These young leaders not only promote new ideas and ways of doing things, but also have mentors around them to help avoid pitfalls.
From Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg to Yoda and Luke Skywalker, mentoring helps successful people learn, grow, stay on track and be accountable for achieving their goals.
These leaders look to their mentors to discuss new ideas and ways of doing things, with the valuable advice they glean from these relationships also helping them to dodge tricky situations that might have occurred in the past.
Johannes Egberts and Iris Appelo
Breathless Expeditions Founder Johannes Egberts, 27, is considered Australia’s leading breathwork instructor. Offering experiences fostering team building and life resilience to clientele ranging from professional athletes to renowned authors and high-profile companies, Netherlands-born Egberts has trained more than 20,000 people in breathwork, published scientific research and trained more than 300 breathwork instructors.
Egberts met his mentor, Iris Appelo, 36, on one of his winter expeditions at Australia’s Thredbo.
"Iris started out as a mentor in 2022 but has become very hands-on in the business. As much as I was running it, it wasn’t always managed as well as it could be, especially our strategy and delivery.
"Iris combed through the financials, reviewed everything, crunched numbers and completely transformed operations. As a result, we almost doubled our profit in those first six months.
"Iris leads the execution in taking things from concept to reality, keeps the team motivated and believes in the bigger picture.
"I love the excitement of new ideas and she questions why I’m always saying yes to people. She’s great at telling me to say ‘no’, keeping me focused and staying on track so we hit our goals before moving on to the next big thing."
"I see myself as Johannes’ accountability partner. Being a founder can be hard and lonely; I co-founded a successful tech business that was backed by investors, but Johannes is a unique self-made solopreneur.
"For someone who is only 27, he’s incredibly talented in his field of breathwork. When I saw how the business was operating, I realized from a strategy and delivery aspect there was so much opportunity for growth.
"Johannes is very receptive and embraces the fact everyone brings different strengths to achieve his big vision. He trusts me and the team to take ownership so that together we can push toward the goals he’s set himself for the business.
"I see my role as enabling him to divert his energy and time on that side instead of getting caught up in operational and tactical challenges that could be resolved more efficiently.
"I’ve helped him grow into the role as a business leader, to set strategy, lead delivery and put a strong focus on ‘team first’.
"If we onboard the right team with the right skills and capabilities, the rest naturally grows.
"Ultimately, what we’ve achieved in such a short amount of time gives him headspace to do what he’s passionate about."
Bernadette Olivier and Mike Rosenbaum
The Volte is the largest designer fashion rental marketplace globally, allowing individuals to earn income from their closets and borrowers to rent a designer dress for a fraction of the retail price. And all while consuming fashion sustainably.
The Volte is integrating with brands to enable consumers to list their item on the rapidly growing circular fashion economy, allowing designers and brands to earn royalties each time their item is rented or sold throughout their garment life cycle.
Co-Founder Bernadette Olivier, 40, reached out to Spacer Technologies CEO Mike Rosenbaum, 42, with a cold call in 2017 for advice when she saw on LinkedIn that he was building a marketplace, spacer.com.
"Mike immediately responded and gave us advice about what we needed to bootstrap The Volte and how to allocate budget for the build and marketing – which, as a first-time founder, was hugely important. He also provided guidance on metrics to track and build liquidity and balancing supply and demand, one of the hardest parts of building a marketplace.
"Mike has been a constant mentor throughout our journey, meeting regularly and giving us advice about everything from customer service, processes and key hires, to raising capital.
"He was a key advisor when we raised series A, which was led by eBay Ventures, and really helped us supply the metrics and data required when raising with such a global company.
"Mike was one of the first people we pitched our designer API and royalties system to. The initiative has the potential to disrupt the A$420 billion [US$285 billion] fast fashion industry, and he understood the transformative power this could have on fashion in Australia and internationally from a sustainability perspective."
"From the outset, Bernadette had a bold vision, was razor sharp, and I was struck by the enormous opportunity she was going after.
"When asked to be a mentor, I was honored. The Volte is a blend of my ecommerce experience at DealsDirect and marketplace experience at Spacer, Parkhound and Car Next Door.
"Having co-founded The Sharing Hub and invested in over a dozen other marketplaces, it’s something I’m passionate about and enjoy talking with and helping other founders, particularly in the sharing economy.
"With Spacer expanding into the United States and Canadian markets, and Bernadette’s ambitions to expand globally, there’s a lot of crossover and learnings we can share with each other."
Chris Rolls and Marcus Simpson
Chris Rolls, 48, is Managing Partner at PieLAB Capital, which invests in small and medium-size businesses, and grows CEOs and leaders to run them. Unlike private equity funds, it invests in companies for the long haul. His mentor is Marcus Simpson, 58, a private markets veteran.
"I met Marcus in a yacht race 15 years ago when we were crew members. At the time he was running the private equity division of Queensland Investment Corporation, a A$7 billion [US$4.7 billion] portfolio of companies, and I was running my own property management business.
"Marcus is one of Australia’s leading private equity experts and when I sold my business and was looking into investing in others, I reached out to him.
"His mentorship has really helped me personally and professionally. There’s a lot of uncertainty in what we do because an inherent part of investing is making decisions based on incomplete information.
"Being able to reach out to someone who’s been there and done that on a much larger scale adds confidence to that uncertainty. Marcus mentored me through structuring of investments, funds and understanding fees and charges for potential investors.
"He’s a great sounding board to go, ‘Here’s what I’m thinking – am I missing anything here? Have I looked at it from all the angles?’
"Mentoring reduces poor decisions and improves good ones."
"I was fortunate to benefit from people who looked out for me earlier in my career. An American cousin was particularly helpful. I would not have been able to attend business school without his help. In short, I believed he guaranteed my business school loan without ever telling me – he was that type of person.
"In prospective mentees, I look for two things: can I see them doing tremendous things, and is there a sparkle in their eye? When I met Chris, he was already a person with a plan and, as an entrepreneur, was building a successful business at a time many of his peers were busy partying.
"When we reconnected, Chris was seeking to build a private equity career – that was my world. He’s very curious, smart, wants to build the best and to create value in an informed way, which may not be the traditional way.
"Chris had built a great team and was looking to use a long-term corporate model – a modern approach fit for purpose, which made me excited for his long-term prospects.
"I’m happy to connect him when I know the business relationship may benefit both parties, and I’m glad my additional years of business experience can be of assistance.
"Mentors get much from the relationship too; there’s a joy seeing success and growth associated with the people you mentor, and a delight in being a sounding board, occasionally helping to solve problems, yet you are free of the day-to-day responsibilities of building businesses. I’ve been there, done that."