My first meeting with Baroness Patience Wheatcroft took place on Tuesday. Reading over my notes one last time in the train down to London I was looking forward to discussing the various questions I had for her and to gain some initial advice to set me in good stead for the year ahead.
Making my way to the Peers Entrance of the House of Lords I had forgotten how beautiful the building was having only visited the outside of Parliament when I was much younger. The Baroness showed me around the inside of the building before we sat down to discuss over coffee.
The meeting was a success and I learnt so much in the hour we spent together. I was able to set a variety of goals and I will be keeping the Baroness up to date with my progress with these goals over the coming weeks and months.
I will be focussing on beginning research for my next steps (exploring possible training schemes etc), doing my homework on the industries which I am interested in including Journalism and developing my writing voice/style.
Louise was really quick to get in touch with me and we arranged to meet in London at the Crew Clothing head office. I was quite nervous before the meeting but also excited to talk to her and find out how she got to where she is now. I really didn’t need to be nervous though because Louise put me at ease as soon as I met her and we chatted in her office for about an hour.
We spoke about her life and her time at Birmingham University and we talked about my goals and what I am interested in. We also spoke about what I wanted to get out of the mentoring scheme. It was so interesting to hear her opinions and talking through different ideas with her about what to do after university was really helpful.
My ALMP experience has begun with a flying start. I got an email from Barry Cockcroft very soon after the scheme commenced. It was clear that Barry was an enthusiastic mentor who was genuinely keen to assist. All participating mentees had a briefing session organised by Careers Network on how to get the most out of a mentoring relationship. Before this session was even scheduled, Barry and I had already had our first meeting!
We spoke at a New Street station coffee shop for over an hour. I felt privileged at this meeting as Barry had prepared a brief agenda and advice sheet on his train journey which I took away with me. It included recommended reading material and people I should get in contact with. I was really lucky to meet face to face as it was a great way to make our introductions. The atmosphere was professional yet relaxed so it was an opportunity for me to explain my past and future intentions as well as finding out some of Barry’s career highlights which aren’t so well known.
Before meeting my mentor, Jane Lodge, I was really impressed with what I read about her achievements and the various accolades she had collected. She is currently a non-executive director on 4 boards and previous Senior Audit partner at Deloitte, this alone explains why I was feeling pretty nervous (and excited) when I met her for our first meeting in Costa in the Guild.
We began the session with a bit of small talk about how she travelled in and how our respective days had been. Jane immediately made me feel at ease as she has such a calm and relaxed demeanour.
During the meeting that lasted about an hour and half we discussed her experiences at Deloitte, how she first got onto a board and what exactly a board of directors does.
My first meeting with Cilla was on campus; she was coming to Birmingham for the evening to talk at the ‘5 years of mentoring’ celebration event, and suggested we met up beforehand. I must admit I was very nervous about meeting her as while planning what to ask and my first session, I’d read a lot about her which did little to rest my nerves! Knowing I would be meeting with such a powerful industry leader seemed overwhelming!
It was during my medical elective whilst I was working in South Africa that I sent off my application for the ALMP. I hadn’t heard about the ALMP prior to applying for it so I was unsure what to expect but was very pleasantly surprised when I was invited to attend an interview at the university. I felt that the ALMP would be a great opportunity to learn from the experience of previous alumnus and also would be a way of enhancing my career once I graduate from the University.
Last Tuesday, 27th October the University of Birmingham’s two main mentoring schemes celebrated 5 years of linking students and professionals. It was a great event and there was definitely a feeling of success and achievement in the air.
An invitation into the House of Lords. Me? Already?
Let me backtrack and quickly tell you who I am before we get to the invitation. My name is Makedah Simpson and I’m currently twenty years of age. It is quite clear what university I attend and I’m currently tackling (Yes, I used the correct word) my third and final year of Political Science with Social Policy.
I applied for the Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme (ALMP) because whilst in second year, it dawned on me that my time at the University academically was nearly over. The process of graduate applications, moving back to London and knowing I will actually have to pay tax hit me all at once. I saw the programme as allowing me to gain further insight into the government, giving me guidance on whether I should undertake further education and developing my potential. Continue reading
Going in to meet Cilla, I had a set of expectations. I expected Cilla to offer me really helpful advice about my CV, job prospects, and career plans (which she did do). I expected to get lost in London (it was a good life experience). However, I didn’t appreciate the true range of topics that we would discuss, nor how helpful and insightful Cilla would be concerning all of them. We covered so many things, from how to increase my confidence (and why struggling with confidence can be a big positive in the long run) to what exactly makes a good leader. Continue reading
My second meeting with Jane Lodge took place in the second term. At the end of first term, I had been accepted onto my first choice engineering graduate scheme. I used the advice Jane had given me on how to practice for interviews, especially using the mirror and making eye-contact with myself when giving a presentation to practice for my assessment centre. In addition her advice to do as much research on the company, including recent events, was very useful as I was asked what the company had done recently. Continue reading