Connectr & Heathrow: ‘Mentoring changed my life for the better’
Job role before mentoring: Process Team Administrator
Job role now: Business Change Support Co-ordinator (Secondment)
In the wake of the pandemic, Connectr partnered with Heathrow from November 2020 to early 2021 to provide a pilot mentoring scheme for their colleagues, with a focus on diversity and inclusion.
Keen to kickstart her future, Rachel, a member of Heathrow’s Process Team, jumped at the chance – and the experience changed her life.
Thanks to success stories like Rachel’s, Heathrow has relaunched a full internal mentoring programme in December 2021, delivered through Connectr’s employee engagement platform. We spoke to Rachel about her experience, and how Connectr gave her the power to drive her own future.
What made you decide to sign up for Heathrow’s mentoring programme?
Before the pandemic struck I was looking for a new role. I had a few interviews and then Covid came and I was put on furlough. I was transferred into the Process Team, and although I loved the team, I was still continuing the team administrator role that I had been in pre-Covid. I wanted to explore new opportunities and pursue my career ambitions.
When the mentoring programme came up, I jumped at the chance. I knew I needed to break the mundanity of my role and take the next leap forward in my career. I also think Covid and the re-organisation at work had taken away a little of my confidence, so I knew this would be a great opportunity to get my motivation to succeed back.
What was it like using Connectr? How did it differ from other mentoring experiences?
I was so impressed with Connectr. From choosing my mentor, to reading the material and completing the activities, the whole process was seamless. That made it more enjoyable. There’s nothing worse than a clunky platform, and Connectr was not that!
It differed from other mentoring experiences because it integrated personal development activities with mentor interaction, at times that suited you. My mentor, Helen, would ask me questions that would get me thinking from a different perspective, and it complemented the online activities perfectly.
Mentoring that I’ve had in the past has felt a little awkward and anxiety-inducing, because I’ve been paired with a mentor that I didn’t resonate with. With Connectr, I was able to pick Helen myself, it made sessions more relaxed, and I felt I could share more with her – which in turn prompted better conversations.
The activities also made me reconsider other things in my life. For example, I’m now moving house to put myself in a better place financially. And yes…the mentoring really did prompt these changes for me. It made me address the things I had been not willing to face and put everything into perspective.
What enabled you to choose the right mentor for you?
I spent a lot of time reading through the profiles of the mentors and deciding who would be the best fit. Helen’s profile really resonated with me. I liked how she described her career, and she mentioned that alongside work, she was raising a family. I have a young daughter too, and as a single mum that was so important to me. She also had a really inspiring quote on her profile, which I loved.
It was great to get an insight into the person that would be mentoring you, and I think that meant that me and Helen had a great relationship from the start.
How has your mentoring relationship impacted you?
I can honestly say that it has sparked something in me to re-address my whole life – not just at work, but my personal life too. It was definitely the step I needed to drive me to make the changes I needed to be happier.
I have a lot more confidence now, and I was able to secure a secondment in my team as a Business Change Support Co-ordinator, which is giving me the opportunity to support and lead on smaller projects, which has helped build my experience.
Sometimes you need to admit that you’re stuck in your career (it took me a while to come to terms with that), and to take the help when it’s offered – which then enables you to move forward more positively.
What would you say to anyone considering signing up to an online mentoring programme?
I would say: what have you got to lose? It might work for you, it might not, but you’re not losing anything by giving it a try. You might just find that it changes your whole life for the better – it did for me!