About 50 women donned their walking shoes and gym clothes to walk with inspirational women leaders around Lake Burley Griffin in the inaugural Canberra Mentor Walks.
Mentor Walks are a chance for aspiring women to meet senior women from diverse professional backgrounds. As they walk, mentors and mentees talk about the challenges, successes and lessons learned.
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt, who was at the walk, spoke highly of the need for mentors to help provide advice, support and assistance to those who may be struggling to advance their career.
"The right mentor can provide advice and connections that help their mentee reach heights that would be impossible alone," he said.
A key component of the Mentor Walks program was that female mentors offer an important perspective for aspiring women that they can't get from male colleagues, he said.
"Having a good female mentor is especially important for emerging mentees, to help navigate the unique challenges of becoming successful, thriving women in both your professional and personal lives."
Chair of Pathology at the ANU Medical School, Professor Jane Dahlstrom, mentored two young women at the walk.
"I saw today as an opportunity to "give back" but in fact it was more a mutual learning experience with two very impressive young women," Professor Dahlstrom said.
Lucy Caldwell participated as a mentee in the walk, getting the chance to speak to well-known Canberran and city planning expert Catherine Carter.
Lucy walked with two other women as well as Catherine, and each of them had the opportunity to ask one question during the walk.
"Mine was 'how to find ways to channel your ambition in creative ways'," she says.
"We each had an opportunity to talk to her about our careers, so she provided very different advice depending on who it was."
One of the key tips that Catherine provided Lucy, she says, was for the women to keep their networks strong and be open to meeting and talking to people you wouldn't immediately think of, as you never know where a relationship may take you.
"I can't wait for the next one," she says.
"It was such a relaxed and refreshing way to speak to some really impressive women about their experiences, and to get some advice on careers and beyond."
Lucy says she was also impressed by the calibre of the mentees.
"Being able to share this experience with other ambitious and curious women is a real treat."
Vice President (Engagement and Global Relations) at ANU, Jane O'Dwyer, also participated in the walk. Despite being a mentor, she found herself a little star struck.
"I was delighted to take part in such a great event and am still pinching myself that feminist icon Anne Summers was there with us in Canberra," she says.
"To steal a line from one of my friends who also volunteered as a mentor, what is better than walking and talking with great women?"
Jane says she enjoyed chatting to the young women who joined her on the walk.
"The conversation with them reminded me of conversations I was lucky enough to have with great mentors when I was their age.
"So proud to see ANU part of this, and big thanks to our HR Director Nadine White for getting us involved.
"I hope to see lots of ANU women as mentors and mentees at the next walk."
The next Canberra Mentor Walk is scheduled for 1 May, 2019. More information on the walk, including registering as a mentee, can be found on the Mentor Walks website.