Nazrin, mentee from London pilot: Discovering new routes to success

Nazrin Ysmailova has been mentored by Linda for over a year. During this time, Nazrin has been able to take advantage of Linda’s years of experience in her chosen field, and learnt about the many different routes she can take to achieve her dreams.

Please can you tell me about yourself?

My name is Nazrin and I currently work as a paralegal within an Investment Management firm.

Why did you choose to take part in 1MM’s mentoring programme?

After graduating from the UpRising Leadership programme, Rushanara Ali, the founder of 1MM told me about launching the 1MM programme. For many people from my cohort, a big benefit of the leadership programme was receiving guidance and advice from mentors.

What activities did you and your mentor engage in?

Our sessions weren’t particularly structured. I spoke about where I want to go where I want my career to go. Linda supported me a lot with CV and interview preparations. She was very good; receptive and she never stuck to a rigid schedule, which is what I needed at the time.

She has been there done that. She was able to give me tailored advice based on her own varied experiences and for me, that was the best.

I remember with this role I had about 6 interview stages – at each one I was needing advice from Linda, and she supported me all the way through. I used to say to her “Oh wow I got through to the next bit! But what do I do?!” And she helped me get there by giving me a realistic insight into the work I’d be doing.

Have you enjoyed your mentoring experience?

Yes, definitely. Linda is supportive and honest in her feedback, and sometimes you need somebody who’s a bit direct and shows that tough love.

It is important to have another person with a different perspective to look at things with you. It is so easy to become rigid in what you want to achieve, so having someone else, who has a wealth of experience, look at it from a different angle shows that you can get to the same goal but through a different route.

If I did not have Linda telling me that there’s no particular rush, that it is not a race and if she did not constantly tell me this, then I would have still been panicking ‘oh, I’ve still not got that thing my friend got a year ago.’

You speak to someone like Linda and realise she’s achieved amazing things, but she had like 100 rejections before she got there. You realise that you’ll get there – it’s just a matter of when.

Have you learnt anything different from being mentored?

Yes. Firstly, that you can get to your dream goal even if it takes a little longer by taking a different route. Secondly, that it’s good to do something different; to try your hand at loads of different things. Linda has instilled in me to take every opportunity that I can.

Do you think mentoring has changed the way you view adults and professionals in your local communities?

Yes, for sure, speaking to Linda and the people she’s put me in touch with, I’ve realised that people are really open and giving to help and support you if you; a) put yourself out there and tell them what you’re doing; b) if you’re really clear about how they can help and support you. People are really willing to help as long as you’re really clear about what you want to achieve.

I never realised that people were so happy and open to talk about how they reached their position and lending some kind advice.

Do you think mentoring has changed the way you think about local opportunities?

Yes, I’ve realised that when you go looking, there are lots of opportunities to develop.

I’ve become willing to help friends or siblings of friends – to try and encourage them to get involved as much as possible. I know that if I didn’t take the advice, I would be in a very different place.

Is there anything you would do differently in the future, now that you have had a mentor?

I feel like I don’t need to be in a rush to achieve things. I spent a lot of time worrying and panicking about being left behind. But I don’t know who I was comparing myself to.

In this industry, I felt like it was so competitive that there was no one you could speak to because everyone was competing with each other. But when you speak to a mentor who has been there, done that – someone you think is at the pinnacle – you realise tjat there’s no need to rush to do this or that. It really doesn’t matter if I qualify at 26 or 27 in the grand scheme of things, it is not a big deal.

What would you say to another young person who is thinking about getting a mentor?

100% do it. However, be prepared. Do not think that this person is somehow going to piece you together. Be prepared with a few ideas, it doesn’t have to be a 5-year plan, but having a rough guide will be beneficial.

Every session that you go to, make notes. Your meetings might be very unstructured, but still think “OK, what has happened since the last meeting – what were the action points that I was going to work on?”

Be prepared, be proactive and be willing to hear them out. Sometimes because we are so fixated on the route that we want to take, we don’t see that there are other routes that will enable us to get to the same position.