Hannah Macdougall: WSA Mentoring Ambassador
We're thrilled to announce Hannah Macdougall as ambassador for our mentoring program. Hannah is a dual Paralympian, has captained the Australian Swimming Team, completed a double degree in Sport Science and Sport Management with Honours, and is currently studying a Phd. She is also aiming to represent Australia at the 2017 UCI Para Road World Championships. At 29, Hannah has had many mentors along the way, and here shares with us some of the values she sees in mentoring.
What's your experience with mentoring?
I have had both formal and informal experiences with individual mentors from all walks of life; some have been older than me, others have been younger, some may have acquired an impairment, others may have been impaired from birth, some have been male, and others female. I have been both a mentor and a mentee. I strongly believe that everyone has a story to tell, and we can all learn from each other.
What prompted you to get a mentor?
I think a mentor is someone who is outside your close bubble of support, someone who can help to guide you, help you to reflect on different aspects of your life, and help you to grow. I probably wouldn't say I was prompted to get my first mentor, Don Elgin. Don was initially tracked down by my ever-supportive mum, to coach me. Since this time, Don has been a mentor, a coach, a manager, and a friend, and helped my life in so many different ways.
How has it helped you?
I think a powerful way that mentoring has helped me has been that the mentor helps me to look at hurdles, obstacles, challenges, and goals in a different way. For example, when I was in my early teenage years, I was very self conscious of my leg and wearing skirts/dresses. I was very aware when people would stare at me, especially boys. Don helped me to reframe this into showing people that even if you are missing a bit, you can live an awesome life.
Why would you recommend a mentoring program to other women in sport?
I am a strong believer that if we want to go the distance and be happy in life, we need strong social support networks. And this is where a mentor can come into the equation - they can be a sounding board, give you a kick up the butt if you need it, and also provide encouragement.
For more information on how a mentor could help you, see our WSA Young Women in Sport Mentoring Program page.