<< Return to What We Do

Mentee Feedback

It is always difficult to attribute cause and effect and many factors are at play in people’s career progress. Nonetheless, feedback from our Mentees demonstrates over and over again their belief that discussions with their Mentors make an important contribution to later successes. The career narratives of individuals, of course, are not static and the feedback that follows should be regarded as a snapshot, at a given point in time.

"I just wanted to update you with a little bit of news about me because it is all thanks to The Mentoring Foundation.

I will be moving on to a plural career from 1st March, which would never have happened without the advice and discipline that my wonderful mentor provided. Prompted by X, I worked out what my ‘ideal’ transition would be and – amazingly – it has happened exactly as I had hoped.

In summary, I will have two FTSE non-executive positions: with Pearson plc and with BAE Systems. In addition I continue on the FRC board and I will add two pro-bono roles: joining the Board of Trustees of the British Museum, which I am thrilled about; and (subject to approval of my nomination by the members) will become a Governor of the CFA Institute, which is the professional body closest to my occupation responsible for standards, ethics and training.

All of this is a visible tribute to the impact of the Programme and its benefits for participants. There is no doubt in my mind that I would not have achieved this without my Mentor’s quiet, determined insistence that I remain focused on my long-term goals, whilst continuing with my executive responsibilities. He provided valuable advice, and most importantly acted as a sounding board and wise counsellor. Thank you for accepting me into the Programme – the Foundation really does make an amazing difference to people’s lives, including mine."

Dame Elizabeth Corley DBE, Chair, Impact Investing Institute

"Coming to the mentoring sessions – including the networking sessions at HSBC – gives me time to think and reflect. Listening to some of the conversations around the room and other people recount their career journeys led me to re-appraise what I wanted out of my life and what sort of roles and companies might fulfil and challenge me. It was those conversations and reflections that led me to MoneySuperMarket. It is so liberating to be part of a leadership team where your broader opinion is valued, where there is opportunity for growth and innovation; to move with pace, and where your purpose is to help households save money. If I hadn’t been part of the Programme, I don’t believe I would have fully shaped my view of my next role and might therefore have made a different career choice which would have fulfilled me less."

Scilla Grimble, Chief Financial Officer, Moneysupermarket Group plc

"In X I found a truly amazing mentor. I think we have built a strong relationship based on trust and openness. He brought incredible insight, balanced perspectives and at the same time has challenged me at all the right times to push myself that much harder to achieve my ambitions. What is so refreshing about the mentoring programme is that the mentors have only one agenda and that is the individual they are mentoring as opposed to the organisation the individuals are working for. This has created such a positive dynamic in the relationship, an awareness that the advice you are receiving is genuine and sincere and only has your best interests at the heart of it. I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the broader mentoring network. It’s been incredible to have had insight from highly talented women that have either made it or are on their way up. They have kindly shared their wisdom on their respective journeys. Again what has struck me is the sincerity and openness of the dialogue. Finally, I want to thank you – you do such an incredible job in running the Foundation, bringing together and having access to the industry’s very best and somehow you always manage to keep the agenda fresh and highly relevant. I sincerely appreciated it. I am delighted to be part of the alumnae and hope to play an active role in supporting the work of the Foundation!"

Gabby Beaver, Chief Compliance Officer – Regulatory Change, CitiGroup Inc.
Former Chief of Staff to Group Chief Operations and Technology Officer, Barclays plc

"I have always believed in mentoring and coaching, but the FTSE 100 Programme was different. It was relaxed, non-threatening, safe; challenging and revelatory. I’d been mentored many times before, but this was different. It gave me access to one of the most senior leaders in UK business, and without those discussions I would not have gained my first CEO role in Malaysia – and without that, I would not have been appointed to my current role. The Programme was a commercial success for HSBC – they maximised their investment in me; it was a commercial success for my businesses and a commercial success and source of development for me. It helped me see the world differently."

Irene Dorner, Chair, Taylor Wimpey plc
Non-Executive Director, Rolls-Royce Holdings plc and Rolls-Royce plc
Non-Executive Director, AXA Group
Former Group Managing Director, HSBC Holdings plc and CEO and President, HSBC USA

"MANY thanks to you and the Mentoring Foundation – I wouldn’t have achieved this without you."

Lynne Weedall, Non-Executive Director, Greene King plc
Former Group HR Director, Selfridges Group

"Soon after I started working with my Mentor I was making the transition in my executive role and I was also talking to companies about non-executive roles. He was genuinely open in helping me to think about what I would bring to a company."
Dr Emma FitzGerald, Chief Executive, Puma Energy
International Advisor, Singapore Government Public Service Division, Prime Minister’s Office
Former Managing Director, Wholesale Operations, Severn Trent plc

"Thank you for your support. It seems a while ago now when you and I had a very honest and open conversation about the process and where things were at, and you helpfully accelerated my contact with [my Mentor] who has been an excellent guide to me. I will continue contact with [my Mentor] as I make the transition into the new role. I have fed this back to [my Mentor] as I’m sure mentors wonder if they are making a difference, and he really has. He was always accessible for a face to face or a phone call, and I could ask him anything. He also prompted me to think at a broader level when presenting myself to the Chairman and CEO. I am very grateful for your support and look forward to a continued valuable relationship."

Ms Jane Hanson, Chief People Officer, Nationwide Building Society

"Thank you for all the support from the Mentoring Foundation in building my confidence and skills to help me thrive in BT and now be given this opportunity."

Abigail Vaughan, COO, Zellis

"I have recently been appointed to the SSE plc Group Executive Committee in a role which has allowed me to meet one of my long standing objectives of broadening the scope of my executive responsibilities, beyond a strict legal role, to encompass legal, regulation, GDPR, compliance, fraud, and assurance for large capital projects. The large capital project programme in SSE includes some of the most fascinating on and off shore energy construction projects. This change in role and responsibility is a direct result of the encouragement and support received through my Mentor, who provided clear, calm and positive counsel on how to navigate difficult situations. I also gained a huge amount of guidance from my fellow mentees, who encouraged me to be "bold and brave" – bold enough to articulate what I would hope to achieve in the future and brave enough to have difficult career conversations.
Being part of the Mentoring Foundation has given me access to a network of some of the most successful and collegiate women in business, coupled with invaluable input and opinion of some of the most senior Chairmen in the FTSE 100. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to participate in the Mentoring Foundation Programme."

Liz Tanner, Group General Counsel, SSE plc

"It’s now just a few weeks since I took over as Chair of Babcock International Group. What an honour, and a good time to reflect on how I got here.
Certainly when I was nominated to the FTSE Cross Company Mentoring Scheme 15 years ago, I had no more than a vague notion of wanting to pursue a portfolio of roles once I finished my executive life. My experience of the programme was key in setting me on the path to where I am now: my mentor’s questions and support led me to clarify, at that stage, that I wanted to seek a first NED role while continuing to progress my executive career. He also pushed me to think about the skills I would bring, develop my ‘personal marketing plan’, and made introductions for me to start building my network.
Eventually, after a prolonged campaign, I joined my first plc board and then after 4 years I made the transition to portfolio life. By then I was well positioned to build up a number of roles in well-known companies, and to take on additional responsibilities like chairing committees and eventually a SID role. Throughout this time I have maintained the focus and clarity that I learned from my mentor, knowing what I was looking for and how to go about it. The same mindset has been essential in securing the Babcock role, which I am very excited about.
Many thanks to the Foundation, you are making a real difference for people like me."

Ruth Cairnie, Chair, Babcock International plc


Our Mentees are the strongest advocates of the benefits and outcomes of the FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme. We receive a great deal of feedback from them and below are some examples of their perception of the value the FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme adds to their professional lives, their companies, and their prospects for future success. The comments below are from Mentees who prefer to remain anonymous:

"I am getting a huge amount from my meetings with [my Mentor]. We have covered subjects from how to maximise my personal productivity, how to manage some major reorganisations and people changes, how to get the balance right between what is done in a business entity vs what is done by Group to name a few! [...] So in conclusion I’m very happy – he really is fantastic."



"I found the Programme very very useful. [My Mentor] comes at it from a very different angle. He’s very analytical and thoughtful about it, and is realistic about what is achievable. He is very talented. It’s a really useful experience. I gained a huge amount of confidence in the last year. I think the network is superb; that is a very big plus as well. The Mentee Network – it’s a nice group, nobody seems to need to score points off each other."

"I am finding [my Mentor's] feedback invaluable with regard to advice on workings and expectations once on the Board. I know the Programme is intended to assist with regard to progression onto the Board, however I have found his advice regarding Board mechanics, and dealing with specific situations, of great help. There have been certain instances where I have sought his guidance and he has immediately made himself available and assisted."



"My mentor and I met quarterly over the two years of the programme. During this time there were a number of senior management changes here at my company, with associated uncertainty, and he provided a valuable sounding board for my anxiety around how these changes were implemented. He was a very calming influence, focusing me on the positive lessons that come from observing the behaviour of others in these circumstances, as much to learn from their mistakes as to seek inspiration. I left all our meetings with a clearer view of what I should be doing to better manage my career and work patiently and deliberately towards meeting my long term goals. I have enjoyed meeting the other mentees and alumnae at the regular Unilever meetings as well as the Colloquium. Most of the talks have been truly inspiring, giving a sense of what we can all achieve with a bit of hard work and considered action. I got tremendous value from the introduction to the Deloitte Academy Women on Boards programme. This task based programme suited my analytical personality and provided me with a clear and practical approach to help me build my own roadmap for career development. Together with the deeper personal awareness and clarification of my own career aspirations which I derived from the mentoring relationship, this concrete knowledge base gave me the confidence to pursue a number of voluntary positions. I think the true value of the mentoring programme is the synergy between all three features which allows mentees to strike the right individual balance. I am honoured to have been included in the mentoring programme and look forward to continuing my relationship with the alumnae network."

"The Programme is an excellent step towards enabling and releasing talent which might otherwise not find its own way. I believe that my experience as a Mentee and the advice of my Mentor were significant contributory factors to my attaining the last two CEO appointments. The Programme is also a role model in its own right and my participation encouraged me to collaborate with others to start a similar cross industry initiative in one of the countries where I was based."



"My Mentor on the Programme gave me insights that I did not otherwise have, in terms of some of the more granular and practical detail: which recruitment consultants ought I to register with, what Programmes did NEDs value and attend, what other options (government, charity, trusts) might either be rewarding in themselves, or (and!) might help to gain experience; what ought I to think about in terms of what I wanted. I also received very good advice on my career decisions in general, and also one of the most practical pieces of advice I have ever received, which continues to help me.  I also received advice which helped me in considering a potential shift to my present role (which I subsequently took up)."

"The FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme helped me sharpen my thinking on why I was interested in a non-executive directorship; where to focus and what I would bring. The clarity and action orientation, developed through a very constructive and stimulating series of sessions, have been of immense value to me."



"I was considering three very different career possibilities and decided to take the opportunity I did because I felt it offered me the right balance of challenge while also playing to my strengths and existing experience. My Mentor helped me to carry out an objective, rigorous process to help me decide, and it removed much of the stress from the decision."

"The Programme has given me an opportunity to really gain an independent perspective on my leadership style and advice on how to present this authentically as part of an NED search. My Mentor’s introductions have been a fantastic way to build an external network that’s helped me develop new perspectives on business issues. He has been generous in sharing his own experiences (highs and lows) of NED roles. I’ve had some sound advice on the due diligence you must do before signing up as an NED and constant reinforcement that the key decision point must be whether the chemistry with the Board is right and whether you believe you can learn something from them, as well as contributing yourself. My Mentor’s advice was crucial in helping me gain a recent NED role."



"Being mentored by a hugely experienced FTSE 100 Chair is a great privilege and hugely enriching. After only two meetings I realised that I have been less industrious about shaping my career than I should have been, like many women and unlike most men. I’m now being encouraged to stop, breathe, work out what I want to do and how I’m going to go about doing it. The business insights and lively discussions with my trusted advisor are priceless "

"The Programme has enabled me to conduct myself in a Boardroom environment on a much broader footing. My Mentor has provided a very different perspective on me and my career. What I mean by this is that the combination of independence, challenge and objectivity from someone who sees me quite differently from how my colleagues see me has been invaluable."



"It is really empowering and helpful to have an experienced CEO Mentor who does not have any agenda on my career, ambitions or choices. I can talk totally openly and ask for really honest feedback. He need have no concern that I take anything the wrong way, or that anything is too harsh as we both know he is not involved in decisions about my future progression. I have recently been promoted to Vice President in my company and onto the board of directors. I am convinced having an outside Mentor is helping my career development."

"The FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme has given me a fantastic opportunity to work with my Mentor to learn about the critical skills and abilities that play a key role in directing and governing an organisation – whether it be a large industry or a smaller national charity. I have valued our frank discussions about different possibilities. His advice…you only start to appreciate it some time after, when it sinks in… it’s been so insightful and accurate."



"My Mentor, a distinguished FTSE 100 Chair, has been enormously helpful. During our sessions, he broadened my horizons, managed my expectations and increased my confidence. He has encouraged and supported me in building a network that proves invaluable in my daily work."

"Whilst I have only had one formal session, the Programme has already helped me enormously. Two things that jump out as being very different to other schemes: first the ‘leverage effect’ of pointers to such an incredible range of experiences and advice; and second the real challenge from my Mentor to raise my game and ambitions far beyond what I thought was possible."



"Being a Mentee in the FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme has had a definite impact on my progression within my field and company. The mentoring dialogue helped prepare me for my appointment to our Executive Committee and the Programme continues to prepare me for future opportunities."

"The FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme gave me access to an incredible wealth of experience and advice. Each mentoring session was tailored around my own issues and needs. I left each session with many solutions, suggestions and observations that I could then experiment with at my own discretion. Invaluable!"



"The Programme has given me general mentoring and guidance with respect to roles and career moves (both internal and external) and thoughtful guidance on the longer-term implications of moves, and the value of specific experience. I’ve gained a heightened degree of focus on (and guidance with respect to) building an external profile, as well as the opportunity to make new direct connections with headhunters discussing NED positions, and an increase in the number of calls with respect to NED positions. I have recently gained an NED appointment in a FTSE 100 Company."

"The insights and support from both my Mentor and fellow Mentees was instrumental in my securing the right NED role, and preparing me for a successful first year as an NED."



"It’s fabulous to have a totally neutral Mentor.  I’ve been able to get valuable advice which has been incredibly easy to act on. The combination of time with my Mentor, coupled with the support and inspiration of the Unilever Mentee Network has been a fantastic catalyst."

"My conversations with my Mentor have proved to be very thought-provoking – they have allowed me to be open about career aspirations with a senior person outside my immediate organisation and to be challenged on my career assumptions and plans. They have made me look outside the ‘obvious’ career enhancements and, importantly, to focus on developing as a person and not just a leader."



"I have found the key strength of the Programme has been its ability to match Mentors with Mentees of different backgrounds and experiences. My Mentor has been able to show me a previously unknown world and enabled me to look afresh at what I do, how I lead and what levers I can use to make an even stronger impact in my business. This interaction has given me the opportunity to benchmark my leadership skills and understand better the contribution I have made and the potential I have."

"It’s great to be able to take the time out to think about what I want to achieve in my role and career in general. At first it felt a bit self-indulgent but I can already feel the benefit of it. Having a Mentor to help guide and advise along the way is the icing on the cake. In a short period of time we have built up a rapport and know how we are going to work together."



"I have found my discussions with my Mentor on leadership really valuable – it’s been interesting to see how leaders face the same challenges, whether they are in charge of 30 or 300,000 people. I have recently been appointed [to a new post] which is a good career move, and being on the Programme certainly gave me the confidence (and the CV points!) to make a strong pitch for the job. The interview panel in fact explicitly asked me what I had learned from being mentored on the Programme – so I can say that my experience has led directly to my next career move!"

"Being accepted onto the Programme has acted as a double endorsement, by my Chair and my Mentor, of my capabilities to headhunters and other relevant networks. My Mentor’s perspicacity gave me a renewed insight into what I wanted professionally, and more crucially, the sort of companies to which I could be a ‘value-add’. I felt I had been looking in at the party, knocking on the window …his public support and his private guidance under this Programme have meant that I am beginning to be sent invitations!"



"I have particularly valued the access to an incredibly senior and experienced Mentor that is offered through the FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme. The Programme is very flexible and has provided the opportunity for sessions that are tailored to the areas of greatest interest and relevance to me. It has enabled me to make new introductions and generate further networking opportunities which I have found to be hugely valuable. My own positive experience continues to inspire me to ensure that the members of my team also have access to support through tailored mentoring schemes."

"The Programme provided the opportunity to work with a Mentor in a relevant industry who has tremendous strategic, commercial and leadership capability and experience. The ability to tap into that breadth of knowledge and experience in working through how I approach business challenges is unique and helped enormously in developing my role. Working with my Mentor has given me a much broader perspective through which to contribute to Board discussions and has helped make my step up from Division to plc both successful and enjoyable."



"My Mentor’s advice gave me renewed vigour and determination to reach Board level in my executive role as well as potential NEDs. I definitely had a mindset of looking upwards and feeling I was not interested in joining the type of community apparently represented on the Board. As a direct result of the mentoring process, I have renewed faith in the fact that you can work with good, stimulating people and that it can be fun!"

"The FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme has really helped me lift my head out of the ‘day job’ and look beyond the here and now into the future. Without this support I doubt I would have secured my recent NED appointment. I’ve been blown away by people’s generosity in terms of time, energy and wisdom."



"The Programme provided a truly unique and invaluable opportunity to learn at first hand from the experience of a FTSE 100 Chair. My Mentor also provided useful introductions to his own network of contacts – but perhaps of even greater value, he challenged me to assess both my professional and personal aspirations in life and gave me some tools and the confidence to go after those aspirations. For all of these, I am extremely grateful."

"I gained additional accountabilities and broadened my portfolio, including additional external academic interests, during the Programme. My Mentor and I discussed and debated long term career aspirations and these debates supported me to make the decisions I faced in the last two years. Through the discussions I explored the important factors in job satisfaction, and feel that I made different decisions from those that I would have previously made. The latter is due to a new sense of confidence."


<< Return to What We Do