When I attended the information session to learn more about the mentoring programme I spoke to Ellie, the previous mentee of Louise Barnes, who was giving a talk on her experience. She told me that Louise likes to start the programme before it officially commences so that we get the most out of it, so when I found out I had been successful Ellie put us in touch. We arranged to meet in August, at Louise’s office in London. I did a lot of preparation prior to the meeting because I wanted to show Louise that I was passionate about the scheme and very grateful to have her as my mentor. Unfortunately, my preparation didn’t include checking the forecast for the day… typically it tipped it down with rain and I arrived at her office in plenty of time but absolutely soaking wet – not ideal considering I was trying to make a really good first impression! However, Louise was incredibly welcoming and we just laughed about it so I instantly felt more comfortable.
We discussed what I was hoping to get out of the scheme and why I had chosen Louise as my mentor. We also spoke about why Louise volunteered her time for the programme as I was keen to hear her motivations for doing so. Throughout the application process I had been clear that I was uncertain about my career path, but I was worried that Louise would see this as disorganised. This was not the case at all, and she was incredibly helpful in suggesting ways to start working out what I wanted to do. She suggested I read ‘The Essential Enneagram – The Definitive Personality Test and Self-Discovery Guide’ (which I later received as a gift in the post!) in order to better understand my own personality. Louise also thought it would be useful for me to do work experience at the Crew Headquarters in order to gain a better insight into the retail industry. Louise has already had an incredibly successful career, so I was keen to get as much advice from her as possible! We came up with a plan on how best to proceed for the rest of the year, and Louise gave me a few ‘targets’ for the next time we spoke / met.