On Wednesday 30th of June, over 60 mentors and mentees came together for Northern Power Future’s Virtual Carousel Networking programme, supported by BNY Mellon. During the one hour event, mentees and mentors were sorted into separate breakout zoom rooms, where they were free to connect, seek advice, and network.
One of the ways in which mentees and mentors benefitted from the session was how interacting with different people allowed them to escape from the echo chamber of their day to day lives and learn something new. Debs Nquot, mentee and Clerk in The British Army, commented on how the session allows “you to meet people from different professions who you wouldn’t normally have met. Different people in different job roles”. One of the session’s mentors, Matthew Quinn, VP of Media at Liverpool Football Club, echoed this sentiment, saying how “getting out of my day-to-day stuff and actually speaking to other people in different areas either reaffirms stuff that you’re doing, or makes you think about how you could change stuff in the future to support an eco-system of people and organisations”. From speaking to this new group of people, participants were able to leave the session with a wider understanding and appreciation for their own progress. As one participant reflected, the conversations she had in the session showed her how “it’s not a ladder, it’s a squiggly path through a career. I’ve always seen career progress as stepping stones, but it’s not”.
From attending the session, other participants saw how the problems that affect us as individuals are the same challenges experienced by others. James Williams, Head of Responsible Technology at Lloyds Banking Group spoke of how “the people I’ve spoken to today are no different from myself in terms of the worries, concerns and questions. It’s a sense of saying “I’ve made 5 or 10 years more mistakes than they have”, and so they’re still the same questions about careers, it’s similar questions about networking and mentoring, and imposter syndrome as well”. Similarly, Vibha Ghei, Senior Analyst Global Asset Safety & Oversight at BNY Mellon was delighted to have been a part of the session, as it allowed her to broaden her network and knowledge, which, in her opinion, “can come only from talking to people who are like minded and have experience, and who have seen so much in their career that they’ve got that knowledge to give to us. I’m so glad my manager encouraged me to attend this event today. This carousel event has given us a massive opportunity to do that. In the absence of a platform like this, we wouldn’t know what’s happening outside our organisations”.
After a pandemic defined year which has thrown the certainty of many young professional’s careers into disarray, events like this carousel session are more important than ever for ensuring that young people feel supported by organisations. For those who have recently entered the world of work, knowing that BNY Mellon is providing tangible support is wholly reassuring, paving the way for other corporations to follow suit.