As part of our Catalyst Summit, we offer a mentoring programme where you are paired with a woman working in sustainability. This allows you to gain advice and support from someone with experience in the industry to help you on your journey, whether education, career or well-being related. In this blog we explore what this involves, the benefits and help answer the questions ‘Why Should I Have a Mentor?’

Our mission is to work towards gender equity and that involves supporting teenage girls and young women on their sustainability journey’s.

After the 2020/21 Catalyst Summit, we provided 55 mentees with mentor support for a minimum of three months, running from August 2020 to March 2021. The response from these mentorships have been overwhelmingly positive. Our mentees highlighted the personal benefits of the mentor programme:

  • Helped them to formulate goals and develop the skills and focus to achieve them
  • Helped them to understand their strengths
  • Improved confidence and understanding of career/education options
  • Expanded their networks.
This month, Zoe shares her experiences of the mentoring programme and the benefits of having a mentor.

mentoring

I graduated from a master’s in Sustainable Development in 2020 and have since been trying to figure out what to do with my life. I currently work part-time in retail and also do some freelance communications work for Catalyse Change.

The master’s course was so broad and it allowed me to explore various elements of sustainable development, including consumption patterns, behaviour change and policy on a local and national level. I am drawn towards food systems as it encompasses so many global challenges from the obvious, like health and wellbeing, to gender equality, climate change, animal rights and biodiversity loss.

I’ve really struggled and felt under pressure to find my “purpose” i.e. finding a job that creates positive change, and having the confidence in my skills to go for opportunities. So, the mentoring programme really appealed to me as I wanted to develop my confidence and gain a bit of direction for future career possibilities.

What does your mentorship look like?

I meet with my mentor once a month over video call for about an hour. During this time, we reflect on the actions I set myself the previous month and what habits or practices have helped me. My mentor then provides resources to further explore ideas we discussed, such as videos, articles or activities.

Reflection has been a big part of the mentorship, which I struggled with a lot at first. I now have a daily gratitude practice and try to dedicate time to focus on a particular skill I’d like to develop or a habit I want to implement. Reflective practice has helped me to slow down and be intentional with my actions and goals.

How has your mentorship benefited you?

I have definitely gained more clarity on the industry I want to work in and I’ve become more confident in talking about my key skills. Before the mentor programme, I didn’t really talk about career options, goal setting or skills development as other people couldn’t relate to my situation. Now, I have a dedicated person to discuss these things with, allowing me to try and research topics I might otherwise not have thought to explore.

My mentor has been a great support to me, providing accountability and advice beyond just my career path. Having someone more experienced to talk with about my worries and progress provided a new perspective and pushed me to identify my goals, values and strengths.

I am so grateful to Catalyse Change for running such a brilliant programme and also to my dedicated mentor for her support, advice and insights.

What are your 3 top tips for getting the most out of a mentorship:

View it as a relationship and don’t view your mentor as someone who can solve all your problems – they are there to help, of course, but also to learn!
Start with a mindset of “what you put in, you’ll get out” – i.e. you’re only going to get out how much effort you put in
Take it step by step – things won’t change overnight, but with intentional practices you will start to see a difference

NEXT STEPS: If you want to take part in our next mentoring programme and Catalyst Summit email Traci to be on our waitlist and newsletter mailing list traci@catalysechange.org