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  • Writer's pictureChloe Lewis

Meet our Mentoring Matches: Chloe and Emmanuella

Each month, we'll be introducing you to one of our mentoring pairs, so you can hear more about The Catalyst Programme, in their own words.

This month, meet Chloe and Emmanuella!

Emmanuella is a year 11 student at Eastside Young Leaders' Academy, our partner school and Chloe is a civil servant, PhD student and the founder and Director of The Catalyst Collective!

This month, they shared a little about their interests, their priorities, and what they're getting out of the mentoring programme so far.


Emmanuella: This year school has been on then off and then back on again! Now you're back in school full time, how are you finding it organising mentoring meetings on top of homework, revision, GCSEs and life…?

It’s not been too bad! This year is very busy, but mentoring is also only one meeting every month so it doesn’t get in the way of other things I have going on with school. I've also noticed that having a mentor has definitely helped me get more organised, especially in terms of future planning. Before I had a jumbled image of what I wanted to do in the future, but now I'm thinking in a much more organised way. It's been fun developing those skills with my mentor - we're not going too fast or too slow.

Chloe: When you designed the Catalyst mentoring programme, the intention was that it was always going to be genuinely mutual. So, what are you gaining or learning from having a mentee?

I've known Emmanuella for years now, so for me this answer is a little different. I have absolutely loved seeing her develop and grow, and I am learning a lot about resilience from seeing her navigate the constant changes that Covid-19 has brought to teenagers lives. As well as that, Emmanuella's career interests and aspirations are completely different to mine, she is a scientist and I am not! So working together to explore her future options has taught me a lot about career pathways I didn't know before.

What advice would you both give to someone considering being involved in the Catalyst programme next year?

Emmanuella: Don’t close yourself off to different opportunities! Be as open as possible so you can get the most out of it. It's only an hour a month but it really helps you make progress towards your future.

Chloe: Well, I'm very biased but I think Emmanuella is right and her advice applies for mentors too. You'd be amazed what you can get done in an hour a month - if I wasn't doing this, I would only have been watching TV! I think this programme can work with just about anyone's schedule, however busy.

What have you both found surprising or interesting about having a mentee or mentor?

Chloe: Most things have been interesting to me! There's always such a big gap between how an adult things young people will act, think or be, and how they actually are. I'm always surprised and impressed by Emmanuella's resilience, maturity and ability to take big decisions!

Emmanuella: I think its the same for me. Getting a mentor, you have an image of what an adult will be like but Chloe's a lot more personable than the average adult.

Chloe: Thanks... I think?!

What’s the most interesting activity you’ve done together as a pair?

Emmanuella: We had a session where we had a visitor - Rachel. She is a final year engineering student and another Black woman so she gave such a helpful overview of getting from GCSEs to where she is now. It was really nice to meet someone who had a similar career path to me and have a conversation.

And finally, the Catalyst model is all about matching Black women with Black teenagers. Why does that matter?

Emmanuella: It really does make a difference. I think its important because you can relate with them a lot easier. It’s easier to see yourself in the person sitting in front of you. It’s a lot more realistic and it makes you realise you can achieve the same sorts of things!


Our pairs are at their halfway mark already!

We'll keep checking in as they draw their mentoring year to a close at the end of the summer term, and see all they've achieved together.

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