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  • Writer's pictureKaren Edwards

Life as a mentor


“A person with experience in a job who supports and advises someone with less experience to help them develop in their work” Cambridge Dictionary

Being a Mentor was not something I had considered. I have always enjoyed chatting to students and being a guest lecturer but never had I thought about mentoring an individual or a group of students.

Then enters the fantastic Claire Leer from University of Northampton. She told me all about Otolo, an online global community for passionate hospitality people to mentor each other, reconnect and rebuild careers. Claire asked if I would like to mentor a group of students who were working with Otolo on a couple of projects and needed some guidance. Obviously, I said yes!

The group of students I was lucky enough to work with were all fantastic, and really keen to learn and ask questions. As they were second and final year students, they were all pretty knowledgeable about the events world! I saw my role as being able to being reality/ real live operational situations to their lecture room learning.

Each mentee is different. Some have lots of questions and participate in discussions, some are happier to sit back and take all the information in and contact you separately. As a mentor, you need to work with your mentees and help them on a group and individual level, and also not ne too pushy. The mentee will get in touch when they need help or advice!

One of the best things that I did was to open up my LinkedIn network to the students. I really wanted them to embrace the world of social media and reach out to as many industry professionals as they could and feel confident in doing so. To facilitate this, I arranged several on-line sessions with trusted colleagues; to name a few Jack Saward, Melanie Deakin, Helen McCabe, Lisa Sweeting, Jo Ferreday, Sam Mundy. These sessions were relaxed, fun and friendly and really allowed the student to ask lots of questions and understand some of the day-to-day challenges of event management.

Having a do everything on-line was not a problem. I do always like to meet people face to face, but with the restrictions around us, we made online learning, networking, and chatting fun.

A big thank you to Claire for introducing me to the world of mentoring. Can’t wait to start mentoring my next group of students!

If you are thinking about mentoring an individual or group of students, do so. You will not regret it.

Contact Claire Leer at Northants Uni -

Contact the team at OTOLO –


Kate Darby, Events Management & Advertising Student at University of Northampton

“Karen has been such a help through out the last year. She has been someone to turn to for help and always has an industry professional to put you in contact with. She is so passionate about what she does and her work ethic is so inspiring. She has been arranging sessions with various contacts for months now which have all been extremely useful and, a great opportunity to ask questions and learn about different options within the industry. She always greets you with a smile and a sense of calmness and I have been so lucky to have been able to be mentored by her.”

Elly Lacatusu, Events Management & International Tourism Management Student at University of Northampton

for in a mentor- enthusiastic, considerate and an expert in her field of work. Karen went above and beyond, sourcing guest speakers to help me whilst at university, prepare for my placement year and for after my studies. Some topics included: Getting yourself noticed and approaching H&S in the events industry. I feel more confident and prepared for industry I am about to enter due to the valuable information and opportunities Karen has provided me. Thank you so much Karen for all your time and guidance.”

JODIE SMITH, Assistant Event & Challenges Fundraiser at Cynthia Spencer Hospice

“Karen as a mentor was great! Even with my busy schedule with university and work she was very active in making sure I do not miss workshops and even recorded these for me.”

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