Mosaic is thrilled to announce that Maz Majid, Head of GM Merchandising Operations and Programmes at M&S, is our April 2013 Hero of the Month. Maz mentors at Westminster Academy and has a real passion for our work. He has been responsible for a huge uptake of mentors from his workplace in recent months and in February Maz organised for Holby City actor Hari Dhillon to visit two London schools to do acting workshops with the students. Thank you Maz!
London Regional Manager Saira Sadique commented: “Maz is an integral part of the Mosaic Network, and a big support to the London Region. Maz has made a wide variety and volume of contributions recently not least mentoring, speaking, recruiting 15 Marks and Spencer mentors and engaging Marks and Spencer for ten times that number of mentors for 2013/14, improving our relationship with existing schools, arranging a celebrity speaker for two schools, as well as fulfilling the role of Vice Chair on the RLG board. Maz is a true inspiration, and it is an honour to work with him.”
How long have you been volunteering as a Mosaic mentor for?
I have been involved with Mosaic for over two years, starting off as a mentor under the secondary school mentoring programme. I am now also part of the London RLG and Mosaic Associates.
What motivated you to want to become a mentor?
I got to a point where I wanted to put something back into the sort of community that I had grown up in. I realised that most deprived communities had few positive role models from similar cultural backgrounds with whom they could connect.
Having grown up in a northern mill town, I fully understand the lure of making a quick buck or indeed adopting a more right wing attitude towards other communities. I went into mentoring with a view to changing just one person’s life but quickly realised that when surrounded by like minded individuals we could achieve a lot more.
Please tell us about a particular rewarding or special experience you have had as a mentor
I honestly think every mentoring session is a rewarding experience. I was surprised by how therapeutic mentoring has been.
What I am enjoying the most is that I am re-connecting with some of the kids I had mentored over two years ago and they still remember me and are more than happy to spend some more time with me!
What have you found challenging about mentoring?
Dealing with the fact you can see a smart kid being led astray and you have to use every skill you have learnt to try and break the mould. Sometimes it helps if you deal with the issue on a 1-2-1 level.
The most difficult challenge I ever been set by a school was to see how many of the kids in detention I could convince to join a mentoring session instead of staring at the clock. Out of almost 40 kids, I convinced no one!
And what do you do when you’re not volunteering?
Usually working! I do have a keen interest in cars and it has been known that on some sunny weekends a group of us go for a spirited run through the countryside.
Would you recommend being a Mosaic mentor to others?
Absolutely! This year we managed to convince 15 Accountants from M&S Head Office to join the Apax Challenge. The feedback was fantastic and we are now looking to develop further mentoring opportunities with schools in the immediate vicinity.
What makes a good mentor?
Someone who can connect with the kids straight away. You only get about 3mins to bond with the kids and once you have their attention you can slowly shape and mould them. In that first few minutes you have to be relevant, funny and confident. Once you are over that hurdle you can switch into a more structured approach, slowly gaining their trust, listening to their challenges and providing them with some guiding principles.
Would you like to be a mentor like Maz? We are recruiting more mentors across the UK and we would love to hear from you. Find out more about how you can get involved.