Building relationships between mentors and mentees

21st March 2018 saw Heart of the City organise its annual CSR speed mentoring event at the Weil, Gotshal & Manges offices in London for 19 Foundation and Advanced members from a diverse group of sectors and industries ranging from legal, professional and financial services to recruitment, technology, marketing, property, architecture, and even art and fitness.

The second members’ event of the year was a fun, interactive session which presented a unique opportunity for members benefit from ‘on-the-spot’ CSR advice from experienced practitioners from Heart of the City’s contributor network, with a wide range knowledge and different areas of expertise. There was also an opportunity for members to network with fellow peers from the programme.

What is HotC Speed Mentoring?

  1. Mentors and mentees are given seven minutes to share their thoughts and ideas around CSR. Through these conversations mentees were able to hone in on challenges being faced and how they plan to solve them during the year.
  2. At the sound of the bell, mentees rotated to the next speed meeting. In total each mentee held (approximately) seven meetings with their prospective mentors.
  3. Mentors and mentees then provided feedback about their meetings to Heart of the City at the end of the event.  The feedback gained will facilitate further mentor-mentee matching during the year.

Speed mentoring testimonials

“Boost of fresh energy! Fantastically well organised – thank you for all you do”
– Charles Joly, Bank of England

“I left the event with an idea of what we need to do at Regency to get to the next step with CSR. As well as important practical knowledge of who we need to get in contact with to help us partner up with a potential charity. The speed mentoring system worked really well, I found the seven minutes a good amount of time to speak with a mentor.”
– George Eve, Regency Creative

“Great to speak to other people and find out about their CSR journey, as well as offering some insights from my own experience. Really open and friendly atmosphere.”
– Lisa Atamian, Euromonitor

“Comparing stories and issues with others and realising we all have similar issues to deal with. It has opened my mind a little more in terms of the right strategy to take. not to aim for perfection first off and that our approach needs to be broad enough to cater for everyone.”
– Jonathan Barrett, Advent Underwriting

Helpful tips from Heart of the City mentors and mentees

Below are a few helpful tips from current/past mentors and mentees who have participated in the Heart of the City mentoring programme for getting the most value out of the relationship.

Rob Powell (Heart of the City trustee and Head of Pro Bono and CSR, Weil,  Gotshal & Manges) shares his experience of being both a mentor and mentee

“The Heart of the City mentoring programme is the real jewel in our crown. It really compliments other initiatives, our workshops, events, our online tools and resources. I’ve mentored many businesses via Heart of the City and I’ve also been on the other side – I’ve been mentored so I’ve seen both sides.

My advice to mentees in the room is once you do connect with your mentor, pick one or two things that you really want to focus on and change within your business, rather than having a list of ten things, and then you and your mentor can really dig deep into the detail.

For the mentors I always say this is a contribution to the CSR profession, it’s our pro-bono – a way for you to share your experience and it’s a great way for you to develop your personal and professional skills.”

Q&A with a mentor: Susanna Winter (CSR Manager at Baker McKenzie)

How did you become a CSR mentor?
Having worked in CSR for around 7 years, I am often approached for advice on how to get into a career in the field. At Baker McKenzie we are long-standing supporters of Heart of the City, so when I was asked to become a mentor, I was delighted to take up the opportunity.

What does the role of a mentor involve?
The role varies according to the needs of the mentee, but basically as a mentor, you need to make yourself available to meet up, either in person or by phone, and be prepared to listen, encourage and offer ideas where appropriate.

How can small businesses benefit from the expertise of a mentor?
In a small business you may not have the luxury of peers to talk to about the issues and challenges that present themselves in your daily working life. A mentor can offer that valuable second opinion, sounding board or constructive criticism.

How have you personally benefited from being a mentor?
I love getting to know new people working within the same field, and hearing about their organisations and programmes. I often feel as if I gain as many ideas as I give which is a large benefit.

Top tips for developing a productive mentor / mentee relationship

  1. Be flexible.
  2. Be open.
  3. Don’t feel as if you must know all the answers.

Q&A with a mentee: Lucy Butler (Office Manager, Fragomen LLP)

How were you introduced to your mentor?
Through the Heart of the City mentoring scheme.

How can small businesses benefit from the expertise of a mentor?
It gives a great view into what the larger firms are doing and how diverse CSR programmes can be. The scheme enabled me to take big ideas and adapt them to suit our smaller firm.

How have you personally benefited from a mentor?
Having an external guide has helped me greatly with advice on how to get people engaged and what ideas have worked.  Also having someone with a wealth of knowledge in CSR to be able to run ideas by was so useful – as sometimes when CSR is a small part of your “day job” it’s hard to have someone to discuss ideas with.

Top tips for developing a productive mentor / mentee relationship

  1.  Make time for CSR work by putting dates into your diary, preferably first thing in the morning so the day doesn’t run away with you and something else becomes more important.
  2. Come with questions and take notes.
  3. Make / bring pastries :o)!

For more information about our mentoring offer, please contact us.

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