Why everyone should be a mentor

Posted 31 May 2018

When presenter and broadcaster Ria Hebden isn’t busy brightening our television screens on This Morning, or interviewing some of the biggest names in show business, she spends her time mentoring young people hoping to break into the industry. Ria shares her experience of being a mentor to Janay via Media Trust’s Creativity Works programme, run in partnership with Mayor’s Fund for London and Berkeley Foundation.

The Creativity Works Mentoring scheme run by the Media Trust is an intense six-week scheme where you give an hour of your time, face to face, in addition to calls and emails to guide a young person at the very early stages of their career in the media industry.

So, when I was asked by the Media Trust to give a speech at the most recent Media Graduation, here’s what I had to say about the mentoring experience…

You are unique

There is only one you in the entire universe and only ever will be. Your life experience and the skills you acquire as you travel this crazy adventure called Life, will be completely different from the person next to you and so, let’s just stop for a moment and think about that.

Ria speaking at the Creativity Works Graduation Ceremony at City Hall in December 2017

Think of the creative sparks that you could ignite by encouraging someone to believe in themselves

Think of the wisdom you could share, by passing it on to someone else, helping them to navigate their life journey and hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls that you have experienced. Think of the creative sparks that you could ignite by encouraging someone to believe in themselves and reassure them that their dreams aren’t too big. Think of the positive energy you could spread by tapping in to your networks and creating opportunities for new connections to be made. And here’s the best part, by sharing your knowledge, you’ll not only learn, but you’ll grow and you’ll be inspired too. Because everyone you meet has something unique to share with you too.

Ria and Janay together

Meeting my mentee

So when I first met Janay…. I knew straight off the bat that she was tenacious, organised and punctual – all skills that you want in someone when they first start out in their career. We clicked straight away, she shared her goals, hopes and dreams with me and while I explained, we might not be able to achieve everything. We set out a plan to put things in place to try and make some of them happen.

Janay speaking at the Creativity Works Graduation Ceremony at City Hall in December 2017

It was of no surprise to me that within days, opportunities started to open up for Janay as she reached out to execs at Viacom, she even got an email from the CEO of Done & Dusted!! 10 gold stars for effort there! She bagged herself an interview at the BBC for Radio 2 as well as a role as Social Media Coordinator at the MOBO Awards because Janay is driven, articulate and positive.

It’s been great to see Janay work at live events such as the MOBO Awards

It’s been great to see Janay work at live events such as the MOBO Awards because I know just how much she wanted it and to have her shadow me on the red carpet at the Women in Film & TV Awards and at the Royal Television Society’s Futures Christmas Quiz felt great.

Ria and Janay with CEO of Mayor's Fund For London, Matthew Patton and Head of the Berkeley Foundation, Sally Dickinson at the Creativity Works Graduation Ceremony

With CEO of Mayor's Fund For London, Matthew Patton and Head of the Berkeley Foundation, Sally Dickinson

Paying it forward

Because you see, Janay is a perfect example of if you work hard, stay positive and listen. Doors will open up to you and even new opportunities that weren’t part of your original plan will too. So I’d like to thank the Media Trust for this opportunity, I’ve loved every moment of mentoring Janay. And I expect to see her achieve huge things going forward, my only ask would be that she now makes the time to mentor someone too, as we all have a responsibility to pay it forward.

 

Adapted from Ria’s blog.

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