Laura was a Mentor for a young person from Aston University. In addition, she is a Financial Planner and won the prestigious award of being Birmingham’s Young Professional of the Year 2018.
Here is Laura’s account of mentoring with One Million Mentors:
I really did enjoy mentoring with 1MM. I enjoyed it because you are able to choose your mentee to a certain degree and choosing a mentee where you think you can help the most. This can be someone you identify with and I chose a mentee, who I think I could add real value to. The Mentee was a final year student at Aston University. I helped him improve his CV and how to ace the Assessment Centres. I, myself, have a lot of experience with the recruitment system, being a recipient but also on the other side when I have helped out at my offices Graduate Recruitment process.
Mentoring is important to me because I feel I was lucky to benefit from mentors during my time at school, university and during my career. I learnt a lot. I had the opportunity to ask questions. It’s really important because not everyone has this opportunity and I wanted to help someone get the same experiences as I did. Mentoring provides a safe environment to ask questions. In ways, the mentor is somewhat removed from the situation and can provide impartial advice and support to the young person.
Mentoring helps generate links to different parts of society, the more a city is interlinked, the better it will work together for everyone. I believe it’s really important the mentor and mentee come from different backgrounds.
The link between social action and mentoring for 1MM is that your mentee is from a generation where they are aware of different topics due to those being part of their social circles. The mentor can support their mentee in terms of raising awareness of their project. The mentor may have links on how to access funding and how to bring action to an idea.
My mentee would send an email after every session to confirm what we said and we both found it very useful. I supported my mentee develop his soft skills such as, going through his CV and also, I provided a coaching session where we discussed how to ace interviews. My mentee’s main objective was about himself getting a job and getting through exams. I think if we had continued our mentoring journey, it would have been more about social action because social action has something to do with someone’s journey, and perhaps for someone who is more settled in their career.
I believe 1MM can support us, as mentors, in promoting social action with our mentees is by creating a community platform. When you have signed up as a mentor, if you were asked about the causes you believe in and the connections you have that may be relevant to other mentors, the portal could potentially become a space, not mentioning mentors by name, where mentors connect and help each other.
Mentoring impacted me in that it reminded me what it’s like to have something exciting ahead of you such as your career and all the possibilties life holds. Even though I am well entrenched in my career, it reminded me to look around me a bit more. Mentoring a young person gave me a lot of confidence, because going into it you think ‘What do I have to offer?’ and I learnt that everyone has a lot to offer. Mentoring is an enjoyable experience to see someone develop and grow.
My mentee and I had very few challenges and it was a really positive experience. I was lucky my mentee was receptive of my advice. I could see it being a challenge if a mentee were not receptive to change. It’s not something I faced but it could be a potential problem.
The 1MM training was really useful. I took a lot away from that and learnt the importance and difference between coaching, mentoring and counselling. I found that really useful.
Mentoring with One Million Mentors was one of the things I spoke about during my interview for “Young Professional of the Year”. There are a few centres in Birmingham where they empower girls, and giving access to those girls is what drives me and that is why I am a natural fit to mentor someone.
What I would say to others whom are considering mentoring with 1MM is that to consider the type of mentee you are looking for. Then just to embrace and go for it.