Business Development Manager Dean began with the AYP Mentor Scheme in January 2022 and was quickly paired up with a suitable mentor. As someone who was keen to make progress in his career, he felt that working with a mentor would benefit him.
“I feel that no matter where you are in your professional career you can always benefit from having a mentor. In nearly every role I have been in, the owners of the companies have had mentors and to me you can always learn something new or get a new viewpoint you have never thought of before.
Naturally when I saw the post go up on LinkedIn about the AYP Mentor Scheme, I jumped at the chance as the calibre of mentors was exceptional and felt confident that I would develop as a result.”
When starting out with his mentor, Dean was open minded to how it would progress but had two main areas of his development that he wanted to focus on.
“The first way was in a professional sense. I wanted to be able to bounce ideas off my mentor and get advice and opinions. They bring a different viewpoint to the table and hearing their experiences allows me to adapt my own way of working.
The second way has been in a more emotional sense. My mentor is an advocate in mental health first aid, and it has been great to talk about it with him. His experiences have allowed me to look at the industry I work in differently and focus more on people and how things impact them.”
Starting off with a mentor, even if you’ve worked with one before, can be a big step. One that takes a lot of effort, commitment and doesn’t bring immediate results. Being Dean’s first venture into this, it’s been a rewarding experience.
“The thing that surprised me most about working with a mentor was how easy it was to feel comfortable with them. Very quickly we had a great connection and can happily talk about most topics.
If you are looking to work with a mentor, there’s no harm in having a look to see what’s out there. The worst-case scenario is that you don’t click with a mentor and that’s alright not everyone is going to be a perfect match.
Also you will not only be getting advice from your mentor but you will also be helping them in the process with fresh outlooks and ideas.”
Becoming one of the first mentors to sign up for the 2022 AYP Mentor Scheme, Mark Russell has been committed to supporting the development of a young professional in Aberdeen. And along with that, we’re delighted that over the course of this past year, Mark, an established Business Development Manager, has taken a lot out of being a mentor & part of the scheme himself.
“With over 30 years of Sales, Marketing and Business Development experience, I felt that the time was right for me to impart some of the skills and knowledge that I have built up over this timespan and share it with some of the younger salespeople coming up through the ranks today. I mean, why have all those skill and knowledge and do nothing with it?”
Mark was paired up quickly with a mentee, that like Mark when he was starting out, was looking to navigate their way through the challenging world of sales, business development and hitting targets.
“My mentee & I meet on an almost weekly basis. We’ve been working on numerous areas of both personal and business development, and it’s been great to see how they’ve been taking what we discuss and use it immediately. I’ve been able to take into account some great sales successes in both of our careers and also some not-so-great sales moments and how to learn from these going forward. Every situation is an opportunity, and my mentee’s approach to this and commitment to the scheme & their own development has made this a joy to be a part of.”
Throughout his career, Mark had supported people in this before, but this was his first foray into direct mentoring.
“Being a mentor has benefitted me in many ways. One of which being taking some of my past big sales and contract wins and putting them into context with today’s marketplace for Dean. As any good mentor should do, I have also learned from my mentee. A classic example of “teaching an old dog new tricks”. (Metaphorically, of course 😉) It’s also good for me to reflect on some of these past successes just to remind myself what I have achieved over the last 30+ years and what they all meant to me.”
Finally, some advice from Mark for anyone looking to become a Mentor and support the development of young professional in the North East?
“I would highly recommend it to everyone, as it is very rewarding, and both the mentor and mentee will learn during the process. I would recommend a structured, but not a classroom approach. This engenders a more relaxed approach and atmosphere for both parties.”
Since 2016, the Aberdeen Young Professionals Mentor Scheme has been bringing people like Mark & his mentee together to support their career development and contribute to the success of businesses in the North East of Scotland.
We caught up with Alan Walsh, Managing Director an ANSA, who provide Data Analytics Solutions to the Energy industry. Alan got in touch with Aberdeen Young Professionals at the end of 2021 as we were finalising our mentor scheme for 2022, and wanted to offer his support & experience to a young professional in the North East.
For the past year, Alan has given his time very gratefully and is a mentor for two very separate mentee’s. Since the turn of the year, he been paired up with one mentee on a one-to-one basis and at the start of May, began working with a start-up business in Aberdeen, with two mentees under his wing.
We asked Alan, why did you choose to become a Mentor through Aberdeen Young Professionals?
“I’ve been doing quite a lot of mentoring in my current position, although it is always focused on people who work with me. I felt it would be good to cast the net wider and share my experiences with those out with my role.
Having received invaluable mentoring and coaching throughout my career, I really wanted to try and give something back.
I also saw it as an opportunity for myself. It would give me the ability to see my own company through “younger” eyes and perhaps pick up advice for ourselves on direction of the company, culture, etc.”
And it might only have been a short time he’s been working with the mentees, but to help feed their ambitions, it’s been a case of getting stuck right in.
“Very quickly I had to get an understanding of each mentee’s jobs and what they do, get to know their personality, what challenges they felt they were facing. Gaining that overall picture, which naturally to begin with, involved asking lots of open questions to get clarity for both of us”
In that time, there’s been some solid progress. With Alan’s support, the mentee’s, have achieved aligning a sense of career direction, supported a business plan proposal, improve time management and strengthened the ability to have difficult conversations, to name a few areas of development, of which there are plenty more.
And for our Mentors like Alan, there’s a benefit too.
“It’s been great for me too. I’ve been able to meet new and interesting people first and foremost, which I might not have without the scheme. I’ve also gained knowledge and tools for mentoring that I can use in my own workspace.
I know that my confidence has grew and I’ve improved my ability to listen, which is a very important skill for us all to keep working on.
Being a mentor has been incredibly rewarding for me. And knowing there is so much talent out there bodes well for the future, especially here in the North East of Scotland.”
Finally, Alan’s encouragement for those wanting to be a mentor & support the development of another person?
“It’s 100% worthwhile and rewarding. You’ll get out of it what you put in, but make sure you leave the mentees to organise things, don’t push too much. Gentle nudges only.
After a time of receiving help, coaching, advice it has been so fulfilling to “give back”.
If you’d like to find out more about becoming a mentor with Aberdeen Young Professionals and supporting the development of the next wave of talent in the North East, get in touch
Mentee Lauren Baxter, has been part of the scheme since the start of 2022 & we got to find out more about how she’s been getting on.
“I wanted to be paired up with a mentor as I wanted to develop the skill set that will allow me to excel within my current career, alongside growing my professional network within Aberdeen. "
"I also wanted to help my confidence grow, so I got in touch with AYP and since being paired up with my mentor, it’s been helping me achieve just that”
A Talent Attraction and Research Consultant at Executive Search company, FWB Park Brown, since July 2021, Lauren wanted the experience of working with a mentor to directly benefit the work she does, along with her own skillset.
“My confidence has improved significantly. I have also become far more strategic I believe in how I approach/execute my work and am willing to explore that ‘out of the box’ thinking, where I would doubt myself greatly before. I have also pushed myself to further expand my knowledge of the sectors I predominantly work within. I’m proud of myself for what I’ve put into this, but know a lot of this is down to working with my mentor”
We’re aware it’s a big step for someone to call out and ask for support. Naturally, you can feel nervous or apprehensive, especially when discussing some more personal aspects with someone that you might not know before your first meeting. Lauren was no different but pushed past any reservations.
“I am far more able to push myself and overcome major doubts than I used to give myself credit for! I had major issues with imposter syndrome (and at times still do) but I am far better equipped to control it and reinforce to myself that I have worked hard to get where I am and deserve to be there.
My advice to anyone that’s on the fence about working with a mentor would be to just go for it! It’s important to have an initial meeting to make sure the match is right as it is crucial that both mentee and mentor are on the same page and will get on. For me, that’s been crucial in ensuring the relationship is successful, and I’ve been able to implement and thankfully achieve the goals we’ve set”
If you are keen to develop your career and believe that working with a mentor will help, get in touch with us at AYP and we can chat you through how the scheme can benefit you.
Our Mentors and Mentees will be publishing blogs as they progress through the AYP Mentor Scheme