Mentees 2016 – 2017


All of our mentees are current University of Birmingham students from a range of degree backgrounds, who recognised the value and benefit of alumni guidance during their final year of university.

Below are short profiles on each of our mentees on the Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme (ALMP).

If you’re inspired by any of these mentees apply now to the Mentoring Programme by clicking here!

Mentees for 2016-17

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Haweya Rahma Abdikadir

Mentor: Professor Alan Boyd, Managing Director at Boyd’s

Why ALMP? I am excited about the prospect of me being mentored over the upcoming academic year. For me, mentoring is more than just receiving advice. It’s about having the unique opportunity to challenge myself, and receive invaluable feedback from a leading and knowledgeable alumnus in the pharmaceutical industry. My goals for the upcoming academic year are: gaining some insight into the pharmaceutical industry sector, build a professional network and develop my ideas and career goals further.


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Will Jackson, 3rd Year

Mentor: Alan Davey, Controller, BBC Radio 3

Why ALMP? After graduating I really want to keep creating theatre, whether this is on a fringe or commercial scale and would love advice on where to go next after graduation; either through assistant director placements or creating my own theatre company. I’m unsure on how to pursue these avenues after graduation and make further contacts that’ll help me with these. I also would love to figure out whether it would be best to move to London and base myself there or stay in Birmingham and pursue a more regional theatre work.

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Ashana Gupta Sarah Marr

Mentor: Dr Barry Cockcroft, Chief Dental Officer

Why ALMP?  Whilst I have a rough idea of the general career pathways in Dentistry, I hope to gain invaluable insight on the benefits of the different career pathways and hear about Dr Cockcroft’s experiences working with the BDA. I would be keen to discuss my elective project with my mentor as well and hear his thoughts. Whilst I lack confidence on clinic at the moment with further practice and advice from my mentor I hope to develop my confidence and skills in my final year.


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Charles Newman

Mentor: Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, Former Bupa Group Medical Director

Why ALMP?  Leadership development has played a central role in my extra-curricular activities during Medical School thus far. I found my tenure as Birmingham Medical Society President exceptionally useful throughout the British Army Officer selection process, at the end of which I was awarded the prestigious Royal Army Medical Corps Bursary (formerly the RAMC Cadetship).


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Christopher Chadwick 

Mentor: Prof Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice 

Why ALMP? I am thoroughly enjoying my General Practice placement and seriously considering training as a GP after my foundation years. I recently attended a student general practice conference and was inspired by the numerous possibilities within the specialty. Research is another interest of mine. I intercalated in medical sciences (BMedSc) between my second and third years of medicine and got a feel for what clinical research is all about. I also carried out a quantitative research project on my medical elective in Tanzania this year, investigating the association between vital signs on admission to the intensive care unit and mortality outcomes. The mentoring program and the insight Professor Steve Field can give me will be invaluable to better an understanding of areas that I am interested in already!


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 Christopher Walker

Mentor: Baroness Patience Wheatcroft, Working peer and company director

Why ALMP? Whilst pursuing a career as a commercial solicitor in the short-term, I am intrigued by the viability of a career in politics, international business or journalism post-qualification. I am interested to further learn how to transition through career paths, best maintain and cultivate a successful network and the methods I can use to make the most of my opportunities. I would appreciate any honest career advice based on Baroness Wheatcroft’s own experiences relative to this. Both British and international politics are key parts of my own interests, and any additional exposure to the daily activities of political institutions would be fantastic; for instance, my dissertation will be an assessment of the impacts of the Investigatory Powers Bill currently working its way through Parliament, so exposure to any Committees, Readings or related activities surrounding that particular Bill or others would positively inform this. Opportunities to shadow Baroness Wheatcroft in any of her work, or assist in any way, would be highly welcome.


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Eleanor Pinfield

Mentor: Louise Barnes, CEO, Crew Clothing Company

Why ALMP? I hope to continue this personal development next year, as I look to understand where I would be a good fit within an organisation and how my skills could be further developed in order to achieve my goals. I currently do not have a defined ‘direction’ in mind for when I graduate and I hope participation in the Alumni Mentoring Scheme will help me to refine my thoughts and add some clarity to my vague fields of interest. Currently, I am most interested in marketing (I am taking a marketing heavy set of modules in my final year), but would like to learn more about merchandising, buying and communication/PR. I am most interested in the FMCG market, but I am open to


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Erin Quilliam 

Mentor: Phyllida Lloyd, Director of plays, opera and film including Mamma Mia! on stage and screen

Why ALMP?  My aim for the next year is to prepare to advance my studies or career in Acting, and to gather as much insight and experience as I can to do this. I have an interest in directing, but have not yet had any experience in this field since Sixth Form College, as I have focused on performance.


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Harry Hextall

Mentor: Simon Halsey, Chorus Director, City of Birmingham Symphony Choruses

Why ALMP? My goals for the future are primarily focused on music education, as I believe it to be an absolutely vital element in the modern curriculum. My extensive experience participating in youth music has shown the effect that music has on young people across a wide range of genres, from classical to jazz. In the coming year, I hope to improve my own musicianship while also seeking out career options for someone such as myself, and also find out what steps I must take to attain these options. Through my mentor I hope to gain valuable insight on the field of music education, while also gaining advice and guidance from an experienced professional. Through the mentoring scheme I hope to make the right steps towards achieving my goal of being an educator in music.


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Jess Robjohns

Mentor: Tamsin Greig, Actress

Why ALMP?  I am currently at a bit of a crossroads, and need to decide what I am going to do when I graduate. One possibility is enrolling on an Acting Masters course, which really appeals to me, and for which I’ll need to prepare auditions. At the same time, I don’t want to close off any job opportunities by doing this. I am really excited to meet and work with my mentor, Tamsin Greig, and hope that together we can look at the next steps after university, as well as gain new skills and an insight into working in TV and theatre which will help me with my career in the long-term.


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Katie Jones

Mentor: Valerie Hughes-D’Aeth, HR Director BBC

Why ALMP?  I have tried hard to secure an internship in HR/Recruitment but fallen short at the interview stage of a few application processes. I am therefore hoping Valerie can help me work out essentially where I am going wrong in translating what seems to come across well on paper to in person for future interviews, perhaps through explaining what she herself would be looking for in employees. I would like advice on the value of a Master’s / professional qualifications to a career in HR, and also to hear about Valerie’s experiences in working internationally and whether they have particularly added value to her career / experience she could not have gained remaining in England throughout.


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Kristina Wright

Mentor: Baroness Doreen Massey, Labour Peer in the House of Lords and member of the Parliamentary Delegation to the Council of Europe

Why ALMP? During my degree I developed a specialised interest in Health and Social care which is both my biggest passion and my biggest problem.  It is this issue of attempting to find my place in such a diverse sector that led me to applying for this program. To understand more about the different opportunities for Social Workers in Health and Social Care (particularly in Charities and Hospitals). To have guidance in applying to different Government fast track schemes (Step up to Social Work, Think Ahead and Frontline) as well as the Master’s program at the University of Birmingham. To review the reflective thinking in social work practice that I have done whilst being in South Africa.


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Lauren Quinn 

Mentor: Dr Rowan Hillson, National Clinical Director for Diabetes 2008-2013

Why ALMP? I am delighted to be part of the Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme and to be mentored by none other than Dr Rowan Hillson (MBE). I look forward to learning about how to make national and international change happen in diabetes care. I also hope to work on the design of my medical elective with the International Diabetes Federation by discussions and ideas-exchange with my mentor. I also look forward to learning where the future of diabetes care lies, where it is heading and the research which needs to be prioritised to make it happen, from a mentor with such a wealth of experience and expertise.

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Molly Feely

Mentor: Cilla Snowball, Group Chairman and Group CEO, AMVBBDO

Why ALMP? Whilst I know I would like to follow a career path in PR/advertising, I have little experience in the field and would love to have a more in depth knowledge, so a specific breakdown of the sector would be incredibly useful. This would help me to focus my attention when I am looking for a job as well as give me a good idea about what to expect. Personal insight is hugely important, you could help direct me to reputable graduate schemes and help to focus me on what areas of work experience would be useful. I would also value having a professional contact in the field I want to work in, this will be extremely useful.

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Sarah Marriott

Mentor: Andrew Garner, Executive Search and Career Management Consultant

Why ALMP?  Coordinating business activities, motivating employees and influencing the decisions that count attracts me to management responsibilities. I value the mentor scheme as it will help in defining the career steps to achieve this. I hope to formulate a five-year plan and learn about the capabilities and qualities required to achieve in top level management. Andrew Garner’s experience with Mars and Boyden World Corporation, combined with his specialist area of mentoring, provides the ideal mentor from which to learn and develop.

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Steve Fernandes 

Mentor: Lucy Baldwin,  Managing Director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Why ALMP?  Through the mentoring scheme I am hoping to learn more broadly about the equity valuation methods and how it may differ depending on the company/sector and gain some advice on securing an internship for next summer. Given Lucy Baldwin’s wealth of experience in the industry, she will be the perfect person to learn from. Her experience covering the luxury goods sector is particularly interesting to me and something I am eager to learn about. As Lucy started as a junior and worked her way up to a Managing Director, I am keen to hear her advice on what she thinks were pivotal moments in her career and hopefully adopt some of her principles and practices based on that. Furthermore, I am keen to understand the implications of new regulation on the research industry.

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William Jackson

Mentor: Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3


After graduating I really want to keep creating theatre, whether this is on a fringe or commercial scale and would love advice on where to go next after graduation; either through assistant director placements or creating my own theatre company. I’m unsure on how to pursue these avenues after graduation and make further contacts that’ll help me with these. I also would love to figure out whether it would be best to move to London and base myself there or stay in Birmingham and pursue a more regional theatre work and the ALMP scheme will help me acquire all these aims.

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William Poyser

Mentor: Sarah Cox, Director, Cabinet Office

Why ALMP? I want to gain guidance and insight from someone at the top of the profession, who has been in the same position as I am currently. I believe that I can learn a great deal, because I am determined and hard working. I want to build a bank up of professional networks and contacts, improve on my networking skills as well. I believe I would gain invaluable advice with my application for the civil service graduate scheme and other graduate job schemes.


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Aaron Marsh

Mentor: Ian Minards, Product Development Director, Aston Martin

Why ALMP? Taking part in this mentoring scheme will provide me with invaluable experience and prepare me to enter the working world after graduating. I hope to gain contacts in the automotive or motorsport industries and make full use of Ian Minards’ experience at Aston Martin progressing successfully in such a prestigious company. I would also like support with applications and interview techniques from someone who has a wide range of experience and success in the area.


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Alice Williams

Mentor: Jane Lodge, Non Executive Director and former Partner, Deloitte

Why ALMP? Whilst I know that I have the passion for a career in consultancy, I am hoping that through the mentor scheme Jane can help me to actually secure the graduate scheme. I would really appreciate the help and advice offered and to be advised on how to truly show my enthusiasm and hard work ethic when applying for jobs and attending interviews. I would also appreciate mock interview and presentation practices as often these are where I fall down in application processes.