Why mentoring matters – meet our mentor Pauline It’s National Mentoring Day and we’re taking the opportunity to shout about why we believe in mentoring as a sustainable tool for securing unlimited futures for girls. And our mentors play a big role in making this goal become a reality so we asked them why mentoring matters to them. Across the country, from Merseyside and Portsmouth to London and Manchester (and beyond) our mentors are mentoring girls aged 14-19 to support them in their school or college life, in their communities and with their ambitions. Interested in becoming a mentor yourself? Take a look here. Here, our Mentor Pauline in Tyne and Wear, talks more about what mentoring means to her. What made you decide to become a mentor? It really does sound corny, but I wanted to be able to help teenage girls. I felt I had been lucky throughout my career and had always had someone to believe in me. I really felt I could provide this kind of support for a mentee in The Girls’ Network. What does mentoring mean to you? It means providing support with whatever that person requires; listening to them, helping to build their confidence, developing their strengths and helping them to set goals. It also means being realistic and giving feedback and being a little upset when the engagement is not what you want it to be. It means having to put yourself out of your comfort zone, read up and learn about topics that are new to you. Best of all, it means having the best feeling ever when a session has gone well and your mentee says to you at the end of a session, ‘That was good, I enjoyed that’. Can you tell us about the impact mentoring has? Both on yourself and your mentee? One of things that has surprised me most about being a mentor is just how much I am learning from my mentee. It has given me a great insight into their world and the challenges they face. A difficult challenging time in normal circumstances, it has certainly been exacerbated by the pandemic, leading to lot of worry and uncertainty. It has opened up my eyes to just what an all-encompassing job schools do and also how important organisations like The Girls’ Network are in providing unwavering support. With regards to my mentee, it’s difficult to say without asking her but, she has never missed a session, she has a clear vision on what she has to do to achieve her goals and is willing to put the work in to get there. If someone wanted to become a mentor but wasn't sure how to, what advice would you give? Connect to someone who is already a Mentor. We love sharing our experiences and it will give you a good insight to what to expect through the whole process. LinkedIn is a great tool to find mentors and Network Managers who are always really helpful. If you are not on LinkedIn you can contact The Girls Network directly through their website.