENT SUPPLIED: Receiving the Young Alumni prize at this year’s Bond University Alumni Awards is fitting reward for Emily MacDonald, a young woman who’s spent much of her time giving to others.

MacDonald, who graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Psychological Science, said she was thrilled to receive the award.

“I’m excited, I was really surprised but really excited, and quite honoured to be nominated.”

During her time at Bond, MacDonald opted in to the newly-introduced Beyond Bond professional development programme, a decision which had a lasting impact on her.

“A lot of the things you’re required to do to complete the Beyond Bond programme, you’re also required to do in large workplaces, things like the reflections, accepting feedback. I think those are really unique and valuable skills.”

But it was Bond’s emphasis on mentoring relationships that not only made a huge impression on MacDonald, but led her to want to also support others.

“I think something that was different about my university experience from some of my colleagues who didn’t go to Bond was the emphasis that it placed on relationships, specifically mentoring relationships, and I think that comes from it being a very small university and a really diverse university. I think there’s a lot of value in having a really diverse student population but also a very small student population because you’re exposed to loads of different people, people of different ages and backgrounds.”

Even now, working as a lawyer at MinterEllison in Brisbane, MacDonald has retained strong relationships with some of her Bond lecturers.

“I have talked to other people and I don’t think they’ve had a similar experience where their teachers and their fellow students became a professional and personal mentor to them, and I think that the culture of really supporting each other is unique to Bond.”

MacDonald, who attended Bond under an Indigenous community excellence scholarship, said her small-town upbringing in Macksville NSW influenced her to help her fellow students, particularly those also from small towns and with Indigenous heritage.

“Coming from a really small town, I saw the importance of supporting Indigenous students to enjoy university and find opportunities to excel. University can be overwhelming for students from small towns, sometimes we don’t know what to expect and without mentors who we can relate to, I think that’s where the retention rates fall.

“Because I have had such great experiences with mentors myself, I think it’s important to try and be a mentor to other people as well, and that’s important in lots of aspects of my life, in my time at Bond, and my role at work.”

This article has been supplied to NIT by Bond University.

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