Having turned up over an hour early to my first meeting with Alan Davey, I found a nearby Costa and sat down with a cup of tea. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but I had come prepared with a notebook in which I had written my personal ambitions for the upcoming year and specific objectives for what I wanted to get out of the Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme (ALMP). I used the time to read over these objectives and re-read Alan’s biography on the Arts Council website as well as familiarising myself with the Arts Council mission statement and recent news.
I walked over to the building on Great Peter Street feeling prepared and fairly confident. Maria (Alan’s lovely PA, who is my point of contact and coincidentally is also an alum of University of Birmingham!) came down to the reception to meet me and take me up to Alan’s office. He was extremely warm and open, which made me feel immediately at ease and calmed any last minute nerves. We talked about my career plans and objectives and discussed how exactly he could help. I also asked about the best way to organise future meetings and how he would prefer that I contacted him (at our preparation session for ALMP, University of Birmingham had advised the importance of sorting out this logistical stuff which was very helpful for setting out guidelines for the year).
The meeting lasted for just over an hour and I came out feeling very motivated. The lovely thing about ALMP is that you are not out to impress or gain anything specific, like you are in a job interview. You are simply having a conversation and an exchange of ideas with someone who has similar interests and who has an extraordinary amount of knowledge and experience of the sector that you would like to make your own. It’s so rewarding because it allows you to get excited (rather than daunted!) about post-Birmingham life and the possibilities that are available.