Those who know me, know me to be “mad about mentoring”. I mentor for a living, including to CEOs and rising professionals; I mentor as an alumni to undergraduates at my University; I mentor business starts ups and I am on the board of a national mentoring programme for women prisoners. I love mentoring and the potential impact it has not just on my clients but on me as a professional woman.
Being a mentor and excelling as a mentor means you are enabling individuals to shine their light brightly and the key skills involved are listening, powerful questioning, occasionally challenging and just being in their corner.
Last yeast Shakti Women in The Community decided to start a mentoring programme in schools, but as an experienced regenerator who has seen so much waste and duplication on the funding scene, my first task was to see what existed. That’s when we discovered Mosaic: a programme that was founded by the Princes of Wales, incredibly well supported and organised and because of their key collaborators, highly sustainable.
I love mentoring and the potential impact it has not just on my clients but on me as a professional woman.
We invited our Mosaic Regional Manager to give a talk to our members and I was in! That said I was also scared silly. I mentor grown-ups who come to me with a cheque book and some very specific and definable objectives. This was different: these were kids and whist I am a mother of 4 we all know that the mistakes we make at home must never be replicated with other people’s children!!
In addition, who were these girls? What were their aspirations? How committed were they to the process? I was outside my comfort zone.
But I needn’t have worried. Mosaic provides an initial mentoring training briefing as well as a support network. In addition and most importantly they have designed a wonderful resource pack to support prospective mentors to use the time they commit well.
The 8 week programme was phenomenal! I am a busy business woman and I missed 2 sessions but we were a team and we clicked and we all knew what had to be done.
The girls who attended the first session were shy and quiet. At the end of 8 weeks (only 2 hours a week) they were bubbly, chatty, confident, and they presented to 200 strong audience at the closing ceremony at Birmingham City University. What a journey! What a thrill!
Mosaic I love you. The programme enabled me to develop my skills set and give something so very valuable back to our future generation.
I recommend this programme wholeheartedly and am signing up again in the Autumn.
What did I give? Very little actually, it was a time commitment and a commitment to learn and understand the needs of our group.
What did I get: oh where do I start? I felt valued, I know we made a difference, I made friends and new contacts and working in such a collaborative team, I developed new skills and polished old ones. I profited immensely.
What do I think the girls got? I don’t think I know: greater confidence, role models, connections and raised aspirations. They are the leaders of tomorrow!
What about their Mums? So many of them got involved in the programme supporting their daughters and also a few of them signed up as mentors as well as one I talked to in-depth, she enrolled in further study.
Shakti women have 100s of members in Birmingham and Solihull and the potential to grow a national franchise. My dream is that every single member gets involved in Mosaic; and gives the future women of our county a better chance to shine.