Mentoring Scheme Diary: Bouncing back from redundancy

Earlier this year, PRWeek and Women in PR (WPR) relaunched the Mentoring Scheme to tackle the lack of female leaders in comms. In the first Mentoring Scheme Diary, we hear from Shelley Facius and her mentee Amy Stevens about how they reacted after the latter was told she would be made redundant.

Mentor: Shelley Facius, founder and MD, Juice PR

Shortly after the Mentoring Scheme started, Amy found out that she would be made redundant from her position. So her original ideas of what the mentoring would entail went out the window!

During our first meeting over breakfast, she’d already had some interest from London-based consultancies, as she was aiming to move from in-house to agency. She'd also looked at the option of freelancing. We talked through her various approaches and I shared my experiences and views of the agencies. I also thought it was important that she moved into a role which offered security and stability (as much as you can find in the agency world).

Amy ended up progressing a couple of opportunities, one in London and one closer to home in Reading. In the end, I hope that I helped her weigh the options not only from a rationale viewpoint, but also using her intuition to guide what was the best ‘fit’. Sometimes this doesn't mean the most senior title or the best chances of progression on paper! During this important time when she was interviewing, I was flexible and we not only met, but exchanged emails and phone calls.

I think Amy made a fantastic choice in terms of her new employer, Six Degrees. She really seems to be enjoying herself, as well as being challenged. And having your workplace so close to home is a huge benefit!

Moving forward, I want to help Amy progress in her career in any way I can. I know that she wants to 'get out' more and as she’s just joined WPR, I’m sure it will provide a great networking forum. I have my own business and I do a lot of networking, so I’ll be suggesting relevant events too. I look forward to supporting Amy throughout the Mentoring Scheme and to us staying in contact long after.

 

Mentee: Amy Stevens, senior account manager, Six Degrees

When I was first accepted onto the WPR mentoring scheme I was working in-house for Bang & Olufsen and was faced with challenges around stakeholder engagement and internal communications. Shortly after finding out who my mentor was, I was made redundant and the goal posts changed dramatically in the space of a week.

What I now needed from a mentor was not what I had originally thought – I needed someone who would be able to give me interview pointers, provide insight into agencies and brands, and help me pick the right route to further my career.

With experience both in-house and agency-side, Shelley stepped up to the plate and gave me a verbal tour of her career thus far. It was, rather incredibly, a good match after all seeing as she could speak from experience and give me valuable nuggets of intel about the companies I was interviewing for.

In some cases we had the same view, and in others I was made aware of things that could greatly affect how I got on at that company. It was just so useful to have a sounding board. There is only so much your family can help you with and without someone on the inside, I was at risk of making a wrong move.

With regular contact over email and over the phone, as well as a few face-to-face meetings, I really feel like I’ve already benefited so much from being a part of this scheme. I am now working within an agency once more, and loving every minute of it.

Although our initial focus has shifted, one of my key KPIs has remained the same – get out more! As I am based outside of London, I think I need to work harder on finding out about events, and networking with other people within the industry.

Being a part of WPR and going to its events is a great way to get this going, and the other mentees have been really kind in offering to extend invites to me as well. I really hope that Shelley and I will stay in contact long past the 12 months, and I will continue to be a member of WPR, keeping a close eye on the purposeful goals of the organisation.

Click here to read more about the Mentoring Scheme

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