Why do Mentors Matter?
Dorothy Liviabella enjoys making things work. She is a problem solver. The Head of Vulnerable Customer Strategy at Santander Bank, Dorothy improves customer experience for people dealing with any number of difficult issues, from domestic abuse to dementia. When our mentor of the month first agreed to be part of WIBF’s six-month mentoring programme, though, she initially wondered if she would be able to live up to the role.
‘I was keen to get involved, but started to wonder if I would be able to add value – what could I offer my new Mentee? Then I began to realise that in my years with Santander I’d developed a toolkit of experiences. A lot of my mentee’s issues were about navigating people, internal governance and some of the politics that went with that. What I soon realised was that I could reach into that toolkit and suggest ways to manage situations, drawing on my experiences of years in the corporate world. I found it was actually easier to support and suggest ways of tackling situations with my mentee being in another company: I wasn’t involved in the internal politics and personalities.’ Reflecting on her nearly 30 years with Santander, Dorothy realised that both the bank and the whole industry has changed – which only serves to confirm her own corporate agility.
As for her mentee, Alice (not her real name) works in Operations Improvement and is also a problem solver. Alice says: ‘I learnt so much and have since put it into practice. It was really valuable talking to someone so experienced outside of my company. I’ve recommended that my team does WIBF’s programme.’
‘Mentoring is great fun,’ Dorothy adds. ‘In a way, you encounter new challenges and new perspectives through your mentee. It is quite refreshing to look outside and see the way other organisations work, and think about how to handle different situations.’
WIBF is proud to offer a six-month mentoring programme, as part of our agenda to progress women in their financial services careers. Mentees are matched to senior supporters in the industry for career guidance, overview and support. The service, run by volunteers, is free to all members: find more details here.