When I opened the email with the information on Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme (ALMP) I thought it sounded like an amazing experience, but did not believe that I would be a suitable candidate for any of the mentors since I had no idea what I wanted to do with my future. After deliberating about applying I decided it was better to apply than to not even try to; I’m so glad I did. After filling out the application and attending an interview I found out that I was actually accepted and my mentor was to be Baroness Doreen Massey. My first thought, how amazing, I was shocked that I was actually chosen. So if you’re thinking about applying but don’t think your good enough, don’t doubt yourself.
After attending the training, where you meet the other mentees to talk about what you want from the mentoring and how to talk to your mentor, what to ask, what to gain from the experience, I left feeling bewildered. In a few weeks I was to meet one of the most amazing women I have ever met and realise how lucky and what an amazing experience this actually is.
My first meeting
My first thought I must admit was fear. I have never had the chance to talk to someone so influential before and didn’t want to ruin any first experience I could give. I quickly learnt from emails what a truly great woman Baroness Doreen Massey is and how comfortable the mentor-mentee relationship felt. We organised our first meeting for 15th October 2013. I got on the train to London to go see her in the House of Lords which was an amazing experience within itself. When I first met her all my fears vanished as I learnt how easy talking to her (about anything) was. She is caring, informative and inspirational. At our first meeting over tea we talked about what I wanted from the meetings, any ideas I had for the future and we shared experiences. I learnt about her amazing career and how she came to be a peer in the House of Lords. Listening to someone in such a privileged role has helped me to gain perspective on what I want to do in the future. Her enthusiasm for what she does is again inspiring. Equally her enthusiasm for my university degree and the work I have been doing made me realised what I have to offer myself. Doreen told me not to worry about not knowing what to do with my future as it didn’t matter at this stage; this was a relief to hear. I have a passion for museums and museum exhibitions and she advised that I look more into this. I left London feeling elevated and inspired.
From our first meeting I have met Doreen in London twice and spoken with her often over email and over the phone. Our meetings so far have been at the House of Lords which is very exciting. Over lunch we were able to discuss and explore any further plans for the future and she has helped me go over my CV which I have found particularly useful as it was never clear to me what a CV was. Doreen is always encouraging highlighting skills and successes which I would not have otherwise thought of on my own. Following on from our discussion at our first meeting about my enthusiasm for museums we have discussed postgraduate options. From this I have found a Masters which I find really interesting. I do not believe without talking to Doreen that I would have explored this avenue and for her advice on that I am thankful. We will be discussing postgraduate study, recapping on my CV and then interview techniques and advice for applications at our next meeting and I am really looking forward to enjoying her company and wisdom once more.