I was elated when I discovered that my mentor was Cilla Snowball. Having dreamed about a career in advertising since my early teens, I feel very privileged to have been selected for the Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme and to be mentored by one of the best people in the industry.
I was able to become acquainted with Cilla at the University of Birmingham Alumni event at the Houses of Parliament. To attend this event was a fantastic opportunity; I not only had a chance to see the Houses of Parliament (something I had wanted to do for a long time), but I also got to practice my networking skills and learn more about the University of Birmingham Circles of Influence campaign. I was able to speak with many wonderful alumni, who had interesting stories to tell about their university experiences and subsequent professional careers. Most importantly, I was able to talk with Cilla and plan for our first mentoring session.
Since the alumni event, I have already had two engaging meetings with Cilla. For our first session, I was invited to AMV BBDO, which I was really excited about. During this meeting, Cilla and I were able to establish some key goals that we would like to achieve as a result of our partnership. We were able to discuss my career plans and my academic goals. Cilla, also shed light on her own experiences and background, as well as providing some great advice about balancing academic studies with applying for graduate schemes. I found that it was a really effective session, which as a result I feel reassured and more confident about managing my time between applications and academic work. Cilla and I were also able to make arrangements to meet once a month, as we both agreed this would be more effective than communicating by email or phone.
Following our initial session, Cilla invited me to the Management Today, Inspiring Women Networking Event, for which she was serving as a keynote speaker alongside ColmanGetty founder and CEO, Dotti Irving, and leading coaching specialist, Peninah Thomson . The event was hosted in honour of the three business women, who were asked to share their stories of success with aspiring women. From this event, I had the opportunity to learn more about my mentor’s experiences, as well as receive key advice and tips from some of the most influential women in business. I was also able to forge new contacts and build on my confidence and communication skills. It was an inspirational evening, from which I left feeling encouraged and even more enthusiastic about my prospective professional career.
Having the chance to attend both the Alumni event and the Management Today Inspiring Women Networking Event, in addition to my mentoring session with Cilla, has already enabled me to increase my level of confidence, refine my networking skills and meet key people who have provided me with some valuable advice about starting my professional career. So far the Alumni Leadership mentoring programme has been an amazing experience, and I am really looking forward to my next mentoring session in early December.