Mentoring: Invest In Your Development (Virtual Session)
On Tuesday 17 May, Birmingham WIBF region hosted a mentoring event with Natwest Group. Thirty people from across the Birmingham region attended in person and eleven people joined virtually to hear from our five panel members Rachel Lane, Michael Kelly, Laura Suffolk, Helen Bragger and Laurie Price. Wonderfully hosted by Natwest Group, special thanks to Olivia Mellor, Karen Moore and Lisa Phillips for opening the session.
It was wonderful to hear from these experienced mentors and mentees and some of their top tips:
- You need to feel comfortable with each other in a mentoring relationship and make sure it’s the right fit for you both. Don’t be afraid to call time if it’s not working. That’s not a failing. The WIBF mentoring volunteers are here to support you through the relationship and are happy to re-match if necessary
- Use the relationship to talk about opportunities and challenges and get a fresh perspective from someone outside of your organisation. Examples of conversations were not just immediate work related challenges. Our panel members had mentored people on life experience, career breaks, total career changes.
- Capitalise on the opportunity you have as a WIBF member to take the support from the WIBF mentoring team who want to help you succeed by finding you a great mentor.
- From a mentee perspective, mentoring can give you a confidence boost, validate what you are thinking and feeling, hold you to account for opportunities and actions.
- As well as external mentoring, have a look at any networks your organisation might have that could be independent support e.g. Gender Networks.
The WIBF mentoring programme really is such a great offering for members. The volunteers work hard to find you the most suitable mentor for your development and needs. The submission form has space for you to add any context in on your background, specific challenges etc so make the most of that.
Other benefits of being involved in a mentoring program that our panel mentioned were:
- Capitalise on the bank of knowledge this programme gives you access to.
- Don’t underestimate the difference you can make as a mentor, even if it’s just having that person’s back. Something that all panel members said was invaluable during the Covid lockdowns.
- All mentors said how fulfilling the experience has been, to give back after having positive mentoring experiences themselves.
- One point reiterated was that WIBF mentoring is not just for female mentors, WE NEED MORE MALE MENTORS!
- A mentor can also give you access to their network, expanding your own and your opportunities.
Finally, all agreed that a great mentor skill is to LISTEN and a great mentee skill is ASK QUESTIONS, be INQUISITIVE.
Thanks to all of the team that helped make this happen Tara Zutchi, Samantha Carnley, Steph Fishburn, Ras Gohil and Lauren Hewitt. Thank you to the amazing mentoring team who work tirelessly to keep the programme successful Nicola Higgins, Megan O’Hara, Stephanie Ogunijimi, Ras Gohil, Eilidh Anderson, Louisa Pollard, Louise Atkinson, Victoria Pringle and Samantha Carnley.
And thank you to all the mentors and mentees who continue to support this amazing programme.
Scroll down to watch a replay of the event.
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