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Meet our mentoring matches: Claudia & Maryam

Time to meet another of our mentoring pairs!

We have been introducing you to our mentoring pairs, so you can hear more about The Catalyst Programme, in their words.

This month, meet Claudia and Maryam!

Maryam is a student at Waterside Academy and Claudia is a Corporate Responsibility Advisor!

Photos from an exhibition called 'Our Time on Earth' that Claudia and Maryam went to see at the Barbican.

When Maryam’s school told her about the opportunity to have a mentor, she chose to pursue it: "I thought it would be beneficial and a good opportunity for me. It is also my first time having a mentor and being a part of a programme such as The Catalyst, so I was interested in experiencing it."

As it turns out, mentoring has not only benefited Maryam. Her mentor, Claudia, shares that she has also learnt a lot from her mentee. Claudia’s own life experiences motivated her to join the Catalyst. "When I was 15, there were no black or mixed-race role models that I could relate to. I never thought I could work in a business corporate world and I had low expectations for myself. Being a mentor means a lot to me, because I know I can give Maryam the confidence and support that I was missing when I was her age."

Claudia and Maryam have discovered that they share a lot in common. In one of their sessions together, they took a personality test. "It was great fun as we both found out that we were saying yes to all the same answers! We're both extroverted introverts - we love solitude but also enjoy hanging out with our friends too."

Claudia and Maryam also share a love for history and True Crime. They have creatively used their common interests to strengthen their mentoring relationship and to open up new conversations about Maryam's future. "Maryam recommended me her favourite YouTube videos to watch on True Crime which I very much enjoyed watching. I then suggested if she knew about criminology, which in turn led her to think about studying the subject at sixth form."

Together, the mentoring pair are working to complete Maryam's CV and explore her career options. Maryam has an inquisitive nature, and with Claudia’s support, she works to prepare for her future as early as possible. As her mentor puts it, this is so "she'll be in a strong position to make well-informed choices about her career path." Claudia loves the phrase 'the early bird always catches the worm' and this attitude helps the mentoring pair as they work towards their goals and learn from one another.

Maryam and Claudia are a hard-working pair. Maryam reflects on her current challenges with her science exams, and on her previous academic successes, like her SATs, where she was really pleased with her results. Yet, despite the busyness of their academic and professional lives, as Claudia says, "It's so important to let your mind just switch off."

Claudia shares what this looks like for her, "At the end of the day after work, I always make sure I have some down time when I don't look at my emails. Instead, I'll read a book, do some exercise or cook!" On the topic of food, there is something else that Maryam has learnt about her mentor: "if she had to choose one food to eat for the rest of her life it would be apple crumble!"

Claudia and Maryam continue to enjoy creative mentoring sessions, as well as a trip to Claudia’s office they have been to an exhibition at the Barbican “We learnt how indigenous tribal knowledge can be used to tackle climate change”.

We can’t wait to see where the rest of their mentoring journey takes them!

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