Want to get ahead on sustainability? Get a mentor
ICRS chair Claudine Blamey reflects on the benefits of mentoring for corporate responsibility and sustainability professionals.
The dictionary definition of mentoring is ‘to advise or train someone’, which seems to do a disservice to an activity which for some, has had career changing, even life changing positive effects.
I was mentored by someone who was a lot older and a lot wiser than me and it really helped to build my confidence. It was through this relationship that I learned to see challenges as the opportunities they often were and to start honing my influencing skills to the point where I could create powerful win-win situations.
Mentoring proved to be invaluable in my own career development and looking back it’s hard to imagine how different things might have been had I not had that support and encouragement. I’ve mentored many people over the years and I’m passionate about the tremendous difference it can make to both parties.
Mentoring was also high on the wish list for many of the people we consulted before setting up the Institute. Speaking to people, it was clear that many were struggling to find mentors who both shared their passion for CRS and understood what it takes to be successful in the sector. This was something we knew the ICRS had to help address.
November marks a wonderful milestone for us because we’ve just launched our new mentoring programme. Open to all ICRS members, we’ll be matching mentors and mentees to ensure a good fit in terms of experience, expectation and personality. But it’s not just the mentees who will be benefitting.
The mentors who have already expressed an interest in being a part of the programme not only want to help and encourage those at the beginnings of their career, they are also very aware of the benefits they get out of the relationship. As one member put it “You never really know something until you have to share it with someone else, so for me mentoring others is a core part of my own professional development.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Claudine Blamey is Chair of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS) and Head of Stewardship at The Crown Estate. Find out more about the ICRS at www.icrs.info.