Meet Mary Blake: one of our inspiring mentors in the PEARL Program

RCSA is privileged to have people like Mary Blake, the general manager of Citrus Group involved in our PEARL Mentorship Program. Mary has proven the impact and importance the role of a Mentor can be in a young developing recruiter’s career.

Don’t miss out registering for this fantastic program. Applications close on 2 July for AU members and 16 July for NZ members.


For more information visit our website.

Your involvement in the PEARL mentoring program over the years has proven the impact and importance the role of a Mentor can be in a young developing recruiter’s career. What drove you to initially start mentoring?


I was privileged to have been mentored by some wonderful people throughout my career and have valued the support and teaching I’ve had with them both personally and professionally. The support has been great any time I’ve needed them, and I’ve learnt that I can always learn something from those around me.


It’s important to me to give back to those coming up in the industry and I get great satisfaction seeing people grow and succeed. That’s why I moved into a leadership role and it’s why I put a lot of time into mentoring others through both formal arrangements like RCSA’s PEARL program, and informally through my team and others.


You have shown how mentoring can greatly influence a person’s resilience and their ability to ask for help. What is one of the most memorable moments from your experiences in the program?

For me it’s seeing people achieve more than what they think they are capable and begin to realise their own personal growth. It’s a powerful moment for someone when they find their passion and start to excel and achieve their goals. It becomes effortless easy and it is a privilege to watch.


One of the most important aspects of mentoring is to help others find the path that leads them to their passion. They may take a deviation, but it is the path to success for them – whether they move from permanent to temp recruitment or from agency recruitment into human resources. I love helping people realise what they really want.


To sound cliché It’s about finding your why.

As the general manager of Citrus Group and a recognised leader in the industry, what advice can you provide to those looking to launch their careers in HR and find a stronger sense of confidence in the industry?


The first thing I say to my mentees is to make sure you understand why you’re getting into the industry and what your passion is. You have to find the vertical that you love and that you are excited about, because that will provide the passion.

It’s also really important to make sure that you understand your own values. You will thrive most if the company’s values align to yours, and if the team and the leader’s individual values align with yours. unfortunately, for many up and coming recruiters, unaligned values can turn them off a career in our industry.


What sort of leader do you want to work with? What sort of organisation are you prepared to put your time into. What do you want out of your career? Money cannot be the primary motivator, so truly understanding and goal setting is how you do this. I also say be prepared to be challenged, both as the mentor and the mentee.

When sharing your experiences and career knowledge, mentors often get the chance reflect on their own practices in a meaningful way. What have you personally gained from the PEARL program?


The way that I have built teams and businesses has been in the capacity of ‘servant leadership’. Seeing my mentees succeed has helped me realise how important it is to support a team of robust recruiters who can speak their truth and their heart confidently and with passion.

COVID has been a time of reflection in my mentoring where I’ve seen organisations automatically protecting their bottom line instead of the staff in their teams who are crying out for help to reach their goals in difficult circumstances.

As I reflect, I’ve realised that my focus on servant leadership comes back to the basics of humanity. People in recruitment are generally very people focused people. They love the hustle and bustle of an office. But now they’re working from home and maybe feeling a bit lost.


So, it’s about, what do you need from me? Do you have groceries? What can I do for you?


At the end of the day, if they’re happy and healthy, I’m successful. It’s not me who runs the business – they do.

I’m privileged to have had mentors to have taught me those values in leadership and how to develop a robust and resilient team.

Do you have any general insights or advice to share around the recruitment and staffing industry’s current and future challenges?


I think we’re all aware of the challenges we face right now. Our marketplace has been built on backpackers coming into Australia, they get into recruitment for some cash, then they leave. It’s burn and churn.

Now that things are changing in the face of COVID we need to look at how we’re operating, how we’re renumerating and rewarding our teams.


I think the Australian public has a bad taste in their mouth from the way things have been done in the past but if we move away from the transactional way things have been done and build a group of individuals who care about their verticals, we can build a great industry.


As leaders who have chosen a career in this profession, we need to nurture people in our teams who know how to find the right company for the right person. It is time for leadership not management, it is time to look at our values as leaders, businesses and teams and nurture the talent coming through. Guide them, support them to achieve not churn them when they struggle in a market that is new to them.

There is enough market share for us all to take a step back and support the talent coming through while teaching them the new ways of doing things for this modern time.


We need to play to the individual strengths or the people we hire to get longevity and loyalty. Develop and nurture talent to ensure the next generation of HR professionals coming through are in turn building robust organisations that work effectively in a post-COVID world.

Register your place in the PEARL mentoring program for 2021. Applications close on 2 July for AU members and 16 July for NZ members.


For more information visit our website.

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