“Mentoring Works has boosted our confidence, and has made us feel more comfortable in a professional environment. It helped us realise we belong.”
“It’s helped us realise we can do anything we put our mind to and that our careers are closer to us than we think.”
These are the words of Mehmet Koch and Keyara Crooks, two students from Holloway School and current mentees on our Mentoring Works programme. Mehmet and Keyara shared their experiences with an audience of 140 professionals at Islington Giving’s celebration of local women on International Women’s Day (IWD), hosted by Macquarie.
Applying public speaking and presentation skills acquired on the programme, the students told the audience how their mentors, Zinab Aldaraji and Eleashia Lowe from MUFG, have supported them in their academic, personal and professional development.
Their mentor, Zinab, commented, “I am so proud of them, they did extremely well and presented amazingly in front of all 140 people in the room.”
The theme for this year’s IWD was Balance for Better, with the aim of raising awareness against gender bias and taking action to create a more gender-balanced world.
Sam Stensland, Communications Manager at the Cripplegate Foundation said, “The women who spoke shared stories of overcoming complex challenges, and finding balance in busy lives. For everyone in the room, this was a chance to connect with women who are doing inspiring things in this borough, and to show that everyone can make real change in their community.”
We caught up with the students before the event to find out why they think it’s important to celebrate women’s achievements, and how mentoring has supported them to reach their goals.
Asked on the significance of International Women’s Day, Mehmet said it provided an opportunity for women to speak up about their achievements in the workplace, which is more important than ever given the fact that women are not treated as equals to their male counterparts. According to Keyara, IWD helps people to understand women’s worth, and serves as a reminder of the important role that women play in society.
Both students described their mentors as inspirational female role models. Keyara said she looks up to her mentor Zinab as an independent and successful woman who has succeeded despite many hardships. The students believe our mentoring programme has provided them with the tools to write a successful CV, and has improved their interview and public speaking skills, adding that mentoring has given them a different perspective on life.
Asked on what advice they would give to young female students, they responded:
“Be yourself, and don’t follow others. Do you.”
“You have to work hard and focus on yourself. Build up your career, and don’t settle for anything less than your expectations.”
Together with Islington Giving, we invited Leigha Cohen, a student from CANDI Sixth Form, to showcase her photography skills during the celebration event. Thanks to Leigha for the fantastic photos!
Since its establishment, Mentoring Works has supported thousands of one-to-one and group mentoring relationships, and we are always looking to expand our programme! If you would like to find out more about Mentoring Works, or would like to get involved, please get in touch with our Education Programme Manager, Karolina Szostak.