Career Advice

The Importance of Mentorship

John Smith

Janet Law, FDM Account Manager and Recruitment Manager, joined The Women’s Foundation Mentoring Programme for Women Leaders in September 2016. The one year programme is designed to enhance personal and professional development through one-on-one mentoring, peer-to-peer learning, workshops, networking events and panel discussions. Since graduating from the programme in September 2017, Janet reflects on what she has learned and the importance of mentorship.

One of the main reasons I wanted to join The Women’s Foundation (TWF) Mentoring Programme was because I saw a gap in my own personal development. I continuously strive to be successful and to excel in my career. As part of the application process I was tasked with writing down three main objectives that I would aim to achieve within the year, along with my mentor’s guidance. The first one I noted was to be more level headed, the second was to become a team lead and my last objective was to expand my network and build my confidence so that I could use TWF platform to help empower other women.

Those who know me well know that I have a strong personality and often struggle to tone this down – I can get flustered and frustrated. Joining the mentoring programme didn’t mean this would automatically change, but it allowed me to share my difficulties within a circle of trust where I was not afraid to express and discuss mistakes that I have made in the past and how I would tackle, learn and avoid in the future. Being part of a mentoring programme is almost like having a support group. TWF Programme and my mentor provided me with a great insight on how to deal with challenging situations and see things from a different perspective.

Mentorship is a partnership with mutual trust, respect and understanding. It’s very important that you and your mentor get on well and can be honest with each other. This has enabled me to gain knowledge and advice from someone who has been through the same journey. Being able to have a mentor who can take you under their wing, share knowledge and provide guidance is an invaluable resource and for me personally, my mentor has become a lifelong friend.

I have achieved quite a lot both personally and professionally throughout this experience and have built a strong network in Hong Kong from TWF. I am now much calmer, I take a step back and think differently before making any decisions and I am able to tackle problems more diplomatically. I believe I am much more of a team player as I now share my problems and have learned how to articulate myself in a professional manner. I have learned to smile, breathe and not overreact when I come across difficulties. The year has flown by and I can proudly say that I am moving closer towards achieving my objectives and reaching my goals with the help of my mentor.

Advice I would give to others:

Always try to think positively, even if you are facing a challenging situation. Leave your desk and go get some fresh air without reacting right away – try and turn a negative into a positive.
Self-reflection is a good way to learn and reflect on what you have done well and what things you need to improve on.
Set yourself goals – both professional and personally.
Find yourself a mentor, someone that you can learn from and talk to at work or outside of work. It is ok to ask for advice and guidance, we don’t always know everything and it’s important to gain others perspectives. If there is no one at work you can go to then go to event and network – this is the best way to broaden your horizons and grow your professional network simultaneously.
Be brave, step out of your comfort zone and try something new – you just never know what you can achieve.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s ok to be vulnerable.

Janet’s mentor Jessica says:

Mentoring is important for many reasons. It allows the invaluable opportunity for a mentor to share their experiences, listen and support their protégée/mentee in their workplace (or other) challenges whilst offering an open, none-judgemental and impartial discussion ground. As a mentor it’s so rewarding to be able to give back and feel like you are making a difference to someone. To see your protégée/mentee professionally growing in front of you is really an incredible feeling; especially as this is something they are doing themselves. Most often (in my case) it’s just some affirmative support that’s needed and an opportunity to talk through their challenges. I also cannot emphasise enough how much I’ve learnt myself on this journey – I’m very proud to have been Janet’s mentor and part of the TWF programme and look forward to continuing my relationship with her moving forward.

Learn more about the work FDM does to champion Women in Technology.

Are you interested in training for a career in IT or business intelligence? You can do so on our award-winning Graduate Careers Programme, Ex-Forces Careers Programme or Getting Back to Business Programme.