Hi, my name is Cherie and I’m 20 years old. Why did I sign up to become a BelEve mentee? If I’m being completely honest…I felt lost and was looking for some support; both professionally and personally. As I’ll be starting university in September, I felt the need to learn more about my strengths, weaknesses and general abilities, which led to me putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself. I simply needed the support and structure to progress and believe in myself!
My mentee journey began on the BelEve website, as I applied for the opportunity via the online form. Being accepted onto the program was followed by an invitation to attend a match-making mentor event in the LinkedIn London Headquarters. Attending this event was an unforgettable experience in itself, simply for the opportunity to be in the same room as strong and inspiring women and young girls. It was from that moment I realised how powerful the BelEve team can be while empowering young women and bringing people together.
Once we had submitted our mentor choices, I was ecstatic to be partnered with Fiona FitzGibbon, founder of Diversiffi Media. With my interest in the marketing industry and Fiona’s expertise in the field, I can safely say that I knew we would make a great duo!
We started our journey in Café Nero on Stratton Street (before the Covid-19 pandemic escalated), and started to identify what I would like to gain from having a mentor, and how we can approach these aims. My primary goal was to gain work experience in the field of marketing. While studying Graphic Design at college, I had centred my final year projects around advertising-based design. But without industry work experience before this, I was keen to gain real-world insight.
With Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, gaining work experience was highly unrealistic. So Fiona suggested the idea of having one-to-one calls with industry professionals over a Zoom call. The purpose of these conversations was to network, understand different roles in the industry and hear different perspectives of the advertising and marketing industry.
To prepare, I curated some questions relevant to the industry and their career path, which led me to have open and informative conversations, as well as learning about the creative process.
I am extremely grateful to four professionals; John Dean, Kim French, Silvia Sella and Justyna Pospychała, for sharing their wisdom, knowledge and insight with me, and I look forward to keeping in contact with them!
Alongside this, Fiona expressed the importance of having an updated LinkedIn profile, as it would be the port of call for potential employers. She provided great suggestions to help me get started and offered to check over my profile once drafted.
To complement this, we went on to improve my CV to ensure it stands out, and I love the outcome of both!
To help strengthen my knowledge during this time, Fiona has given me a brief insight into how the Out of Home market works in advertising. This led my curiosity to find and start online courses to learn more about the different avenues of marketing (e.g. digital, social media, website, etc.)
So 6 months later, where are we now? I’m currently in the process of completing the online courses, which is helping me to gain a foundation for understanding the field.
While insisting on not letting the lockdown restrictions stop our progress, Fiona and I have had zoom calls every two weeks to keep in touch, and it also gives me something to look forward to during this unstructured time.
Although I am extremely happy with our progress so far, the main thing that I have gained from this mentoring experience is not a physical achievement. I have gained the confidence boost I had needed, purely to start believing in my abilities. That is solely down to Fiona believing in me as an individual, and guiding me when I needed help the most.
I have learnt to embrace the challenges that come my way and ensure I invest my time into purposeful intentions.
What do I think of the Pathway to Success Mentoring Programme? It’s the support network that I never knew I needed. From the moment I signed up, to being matched with my supportive and inspirational mentor, I have genuinely enjoyed every moment, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next 6 months bring!