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  • Writer's pictureKaren Edwards

Being a NOWIE Mentor: an insight into what it is like to be a successful mentor

I have always been the kind of person who likes to help others, so when the opportunity arose to become a NOWIE mentor, I jumped at the chance!

Throughout my career as an event professional, learning, sharing and encouraging others has a large part of what I do.

Whilst I was at the ICC Birmingham, I worked with the final year events management students from University College Birmingham. I set final year topics and questions, and also listened to and critiqued presentations.

“Karen is always highly professional and has an empathy with both colleagues and clients that allows her to get the best out of them." Sarah Edwards, Assistant Director, Teaching and Learning Enhancement

I continue to support second year events and tourism students at the University of Northampton with Contingency Planning, and planning and delivering their events, and event evaluation.

“Karen provides support, advice, guidance, constructive feedback, coaching and is a good sounding board for her mentees. She has proactively reached out to her network to arrange specialist support sessions which her mentees have found enjoyable, extremely valuable and provided them with more industry contacts. Karen is inspirational and an exceptional role model.” Claire Leer, Senior Lecturer Events Management & Tourism

So, why NOWIE! Well, when the fabulous Chair of NOWIE, Cat Kevern asks you to be a mentor because the NOWIE team think that you will be great, you can’t really say no… can you? NOWIE wanted a mentor who was a mother, an event professional and doing the juggle!!!

My mentoring experience with NOWIE has been fantastic. I have loved every minute of chatting to and working with my fabulous mentee Jenny Davies.

Jenny already has a tremendous amount of events experience working for the Scouts Association. What Jenny was looking from me as a mentor, were things other than event experience:

1. Growing herself confidence and belief in her skills

2. Help in preparing for the next stage in her career.

3. Social media support

4. Understanding that doing the little things first mean that the big things follow.

5. How to do the juggle of work, life, and family!!

This is what Jenny thought about the NOWIE Mentor/ Mentee experience:

“I had a chance NOWIE encounter at a 2022 exhibition. I was there as someone with conference and meetings experience, and they were in the live event section. I’d taken a wrong turn somewhere around the halls of the Excel!

Except, it turned out to be the best ‘wrong turn’ I’ve had. My career started with training in Stage Management and Technical Theatre at drama school but moving out of London and back to my hometown had put paid to that, and a series of jobs across numerous industries followed.

When I first heard of the mentorship I remember thinking ‘I really hope this isn’t just something for the newly graduated events industry members again’. I had been trying to move more and more into events for some time but, as someone who graduated in 2010, I felt too old to be mixing with the newly graduated.

I held my breath and wrote out an application and was delighted to be accepted, and matched with Karen, just a short while later.

Karen has been a breathe of fresh air in my events life. She has been a cheerleader, a whirlwind of action and has had such positivity throughout. I can’t underestimate how much she has boosted my confidence across the last 8 months.

I got the chance to work alongside her at Plantworx in June this year. To see her in action was really inspiring – but it was also a really reassuring moment for me. A moment where I realised ‘I can do this’.

I often let my doubts and slightly confused CV get in the way but NOWIE, and Karen, have reminded me that I have the skills and that I can deliver. I can’t recommend the NOWIE mentorship highly enough.”

The events industry is rewarding and exciting, it can also be a hard world to get into and make your mark.

By mentoring, supporting, and encouraging I am (hopefully) equipping others with a few more life and industry skills to take them on their next chapter… whatever and wherever that may be.

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