Coming into SKILL!, I previously only had unofficial mentors in my life so the idea of being a mentor for a day seemed somewhat formal, but I also knew how rewarding it could be.
So, off I set to Microsoft HQ one sunny morning in July to spend some facetime with a group of 14 year olds from across London and professionals from some leading businesses, including some of my colleagues at The Box Plus Network. The set-up meant a small group of students from a London school would spend the day with two or three mentors who’d help them devise and pitch their own product to a panel of industry professionals – my own manager included!
I was teamed up with a group of four girls – each a character in their own right. We had a natural leader as well as some shyer individuals in the group. Being 14 years old suddenly felt like a lifetime ago, but it was an experience for me to try and get into that frame of mind and be able to connect with the girls.
We spent a few minutes playing “ice-breaker” games to get everyone in the group communicating. It’s easy to forget how intimidating new people can seem when you’re only starting out in life. The girls adapted and eventually opened d up with all sorts of ideas – it was amazing to see how confident and creative young people can be. There was certainly no lack of talent or motivation with these millennials. I was impressed!
Although my group wasn’t the overall winner of the programme, it was so good to see how hard they tried and how much they wanted to win.
After battling nerves to do public speaking, they aced their presentation and walked off stage with smiles on their faces. I felt like a proud mum afterwards! Being able to make someone feel good about themselves and give encouragement is a wonderful feeling.
If I could give another person that feeling again I’d do it in a heartbeat!