From Ilaisaane: My role as the MATES Senior Coordinator Ilaisaane says she loves the high energy of the mentees. Seeing the mentees and mentors be able to gain confidence and believe in themselves throughout the whole process is amazing! Tell us a bit about yourself and what do you do at Great Potentials Foundation? My name is ‘Ilaisaane Fanguna. I am Tongan and Fijian, and I have just completed my Bachelor of Commerce studies in Marketing and Management. I joined Great Potentials Foundation in 2021 as a MATES mentor, and then I became the Senior Coordinator for MATES in 2022. My role includes coordinating senior mentors and mentees from high schools that are in low-socioeconomic areas. I jumped at the opportunity to be a MATES mentor in 2021, knowing that I could support high school students from low-socioeconomic areas in Auckland, help them realise and understand their potential, and help them be the best that they can be in their studies. What is a typical day of your job? I work at three different high schools – Sir Edmund Hillary School on Mondays, Auckland Girls’ Grammar School on Tuesdays, and Southern Cross Campus on Thursdays. Each mentoring session is after school hours, usually between 3.30 pm and 5.30 pm. During the day before the mentoring sessions begin, I usually prepare for the sessions and do the admin work, such as getting in touch with the teachers from each school, finding out who will be absent from the session – both mentees and mentors, and finding out what support is needed from mentors, etc. What do you love the most about your job? I love being at the sessions the most - the practical side of things. I like observing how the mentors are working together with the mentees and the impact they have on the young students' lives. I love the high energy of the mentees, and I especially love seeing the growth of each mentee and mentor throughout the year. Could you please share a special and/or unforgettable moment/ story during your time in your role? Hearing that many of the mentees received scholarships and got into their preferred fields of study is a very special moment that I will not forget. We would have worked together with the mentees to fill out their application forms, do research on the universities, help the mentees learn more about themselves and what they can offer the universities, etc. Seeing them be able to gain confidence and believe in themselves throughout the whole process is amazing!