How my mentor helped me succeed

Posted 27 October 2017

After graduating from my Master's, I undertook two internships, which despite high hopes, did not lead anywhere. After a month of being unemployed I knew something needed to change. That is when I discovered Media Trust's Transforming Hidden Talent programme.

My dream was to work in charity communications, telling stories that matter and getting people to listen. I would job hunt all day every day. I sent dozens of applications and attended ten interviews altogether. Every single rejection I took very personally, which resulted in my confidence decreasing day by day.

One morning, while scrolling through potential job opportunities, I stumbled across the Transforming Hidden Talent programme. I am a big fan of Media Trust, as an organisation, so was immediately intrigued. The programme is for young people up to 25 years old so I hastily applied, a few days before my 26th birthday.

Benefiting from the experience of others

Fortunately, I was accepted on to the programme and matched with my mentor, a Producer from CNN. Reading her profile, I could not believe how much we had in common, and developed my first professional crush. From our very first meeting, she was extremely encouraging. She knew first-hand the challenge of chasing your dream career in London, especially as an outsider. She made me feel more positive straight away. As fate would have it, I was soon offered an amazing job in charity communications. Nevertheless, we continued meeting on a monthly basis and focused on building my profile as a young charity professional.

The encouragement needed to pursue my dreams

I am very thankful to my mentor for encouraging me to volunteer in Calais, which was something I wanted to do for a long time but considered too difficult.

My mentor had volunteered in a refugee camp several times so was able to offer me invaluable advice. She helped me register with a charity and did everything she could to make sure I would be safe. She even set up a meeting for me with the CNN Head of Security, who trains journalists before traveling to hostile environments. In September 2017, I volunteered for the Refugee Community Kitchen preparing and distributing meals for hundreds for people fleeing their homes and living in terrible conditions in Calais and Dunkirk area

It was a fascinating experience for me, one I definitely wouldn’t have had without my mentor’s encouragement and connections.

Searching for your dream job can be challenging, but there is so much more you can do to succeed, other than sitting at home and pitying yourself.

Romana, Transforming Hidden Talent participant

Today, I am balancing two jobs. I am a Fundraising and Communications Assistant for a children’s charity – which I love – and I work for a travel start-up, which allows me to pursue my passion for traveling.  I am also planning to go back to France in December to help out with the Refugee Community Kitchen project again.

Take control of your future

Searching for your dream job can be challenging, but there is so much more you can do to succeed, other than sitting at home and pitying yourself.

To any young person who finds him or herself in a similar situation to the one I was in, I would totally recommend joining the Transforming Hidden Talent programme.

Thanks to Media Trust and my mentor, I undertook fascinating training, volunteered where help is extremely needed, made valuable contacts in my industry and most importantly re-discovered my professional value and my passion for what I do.

Read more posts...

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again

Blog post

Babatunde Onabajo joined Media Trust’s Transforming Hidden Talent in 2016. The 12-month programme, funded by Comic Relief, matches mentors from the creative media industry with young people who are interested in getting into the industry...

Posted 1 November 2017

Babatunde Onabajo joined Media Trust’s Transforming Hidden Talent in 2016.

Bridging the gap between the media and charity sectors

Blog post

Su-Mei’s first day as Media Trust CEO was spent at our Stronger Voices event, run in partnership with Open Society Foundations and The Guardian Foundation. In her first blog post, she shares her thoughts on the day,...

Posted 10 October 2017

Su-Mei Thompson Headshot