I first met my mentee Kelly at an UpRising Gala in London at the start of 2016. We sat next to each other at the event and immediately hit it off! I was incredibly inspired with Kelly’s personal story and how she was dealing with various obstacles. She was involved in many charity initiatives and had a dream to get into international development – all of which aligned very well to my work in CSR.

After the event we kept in regular contact over email. Kelly was based in Manchester and I was in London. Through her proactive approach we arranged several meet-ups in London and developed our relationship further. At some point she introduced me to someone as one of her mentors and I was very flattered!

Since then I’ve been able to set up a University Scholarship for her via our Group CSR committee; taken her along to a number of CSR external events and workshops at SThree including with our CEO.  She has kindly given talks with our internal apprentices and at our SThree Foundation launch event.

I’ve introduced Kelly to various charities that link up with her interests, and also recommended her for an Ambassador role for her University, which is something she is now paid to do. Most recently I’ve also been able to put her forward for a three-day leadership programme, and am getting her involved in our SThree Foundation summer ball.

Mentoring is a fantastic opportunity to utilise what life has taught you and share insights with another person starting out. What I particularly like about this relationship is that it’s been informal and flexible. We just know the other one is there and reach out when we can, understanding that we’re both very busy people.

One of our mentoring highlights was being asked to say a few words at the One Million Mentors launch event at the House of Commons in November. I felt really proud to be involved with Kelly’s successes. I also reflected on how much Kelly continues to inspire me with her positivity and proactivity. She is such an engaging speaker and I learn a lot from her approach.

As someone who is interested in leadership and making a difference in the world, I love the fact that I’m supporting someone who is set for great things!  I know the time that I invest is completely worth it as Kelly always shows me how she’s throwing herself into the opportunities that I’m able to provide.

In these turbulent times, we need stronger connections across our communities. It’s incredibly powerful to be there for someone who you’ve met to mentor, and who you might never have met otherwise and who is likely to come from a different background. You will grow in ways that you might not anticipate. Don’t wait to be the perfect mentor before you start, just commit to doing your best and being there to listen and learn.

Marie Broad, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, SThree