As our 2020/21 mentoring programme draws to a close, we have been receiving some fabulous feedback and stories from our catalysts. This month Nour, Taryn, Renée and Julia share with us what they learnt from last year’s Catalyst Summit, their experiences of the mentoring programme and some of their goals for the future.
My name is Nour Meshref. I’m Lebanese and I’ve been living in France and doing my Master studies here since 2018. My field of study is atmospheric sciences and climate change research. My main interests are climate change mitigation policies, adaptation of communities (especially small and rural ones) to the impacts of climate change, as well as transitions to low-waste or zero-waste lifestyles at the level of individuals and communities.
I am 16 years old and live in Taunton. Currently I am studying towards my international baccalaureate diploma (where I am doing economics, psychology, English, german, dt and maths).
I am 23 years old, I live in Wiltshire and I’m in my third year of BA (Hons) Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. I am the founder and president of the Eco Society at my University. I enjoy reading about self-development, writing non-fiction pieces, and challenging the status quo on a daily basis.
Why did you come on the Catalyst Summit and Mentoring programme?
The originality of the programme’s approach attracted me to apply. Being a feminist and an advocate for the environment, at heart and by action, I was genuinely interested to be a part of a programme that highlights the connections between environmental and gender justice, and promotes taking action for achieving both for a better and fairer future.
After participating in the programme in real life the year before, I was missing the feeling of connection and community that the event brought me. In between, I attended almost all of the webinars in the Green Masterclass series, which gave me something new to focus on during the lockdown, supplying me with fresh ideas, inspiration, and motivation. I joined the Catalyst Summit programme because I was looking to take this further, and to connect with more like-minded young women.
I wanted to do the programme to get help about what type of careers I could do with my passion of helping the world.
I wanted to take actionable steps towards a better world. Attending the event taught me everything I thought it would and more! Having followed the Well-being for Future Generations (Wales) Act closely for a few years, I was beyond excited to have Jane Davidson as my mentor!
What was your overall experience of the Catalyst Summit?
Hoping to gain more insight and get introduced to different approaches to matters as intersectional environmentalism, gender equality, environmental justice, and transition to clean and renewable energies, I found this programme an excellent place to share my ideas and learn how to be a real factor of change, and an advocate to what I believe in. Nour
In such a short period of time, it was astonishing how quickly the community solidified. Despite not meeting in person, I felt at ease with the other young women, supporting each other with our goals and dreams in the chat and in the break-out rooms. Uplifting isn’t a strong enough word to describe just the atmosphere. I felt safe and loved in the company of people who I’d never met. Taryn
The programme was brilliant! I met so many inspirational and successful women that were doing jobs they enjoyed. It genuinely made me realise that I can be successful in my career. Renée
Attending Catalyse Change showed me that I am not alone in wanting to make a change in the world, as it can often seem. I am supported and encouraged by a strong network that I encountered only by keeping curiosity close to my heart.
What three things did you like most about the Summit?
- The emphasis on sustainability in areas other than the environment. The Catalyst Summit covered all the bases, placing importance on our personal well-being and self-growth, equipping us with tools to challenge negative thoughts and unhelpful behaviours.
- There was a diversity of speakers from different fields who were happy to interact with us, answering our questions and holding an open dialogue. This was also an opportunity to learn from my peers, who shared their own perspectives and experiences, challenging my own beliefs and giving me further avenues for research.
- I loved the Zoom calls held outside of the main summit, which gave us all a chance to get to know each other better and explore more of the well-being focused techniques.
The mentoring programme was amazing, along with the brainstorming discussions and just getting to meet everyone!
I loved the dynamism of the breakout groups, the variety of speakers, and the incredible women who took part and I have become friends with!
Has it had any impact on your day-to-day behaviour?
The impact the programme had on my daily habits is to take more care of myself, to listen to what my body and heart have to say to me and to know my self worth. I am now making sure to start my day earlier and to make sure to have at least 15 minutes for myself at the beginning and the end of the day.
As a result of the summit, I am more aware of how I spend my time and take a few moments every day to be mindful. There are also personal lifestyle changes I’ve developed that came from suggestions of the other girls (ways to consume less water, energy, etc).
Yes. I am definitely more positive and motivated as I know that there are loads of opportunities out there for me. I also am more conscious about my daily impact on the people around me.
Yes! Traci very kindly suggested a technique where we all take time in the mornings or evenings to journal, breathe, do yoga… Since Catalyse Change I have adapted to a slower and more deliberate way of living! One of her quotes I took away was: ‘Visualise and feel the outcome you want as if it has already happened.’ This is the law of vibration, and it works.
If you already have feedback on the mentoring, please include a sentence or two on your experience or mentoring and how it has helped you?
I didn’t have mentoring this time, but after the last summit, I was in touch with my mentor for six months. She helped me identify what I wanted to do next, pointing me towards helpful resources and offering an external perspective. With the mentoring, you definitely get out what you put in (and here I feel like I didn’t take full advantage of the opportunity, I found it difficult to balance with the other things going on in my life).
Mentoring was a fab experience to receive guidance about how to move forward with the next steps in my life.
Jane guided me through the vision I didn’t realise I had. She helped me see the potential in Habitat Humble, and secure an internship at a brilliantly successful entrepreneurial space. She delicately showed me my weaknesses; brought out and amplified my strengths. She saw what I didn’t see in myself, and it is because of her that I am so confident in my ability today.
Do you have any other comments you would like to share?
Catalyse Change has shaped the way I think of the future. Now, I see sustainability as a realistic and possible pathway for me, whereas before, I never pictured myself in the field, couldn’t figure out where my skills would fit. As a result of being involved in Catalyse Change, I have a network of people who are passionate about sustainability that I can reach out to, and I feel so inspired by watching everyone’s individual journeys.
If you would like to receive an invite to this year’s Catalyst Summit and mentoring programme then please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org