We are celebrating National Mentoring day. A day celebrated on the 27th of October each year to recognise and celebrate the impact mentoring has on lives, careers and businesses. The goal of national mentoring day is to make mentoring accessible to any individual that needs it. We are asking our members to commit one hour to mentor someone. Everyone has skills and experience to share as a mentor. One word, one hour, one person can be all that’s needed to effect a positive change in someone. You can find a list of mentors when you log in to your profile here.
If you can’t give time, we encourage you to share your mentoring stories to help inspire more people to sign up as mentors or mentees.
We will kick off with a story from Griselda Togobo, our CEO.
The three mentors who changed my life in my twenties.
A few months ago, I discovered that one of my previous bosses, a brilliant leader who made a lasting impression on me, had passed from COVID.
I did not realise the impact she and other members of her team had on my life as a naive twenty-something-year-old – fresh out of university and keen to explore life.
I also did not realise how rare it was to work in an organisation led by a black African woman in the UK and be part of a truly openly inclusive team.
I had the good fortune to work for Grace nearly twenty years ago when she was the Associate Director of Westminster PCT – back in the days when nobody openly talked about inclusion or institutional racism.
Grace Makonyola was a strong Malawi woman, who led with empathy, authenticity and Grace, no pun intended.
I saw her dedication to developing others, and as a single mum, it must have been difficult for her to juggle a high-powered role whilst solo parenting. Reflecting on past events, I now recognise that it must have been challenging for her to be the only one with a seat at the leadership table in a mostly all-male and white leadership team. She certainly made it look easy back then.
I met Fola Omotunde, who I’m still in touch with to this day, whilst working with Grace. She was one of Grace’s team leaders. Fola is a strong African Nigerian woman who informally took me under her wing. Her advice and mentorship helped me stay on track with my career goals and ultimately leave the organisation for further education and opportunities.
I do not talk about these women enough, and I feel saddened never to have had the opportunity to thank Grace Makonyola before her passing.
These women gave me a special gift that I did not even recognise at the time. They gave me wings to fly and normalised, seeing women like myself leading in the UK.
I enjoyed my time with them at Westminster PCT so much that I wanted to stay within the NHS and was lucky enough to work with another brilliant leader Tracey Middleton at University College London Hospitals. Tracey was a white British and a great leader to work for. I don’t exaggerate when I say I would not have pursued further studies had Tracey not offered flexible working opportunities during my first few months at Cambridge University.
These three women and many others I met along the way shaped me into the woman I am today.
Thank you, Grace Makonyola (RIP).
Thank you, Fola Omotunde.
Thank you, Tracey Middleton.
Who are the women that have inspired and mentored you along your journey? Please share your own mentoring success stories with us on Linkedin.
We believe that online mentoring is one of the most powerful resources that you can access through FL. Join us to find a supportive mentor or mentee and reap the benefits of great mentoring! Anyone from any level, gender and industry background can get involved.