Mentee Vicky Austin shares how she has benefitted from having a mentor
After completing Community First Yorkshire’s Leadership Mentoring programme, mentee Vicky Austin, Chair of Green Lane Community Connections is ready to drive the organisation forward.
What was the challenge?
Green Lane Community Connections’ chair, Vicky, applied for a mentee place on Cohort 1 of the Leadership Mentoring Programme in July 2021 as she felt that she would benefit from advice and guidance from a mentor about how to engage new members, influence change and provide better support to a community with significant deprivation. She also wanted support to build confidence, skills and personal development in readiness for taking up paid employment in the next 18 months.
How did Community First Yorkshire help?
We chose the Digital Coordinator for Citizens Online in North Yorkshire as suitable mentor, and provided support for both mentor and mentee on how to get the most from the mentoring sessions. Vicky had five one-hour sessions with her mentor. These were held online each month, however, the final mentoring session was a face-to-face meeting at the request of both mentor and mentee.
A mid-point evaluation session with both mentees and mentors from cohort 1 identified any common development areas and we provided additional support where needed in the form of resources and signposting training. Wellbeing and confidence were the two main areas common to all mentees.
Vicky told us that the impact of her mentoring has been wider than she expected. Through conversations with her mentor, she has unlocked leadership capabilities she already had, and increased her confidence and self-esteem. It has helped her to identify areas that were holding her back, such as procrastinating on challenging issues. Her skills in looking at the bigger picture rather than focusing on operational detail have increased, and she is now leading more strategically and delegating effectively. She has formed sub-groups among the trustees that have allowed others to lead, which has allowed her to focus on key areas that has moved the group forward.
“I'm finding a wider impact than I could have ever expected from these mentoring conversations. In my work and across my life. My sessions have made me a much better leader. They have given me the confidence to stand by the aims and values of the group and to drive the organisation forward.”Vicky Austin, Mentee, Chair of Green Lane Community Connections
We held a final evaluation session in March 2022 to bring the mentees and mentors together. At this session, we offered the mentees places on Peer Learning Groups and opportunities for further leadership development.
What does the future look like?
Vicky is now part of a Peer Learning Group along with other mentees from cohort one of the Leadership Mentoring Programme. The mentoring sessions provided space for her to think about her career pathway and options for further professional development and she wants to continue to build her leadership network and continue peer learning. She is keen to take up a bursary place on a further professional development programme – this will be a series of one-to-one coaching sessions.
About the organisation
Green Lane Community Connections is a local resident-led initiative that aims to provide local people with a greater say in the future of their community.