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  • Writer's pictureThe Catalyst Team

Meet our mentoring pairs: Shelby & Claudia

Shelby & Claudia are one of the brilliant mentoring pairs on this year's programme. Read on to understand more about the journey our mentors and mentees go on, as we hear about their experiences so far.

 

Claudia is a Year 10 student, and a mentee on our programme. Like many of our mentees, we first met Claudia through one of our partner schools, Eastside Young Leaders Academy. When she signed up for the mentoring programme, Claudia remarked “I didn't really know what I was getting myself into, so I went in with an open mind. Mainly I just wanted to learn more.” She told us that through mentoring, she wanted to work on building her skills and confidence.


Shelby works in Ecommerce Technology, and has a background in fashion. She wanted to get involved with The Catalyst in order “to be able to impart wisdom and helpful tips to the younger generation”, recognising that when she was younger, this kind of support for young Black girls was not often available.


We match mentors and mentees carefully based on their interests, experiences and preferences, and Shelby and Claudia are just one example of a match who have built a great rapport. Shelby says that she likes “everything” about working with Claudia, adding, “Claudia is very smart and driven, which made us a good match with us both being goal oriented.”


The pair first met in September, at an online matching event. This is an opportunity for our pairs to break the ice in a small group setting, through games and introductions. Shelby and Claudia then began their one to one sessions. They made use of some of the session plans we provide, which often focus on helping pairs get to know each other, as we know that establishing a positive connection is essential to successful mentoring. For Shelby, one of the most interesting things they’ve done together was swapping TV show recommendations during one of these first sessions!


In their second session, pairs will often begin to set SMART goals, which they will work on throughout their mentoring relationship. Mentees develop goals related to various aspects of life, whether that’s finding out more about a career pathway, to building confidence through public speaking, or achieving a certain grade in their exams. For Claudia, working with Shelby has had a long term impact on how she works towards her future goals. “I’m more open to realising how goals are set. They don't have to be big, they can be small & easy to achieve.” She adds that now, “I have more goals and more knowledge about different career paths. I've already hit some goals that we set, which I didn’t expect.”

 

Claudia also found the third session particularly memorable. In this session, mentors and mentees use Myers Briggs personality tests to get to know each other more, and to reflect on their unique qualities, strengths, and weaknesses. Claudia described the personality tests as “really fun”, echoing a sentiment of many of our pairs, who often see this session as a highlight of their mentoring!


We know that all mentees are unique, and this is why we encourage mentors to take a flexible approach, giving them the necessary support and resources to tailor their sessions to their mentee’s needs and preferences. As Claudia describes “I expected it to be more focused on school related topics, however we have covered more in our sessions so far.” Shelby adds that “We have talked through some of the challenges in the workplace at a high level. Most of the conversations have been on foundational skills that will help girls thrive in any profession.” She feels that she has been able to support Claudia the most through goal setting, working through personality types, and helping Claudia to identify her strengths.


We believe that mentoring is a mutually beneficial experience - mentors often get as much from the experience as they give. This has been the case for Shelby, who feels that she has developed her listening skills, and has learnt how to “explain things in simple terms to help Claudia understand”.


Both Claudia and Shelby would encourage anyone interested in joining the programme to “Go for it!” Claudia explains that mentoring is “something new, it’s not something I’d normally do and I have enjoyed working with Shelby so far.” Shelby adds that the experience is “very rewarding and a lot of fun”.


This June, Shelby and Claudia will be having their first in person meet up. We have loved working with the pair so far this year, and we can’t wait to see what the rest of their mentoring relationship brings!

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