Macquarie mentoring programme 2016

The Macquarie Group Foundation has been supporting Streetwise Opera as Principal Corporate Supporter since 2008, adding value to their significant financial contributions with a range of pro bono projects. Most recently, we have developed an exciting project with their Associate Directors’ Leadership Programme, where Macquarie staff who are part of this development programme have the opportunity to work with Streetwise Opera performers on a mentoring project. This is an excellent chance for both Macquarie staff and Streetwise performers to develop skills.

Streetwise Opera performers sign up through an application and interview process, identifying a project idea with which they would benefit from one-on-one support.  Our goal for the Macquarie Associate Directors is for them to develop their leadership skills in a new context, putting them ‘out of their comfort zone’ – especially with the opportunity to join a Streetwise Opera singing and acting workshop!

Overall we aim for the Leadership Programme to be an opportunity for both Macquarie staff and Streetwise Opera performers to share their experience and knowledge whilst learning new skills. By exploring in advance existing skills and interests, and carefully matching Macquarie staff and Streetwise performers, we can personalise the programme to ensure it’s immensely rewarding for all involved.

This year’s project took place between January and April 2016. Acting in a mentor capacity, the Associate Directors employed their business skills, enabling the Streetwise performers’ projects to move forward quickly. All participants worked with zeal to identify and set goals and then meet them within the timeframe, and the project outcomes speak for themselves!

Congratulations to the participants who completed a range of inspiring individual ventures:

Sally and Jamie identified a poetry mentor from the Poetry School and Macquarie has arranged to publish and bind some sample copies of Sally’s poems following this mentoring process. 

Pickles and Miria have sourced stock for a vintage online jewellery shop and set up online sales outlets. Pickles is now in touch with a business mentor to provide longer-term support in how she can use her creativity to design and make jewellery for retail, drawing on skills and experience she has developed throughout her career.

Kim and Huw have identified two training opportunities in musical theatre and acting for radio. Kim has now completed these short courses and has her biog and head shot ready to apply to agencies for work. She is building her own website to promote her performance skills.

Margaret and John have identified a millinery course at Kensington and Chelsea College for Margaret to develop her hat-making skills. Margaret has taken up work placement opportunities with the Royal Opera House millinery department and has a natural talent that she is ready to expand.

Ama and Graham have honed an idea for a workshop called ‘Creative Book Club’ using a multi-arts approach to explore classic text. Ama has been considering delivering this workshop for arts organisations in London. Ama and Graham have developed an engaging and informative PowerPoint presentation for Ama to present to potential hosts.

Paul and Amanda have explored ways of generating funding for a range of philanthropic projects that Paul is involved with. Paul had been able to create a strategy and identify techniques for approaching corporate funders, crowdfunding and access other opportunities to raise funds.

Here’s what participants said:

‘It’s nice to have someone help me to ground and isolate the idea and identify steps’ – Ama

‘It’s been a pleasure to work with Ama; she is so creative and intelligent’ – Graham

‘It’s what I need: to get my ideas focused down so I can move forward’ – Pickles

‘I’ve been very impressed with and inspired by Sally’s poetry; we have bounced off each other and it’s been a wonderful experience’ – Jamie

For more information about Streetwise Opera’s progression work, email Lucinda Meredith, Progression Manager, at

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