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Sarah UKFast | Account Manager

Why mentoring is so important for women in business

17 September 2019 by Charlotte Greene

Mentoring schemes have really gained momentum in recent years. From small businesses to entire industry sectors, the advantages of a quality mentoring scheme are plentiful – for mentors, mentees and the wider business community.

However, like many other areas of society, it may come as no surprise to learn that there simply aren’t enough women mentors within the mentoring community. And while organisations such as Tech Manchester are working proactively to engage and encourage more women to become mentors, male mentors still significantly outnumber female mentors.

Elizabeth Clark Dream Agility 2

Elizabeth Clarke, Co-Founder of Dream Agility.

So, to lift the lid on what it’s like to be a woman involved with mentoring, we asked four fantastic businesswomen about their experiences. Introducing:

  • Catherine Barber-Brown, Director at Barber-Brown Strategic Consulting Ltd
  • Dianne Walker, Non-Executive Director, FCA
  • Rebecca Tilling, Founder and Director of PureMaison Ltd
  • Elizabeth Clarke, Co-Founder of Dream Agility

What made you want to become a mentor?

Catherine: “I benefitted as a mentee and as a mentor in my corporate career, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of mentoring. I was excited to become a Tech Manchester mentor and use my spare time for such a valuable experience.”

Rebecca: “Running companies and managing teams since my late teens, I have a fairly rounded view of business management. I have always been involved in supporting other people whether in my own businesses, through charity work or by supporting friends and acquaintances in their business development. It’s something I enjoy doing and I love the positive impacts that I am able to have on others’ lives.”

What were the key outcomes?

Dianne Walker

Dianne Walker, Non-Executive Director, FCA.

Elizabeth: “I’ve found that other people’s ideas can be equally as exciting as your own, and other people’s enthusiasm is infectious. My mentee and I have stayed firm friends and are working together to make a stronger community and network of support for businesswomen in the suburbs.”

Dianne: “I was nominated for and won a National NED award as a result of the connections I’ve made through mentoring, which was a very welcome surprise. My profile has been raised to a platform beyond my traditional sector and experience.”

Catherine: “I’ve gained a lot from becoming a mentor – introductions to possible business opportunities, great connections to share ideas with, joint work projects, and a seat at a panel discussion on portfolio working. It’s also helped me to reflect on my own business and challenges.”

Rebecca: “The initial involvement has confirmed that I have plenty to offer from years of business experience. This is something that can get lost when you get tied down in your own business development. It’s also helped me to be much more focussed with my own business.”

What would you say to other women considering mentoring?

Rebecca Tilling

Rebecca Tilling, Director of PureMaison Ltd.

Catherine: “To see and feel the impact that sharing your experience has, and helping someone work through challenges, is hugely rewarding. As well as the tools and online resources at Tech Manchester, there’s a really great bunch of women and men already mentoring, who will be happy to help if you need us. So, just do it!”

Dianne: “I would highly recommend becoming a mentor. It allows access to an efficient and effective way of sharing your experience and honing mentor skills – which we all have but may not channel in a structured way. And don’t let experience in a certain sector put you off; mentees need well-rounded business professionals who understand the key strategies for success.”

Rebecca: “The odds are stacked against women at all stages in business. While mentoring is not the only way to change the narrative of women in business, it does encourage the development of strong businesswomen and provides them with a means to promote their ideas in a dynamic and supportive environment. Mentoring is something quite special, and a great mentor can enhance a mentee’s business and often life.”

To explore the process of becoming a mentor (regardless of your gender), register today at www.techmanchester.co.uk/register and complete a mentor profile!  One of the Tech Manchester team will be in touch to explain more about how you can get started, and get you up to speed with the support available.

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