I have now been on the Alumni Leadership Mentor Programme (ALMP) for 6 months and it has been a very stimulating and rewarding experience. I applied in March 2013 hoping to be paired with a Mentor who could help guide me on how best to utilise the opportunities I have both within and outside the university. Following a written application form and a Skype interview over the Atlantic from Chicago (minutes before I was to sit the US medical license exam!) I was successful in being selected for this sought-after programme.
My mentor is Dr Rowan Hillson MBE, who last year retired from an exceptional career in healthcare and medicine. A Doctor by trade (graduating in Medicine at Birmingham in 1974), Dr Hillson worked as a Consultant in Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Hillingdon Hospital, but also published many books on Diabetes. Dr Hillson is most famous for her role as National Clinical Director for Diabetes – “the Diabetes Tsar” – making her responsible for the care of 2.4million people with Diabetes in England. With such an excellent record in many areas that I wish to pursue within my own career, I was ecstatic when I found out that I would be mentored by Dr Hillson.
I have had numerous interactions with Dr Hillson over phone, through email and I was extremely fortunate to being taken to a fine-dining restaurant in central London. The advice and guidance I have received has far exceeded my expectations – we have shared our experiences and passions – for travel, for Birmingham and for patient care! I have received advice about recent job applications as well as career guidance. I also never imagined receiving the opportunity to find myself in the glorious House of Lords talking with exceptional alumni and staff from the University of Birmingham – including Sir Charles George and Tim Smart.
Over the next few months, I am confident that Dr Hillson will help enable me to further develop myself as individual, by developing key skills and exposing me to further opportunities which will no doubt help catapult me into the working world.