This is the fifth year of Jess working with Great Potentials Foundation as a MATES Coordinator. She enjoys seeing the positive impact MATES has made on both the mentors and mentees throughout the year.


Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do at Great Potentials Foundation.

Malo e lelei, my name is Jessica Vea, I am a MATES Junior and Senior Coordinator, and I am currently studying for my Master of Creative Technologies at AUT. I was born in Tonga and moved to NZ when I was 2 years old where I spent most of my favourite memories in Auckland.

At a young age, I enjoyed helping others in any way I could, and I was able to continue this act of service through MATES. This year I will be going on my fifth year with MATES.

What is a typical day at your job?

A typical day at MATES starts with preparing for the MATES sessions whether that be weekly updates from the MATES team, printing out worksheets, or purchasing equipment. At the MATES sessions, the team of mentees and mentors work together on the planned activities for the day.

What do you love the most about MATES and your role?

A special moment for me at MATES is being a part of the mentee and mentor’s journeys and seeing the difference MATES has made in them throughout the year. What’s going well in my role right now is being able to work with a great team in an environment that aims to support our students. I love seeing the level of engagement from the mentees and mentors in activities that help to boost the student’s contribution within their school and MATES.

Did MATES make a difference for you? Do you have any advice for mentees and mentors?

The MATES programme helped me realise the different pathways and opportunities that were not pushed as much growing up. Now, I can share what I know to encourage mentors, mentees, and others of pathways they can take.

My advice for mentors and mentees is to always bring your best self forward no matter how big or small you may think you are contributing.