Mentees 2018-19


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 2018-19

Aiman Tahir, Dentistry

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Mentor: Dr Barry Cockcroft, Chief Dental Officer

Why ALMP? I would appreciate any advice regarding the opportunities I should be seeking in order to strengthen my DFT application and my portfolio in general. I would also like to better understand my career aspirations and the steps I should be taking to achieve them. Having a mentor who has much greater knowledge about and insight in Dentistry will help me better understand the career pathways I can take to specialise in a sector of my choice. I hope to be able to learn a lot from their own experience as well as the experiences of other students that they have mentored.

Anya Patel, Medicine

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Mentor: Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, Former Bupa Group Medical Director and Bupa Foundation Deputy Chair

Why ALMP? I am looking forward to meeting my mentor, Dr Vallance-Owen, as he has had many roles through his university and professional career, particularly in leadership and management within BUPA and the BMA, alongside his clinical profession as a surgeon. I am hoping he will be able to advise me with regards to extra-curricular activities to be involved in, in order to gain insight and explore my career choices.

Charlotte Blackmore, Biomedical Science

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

Why ALMP? My career goal is to get into medical school, something I am currently applying to. I would love my mentor to support me during this application. I have a couple of weeks of work experience shadowing junior doctors in A&E and am trying to gain work experience in OB/GYN, as this is a career area of interest for me. I would love to have the knowledge of someone from within the healthcare system and learn about their opinions on the NHS – how it is run, government vs healthcare professional influence etc.

Chloe Jagger, Business Management with a Year in Industry

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

Why ALMP? I first came across the HR world when I was 12, and a family friend had just gotten onto a graduate programme in HR. She was explaining to me the type of work she would be dealing with, and being naturally very curious, I thought that HR would be perfect for me. I have since then considered many avenues to get into HR, and finally decided on a business degree, and have been fortunate enough to work in HR at Intel. Luckily, all of this has confirmed for me that HR the career I want to pursue in the future. I would like to gain as much experience and viewpoints as possible – something I am definitely looking to enhance through this mentoring scheme.

Emily Youlton, English Language

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Mentor: Alan Davey, Controller, BBC Radio 3

Why ALMP? Over the next year I would like to gain more work experience and apply for at least 3 radio schemes. I am currently considering pursuing a Master’s degree so I would like to focus on whether this will be beneficial in terms of my career. I would like my mentor to offer guidance and assistance in application writing so that I have the highest possible chances of success. Alan Davey is the programme Controller for Radio 3, a unique brand of radio and an important one. His knowledge and experience would be invaluable to support my career aspirations. I feel I have so much more to learn about the best entry route into a radio career and what more I could be doing to achieve the job I desire.

Ethan Rose, Geography

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Mentor: Andrew Garner, Executive Search and Career Management Consultant


Why ALMP? With regards to what I am hoping to achieve from my mentoring experience with Mr Garner, I am hoping to understand, what it requires to run a successful and efficient business as well as what it involves to become a top entrepreneur. I would like to learn from any mistakes that Mr Garner has made throughout his impressive and extensive career. The mentorship scheme is also a very good networking tool for me, which would be helpful in the future. Finally, the mentorship scheme would enable me to have a role model, who has been successful within their chosen industry, to provide me with guidance throughout my career. Additionally, it would provide the foundation of a good relationship between Mr Garner and myself.

Farah Abdelhameed, Medicine

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

Why ALMP? I have applied to this programme to gain a better insight into the field of medicine beyond the academics, and learn from the experience and guidance of my mentor on how best to succeed in my field. I am hoping to gain a better sense of direction on how to attain the necessary experience and expand on my skill set to be prepared for life after graduation. A big goal of mine is to hopefully apply for the competitive academic foundation programme, and what I hope to achieve with my mentor is how to prepare myself with the experience, CV/interview skills to prove I am worthy for competing in this programme. I am also planning to pursue a career in Diabetes & Endocrinology, a field I’m very passionate about; especially coming from a country where diabetes is very prevalent.

Haroon Ali Shah, Medicine

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Mentor: Jane Collins, Chief Executive, Marie Curie Cancer Care


Why ALMP? I hope that over the course of the next year, I can learn numerous things from my mentor. The fact that I have been assigned someone who has done remarkable things in making changes and improving patient care, I can only hope to follow in their footsteps. I want to learn how to develop my managerial skills and with these skills find a future career path which means I can balance both my clinical and management careers at the same time. The aim by the end of this mentoring experience over the year is that I will be on my way to become a great leader like my mentor. If possible, also getting involved more with Marie Curie with regards to the healthcare aspect of the charity and continuing to stay in contact with my mentor who I hope will watch me become someone extraordinary with their guidance.

Kacper Kielak, Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science

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Mentor: Mayank Patel, Group Chairman & CEO – Azibo Group

Why ALMP? My dream and goal is to be one of the leaders of a meaningful change and I believe that the best way to do it is through entrepreneurship. Although I feel confident in my field, I struggle to take it to this next level. As the safe time at the university comes to an end and there are so many options and possibilities ahead, I have a hard time to decide what is the best way forward. Goals I hope to achieve through the mentoring scheme are:

  • Take my current skills and expertise to the next level through leadership and entrepreneurship
  • Figure out what is the best way forward to achieve my long-term goal
  • Learn more about the financial industry and its current problems

Kaitlin Joseph, Economics and Political Science

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

Why ALMP? I am interested in a career in finance, and was hoping that this mentoring opportunity will help me to find out what suits my skills and passions. I currently want to pursue further study in Accounting and Finance (or similar), and then hopefully secure a graduate scheme within the financial sector and was also hoping to receive support from my mentor with applications, interviews, how to access funding etc. especially as she has a lot of experience in the finance sector. My mentor can help me develop the necessary competencies needed to get into the financial world, and will also provide me with guidance on what steps I can take from this moment onwards.

Leonard Turner, Music

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Mentor: Tamsin Greig, Actress (Not available for 2019-20)

Why ALMP? By working with my mentor I hope that I will be more able to channel my strong work ethic in the right direction in order to leave Birmingham with a good degree as well as having set myself up well to pursue my chosen career.  I am therefore hoping to gain an insight into the steps that Tamsin took in the years after she graduated in order to become successful.

Lewis Turney, Economics and Political Science

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Mentor: Martin Devenish MBE, Board Member of S-RM (Not available for 2019-20)

Why ALMP? There are several areas of weakness which I would like to work on with my mentor. Firstly, since only having a few contacts in the industry, gaining an insight into the world of investment banking from someone successful and experienced is quite difficult – so generally learning more about the industry, how to be successful within it and positive actions to take now will all have a huge impact in my endeavours to land a role.
Secondly; help in preparation for Internship Interviews and applications, as well as learning what a senior banker is looking for in a candidate. Finally, exposure to both a new viewpoint through which to view investment banking and opportunities for further networking I feel will be invaluable.

Lorna Darknell

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Mentor: Cilla Snowball CBE, Group Chairman and Group CEO, AMV BBDO 

Why ALMP? Alongside the goal of building a clearer career direction, I am hopeful that I will improve my ability to self-market in the realm of CV’s, applications and assessment centres. Cilla’s advice and support in these areas will also be of great value to me. Finally, I see a mentoring relationship with Cilla as an incredible opportunity to grow my own network of business connections, which will be integral to building a career as a graduate.

Luke Hilton, Political Science and International Relations

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Mentor: Luciana Berger, Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Liverpool Wavertree.

Why ALMP? Through this mentoring programme I hope to gain a greater insight into the real workings of our political system, discover political roles that suit my interests and to learn from your experience within politics. I hope that with your help I can create some realistic and time-bound goals for myself and my career, while also deciding how best to realise these goals.

Naomi Walters, Biochemistry with Professional Placement

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

Why ALMP?  Mentoring Goals:

  • To gain insight and advice into a career as a healthcare consultant
  • To help me develop my understanding of pharmaceutical companies and also management consultancy companies
  • To identify and help me to develop skills that will help me to acquire a graduate role and excel
  • To advise me on where I can improve in order to succeed in these career fields
  • To advise me on how to be a better problem solver and critical thinker
  • To show me how beneficial my biochemistry degree can be in the fields that I would like to go into

Oghenochuko “Chuko” Emanuwa, Dentistry

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Mentor: Dr Janet Clarke, Deputy Chief Dental Officer

Why ALMP? I feel I would benefit from being able to discuss with and bounce ideas off a more senior Dentist who is successful in their career. Other people’s experiences can be very valuable to learn from and as I am not sure exactly which career pathway I’d like to take, it would be helpful to hear about someone else’s journey, how they found studying dentistry, what route they decided to take after graduating and how their career has progressed since. I would be grateful for any advice on building a career in dentistry and what I should be doing now and in the future in order to fulfil this idea. In addition to this, I would be keen to hear a different perspective on the dentistry I’ve seen so far and in particular the rise of corporate dentistry. Dentistry has changed so much in the last fifteen years and continues to evolve and I’d like to discuss this also.

Olivia Tait, Music with Year Abroad

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

Why ALMP? These student experiences have been so helpful in improving my skills as a conductor and I’d love to get some more experiences in leading my own ensembles over the next few years. Ideally, I want to stay in Birmingham for the foreseeable future and get involved with as many projects here as I can as it’s such a dynamic and exciting place to live and work. Overall I want this year to be about gaining experience so I have a better idea when I leave university of the opportunities that are out there and prepare myself for potential masters programmes I can apply to in the future.

Robert Davies, English literature and Philosophy

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Mentor: Adam Fowle, Previous Chief Executive, Tesco Hospitality. Senior Independent Director

Why ALMP? I picked Adam as my mentor due to my experience in the hospitality industry and my plans to pursue further into this. I have also seriously considered the possibility of joining the Armed Forces as an Officer and would seriously value his perspective on this due to his military experience. Most importantly I recognise I am someone who is very busy and has a lot of plans, I think Adam would help me streamline and focus my goals and help me form a more structured path moving forward.

Rosie Madge, Chemistry with Industrial Experience

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Mentor: Sarah Fahy, Vice President, Sony Global Tax Office, Europe

Why ALMP? Currently I have not decided what job I wish to have in the future. I am considering doing a PhD in Chemistry and then going into either academia or the Science industry. Alternatively, I am also considering changing field entirely and going into a different sector, such as accountancy. I am hoping that my mentor will provide me with an insight into her job as an accountant and also, if necessary, possibly aid me in pursuing it further as a career path. By the end of the year I aim to know what career I wish to have and to also develop a clear route towards achieving it.

Sarah Bromley, Economics with Spanish

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Mentor: Andrew Garner, Executive Search and Career Management Consultant

Why ALMP? My long-term aim is to start my own socially-focused business or social enterprise. I have strong personal interest in the effective altruism community, positive psychology and the future of work; I hope to merge this with my solid foundation in Economics to create a data-driven and commercially aware approach.  I aim to bring information and tools to match people with careers more in line with the fast-paced and dynamic modern labour market, especially to help groups who feel shut out and left behind.  Andrew is ideally placed to give me guidance with this as not only has he started his own business but, as an executive search consultant, he is widely experienced in the area of human capital.

Suzanne Taylor, Biological Sciences with International Year

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Mentor: Sam Decombel, Chief Knowledge Officer, Fitness Genes Ltd

Why ALMP? The chance to build a professional relationship with Sam Decombel really excites me and I hope to learn a lot about the health and fitness industry, including different job roles and what roles may suit me. Furthermore, by drawing on Sam Decombel’s experience and industry knowledge I want to understand how to make a career out of my passions and what skills are required. I would also like to further understand what organisations are looking for, how to appropriately present myself and successfully talk to larger groups of people. Sam Decombel also has a wealth of knowledge in start-ups which I’m very excited to learn about.

Thivya Jeyashanker, International Relations

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Mentor: Sarah Cox, Chief Operating Officer, Ofgem

Why ALMP? Before I take concrete steps to pursuing a career in the civil service, I wanted to hear from someone on the inside of what it’s like to work there. Moreover, I know how competitive it is to work in the civil service so how do I stand out from other applicants and be successful. And once you begin working in the Civil Service how do you progress? I also have other related questions such as: would it be better working in the private sector in a role that works with government or in the public sector working with those in the private sector. I basically have 101 questions and have never had the opportunity to speak to someone with a diverse and successful career in the civil service. Finally, I also want to learn more about how you navigate yourself in the professional world, particularly as a woman.

For more information about the Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme, please visit