Bristol Mentors: ‘It’s fantastic to feel you have helped give someone the confidence to reach for their goals’

Image: Bristol Mentor of the Year Sam Rose (left) with one of her mentees Tien (right)


Sam Rose (MA 2006) won Bristol Mentor of the Year 2019 for her remarkable mentoring of two students last year. She shares her experience of the programme and talks to us about what it meant to her to support an aspiring lawyer and policy maker.

What inspired you to join as a Bristol Mentor?
I loved my time studying at Bristol and mentoring was a fantastic way to re-connect with the Bristol community in a meaningful way. I remember finding the leap from studying law to moving into a career quite challenging. I couldn’t decide what sort of lawyer I wanted to be or even whether I wanted to stay in academia and study law at PhD level. I didn’t know anyone who had experience of those careers and it would have been really valuable for me to have been able to chat through the options with someone who had been there.

The team at Bristol Mentors was fantastic – really supportive and inspirational so once I had made contact with them, they made it an easy decision.

Can you tell me a bit about your mentoring partnership – who did you mentor? How did you structure the mentorship and what do you think your mentee gained from the experience?
I was spoiled to have two mentees in the first year of the scheme. As I live near Oxford and work in London, the majority of our catch-ups, which were about once a month, were over Skype, Google Hangouts or the phone.

I also reviewed application forms and CVs for them and provided written comments. We met in-person and I arranged for one mentee to do work experience at my office and for the other to have a networking lunch with two of my colleagues who had worked at law firms she was interested in.

I hope I was able to give them some professional insight into the careers they were interested in and to help them to feel confident to pursue them.

Is there anything that worked particularly well with your mentoring that you would use again with another partnership?
I think it worked well for both mentees to get insight from my colleagues as well as from me. I am lucky that in my current role I have lovely colleagues who were happy to dedicate time to have career conversations with them.

What do you enjoy most about being a mentor?
I have met two bright and inspiring young women. The scheme ended in the summer but I have had contact with both of my mentees since then and met with Tien (pictured, right) this weekend to catch up whilst she is home from her year abroad.

Why do you think mentoring is valuable?
It’s a way to pass on what you have learned to people who really value it, which is enormously rewarding. It’s also a lovely way to meet charming and intelligent young people and to stay connected with Bristol.

Do you have any tips for people who are thinking about joining as a mentor, or people who have just started a mentorship?
Don’t underestimate the value of a calm and encouraging chat with your mentees. It’s fantastic to feel that you have helped to give someone the confidence to reach for their goals.

In three words, how would you describe Bristol Mentors?
Flexible, rewarding and insightful.

Are you interested in becoming a Bristol Mentor for 2020/21? Find out more about Bristol Mentors here or get in touch with our team at alumni-mentoring@bristol.ac.uk

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