The Michael Page and Northern Power Women Cross-Sector Mentoring Programme has launched with a networking event at BNY Mellon in Manchester on 12th November. The programme aims to build connections between a mentor and mentee from different sectors around the North, forming successful relationships and encouraging personal and professional growth.
We spoke to NPW founder and recently awarded MBE, Simone Roche, and Nicola Hallworth-Rudd, Regional Director of Michael Page, to talk about their plans for the programme.
What is the Michael Page and Northern Power Women Mentoring Programme?
Simone: This is a cross-sector mentoring programme. We’ve got twenty amazing mentors from different sectors mentoring great women who are in that talent pipeline, who are going to be our future leaders, aren’t they? There’s some kickass women in there, that’s for sure.
Nicola: There are. It’s something we’ve been trying to get launched for a long time now, and you’ve mentioned the same thing for yourself (Northern Power Women). I think with the two brands together we’ve finally managed to find the will, and the effort, and I think it’s going to work really well.
Simone: There was some great energy in the room today, wasn’t there? It was just brilliant to see those conversations start forming, so we’re really looking forward to catching up again in a couple of months when we bring them all together again to find out what’s happened.
What do we aim to get out of the mentoring programme? And what are both of your personal aims to get out of the programme?
Simone: I think what we want to do is bring the best of the North with the best of the North. We really want to enable, bolster and support female talent in the pipeline across the North of England. This pilot we’re staring here today in the North West, we are really excited to see what magic will happen. That’s what I want to see. I want to hear the stories, I want to hear the successes. We are all about positive role models at Northern Power Women, so I want to hear what the Michael Page cross-section mentoring programme has done and enabled. That’s where the magic comes from, that real success.
Nicola: Definitely. I’d like to see this pilot take on a life of its own, to grow. I think its not just about the first forty people, its about that forty becoming sixty, becoming eighty, and for that pilot to cross the Pennines to Yorkshire. We have this really powerful pulse of Northern Women that can help bring other people through.
What advice can you give our mentors and mentees going into the programme?
Nicola: For me, I think its about longevity. So that first meeting, that first hour or two isn’t enough to get below the surface, this has to be month in, month out. Get to know each other on a deep level, that you can actually start to push back and challenge each other and really get some great outputs from the process.
Simone: I think for me the advice for both mentors and mentees is about being honest, being honest with each other. Time is everyone’s enemy at times but use it well. If you are giving that time, be there, be present, and be intentional. So if you’re coming to this mentorship meeting with all of the stuff that goes on in your general day-to-day, leave it. Come and be intentional about what you’re doing with that time, and be prepared. Be prepared and plan because this is about you investing in yourself and you investing in another human, so be organised and be prepared, and give it the time that it needs.
Why do you both think mentoring is important?
Nicola: Mentoring is something that I’ve been involved with at Michael Page for a long time, as a mentee and a mentor. And sometimes you just need to have someone to run ideas past, to push you on, to give you the confidence to ask that extra question, to apply for that move internally, just to give you a private view on just how well you can run your job, run your life, make it all work together, that is not perhaps your line manager.
Simone: Absolutely, I think mentoring is about being the best version of yourself. You’re not trying to be your mentor, you’re not trying to be your boss or your boss’ boss, this is about someone who can actually listen to you and someone you can be honest, someone you can be open with. Somebody you can ask what you believe is the “stupid” question which, believe me, for the mentor, it will not be a stupid question. It’s about being the best version of yourself. We talked about it today but having that private time for you to invest in your career and your journey.
Why is it important to pay it forward?
Simone: It’s really important to pay it forward. There’s always somebody or something that we can share with and give. And I think its great to share that knowledge. We would have learnt all the way, it’s like the best advice you never got. I think this is a pay it forward opportunity gives you the opportunity as a mentor to give back to somebody who is on their way up. Give them that advice that they might not get or would be afraid to ask.
Nicola: I would agree with that. I also think that we will have fought certain battles on our way up, and there’s no need for them to fight the same battles. The mentors will be facing new battles, and so if I can help someone just side step a problem really quick, that’s what I’d like to do.
Northern Power Women and Michael Page will host a further two connection events with the programme alumni in New Year and early summer, and in July 2019, we will review and celebrate the success of the mentee/mentor relationships.
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