One of the key things Cilla and I discussed in our first face-to-face meeting was what I wanted to do in my future career. I’d brought a nice list of different sectors that I’d either decided I definitely didn’t want to do (e.g. Sales) or was thinking of as a solid maybe (e.g. a career in writing). There was no area that I felt certain I wanted to do. I felt quite bad on going in for our second meeting, as after hours of thinking and planning and researching (mostly in Costa), I’d actually made the list wider rather than narrowing it down. I needn’t have worried, as Cilla was once again wonderful, taking the fact I was considering a career in writing OR computer science OR neither in her stride and offering me help however she could.
Here I appreciated how helpful having Cilla was in terms of contacts: we decided that, after I’d spent a lot of time thinking introspectively about my future, it would be really useful to get out and talk to people in the sectors I was interested in. This was just what I had hoped for: the chance to get a taste of a sector from someone deeply involved in it. The contacts Cilla got me in touch with were amazing: for instance, I’m getting to talk to the CEO of a tech company, a sub-editor of the Daily Mail, a senior account manager at Comic Relief, and many other amazing people. Having this opportunity is something that I could only dream of otherwise, so I’m incredibly grateful that I’ve been so lucky to get Cilla as a mentor.
We also talked about life in general, touching upon a ton of exciting topics, particularly about managing people and building relationships as a whole. Cilla stated that fundamentally business should be approached as a series of relationships, and with this in mind it’s easy to see how she’s been so successful. From the start of the very first meeting, I felt engaged yet at ease, and felt like I could be completely honest. She’s not only been a great mentor but a wonderful role-model. Looking back on how she’s helped me and the influence she’s had, it amazed me that we’ve only met face-to-face twice. Once again I’ve emerged from the meeting very energised and inspired: so much so that I didn’t even mind that London Midland cancelled one train and delayed both others on the way home. If that doesn’t show how good the Scheme has been, then I’m not sure what does.