HLN meets: Sam Grigg, mentor at the Girls’ Network
Sam Grigg is a marketing coordinator for the software company, Oasys and also a mentor with the Girls’ Network.
By Lucy Nichol
Sam Grigg is a marketing coordinator for software company, Oasys. She’s also a mentor with the Girls’ Network. We chat to Sam about how she got into mentoring and why it’s such a fulfilling voluntary role.
First of all, can you tell us a little about your professional role?
Of course! I’m part of the team at Oasys, which is part of the Arup group. Oasys are a leading developer of structural, geotechnical and pedestrian analysis software. I’m the Marketing Coordinator there, so it’s my role to coordinate our marketing efforts through managing events, PR campaigns, webinars, social media and the website.
How did you find out about The Girls’ Network and what was it about being a mentor that appealed to you?
I attended a Fizz in the City event ran by Mincoffs, and Alison, the regional network manager, was there to explain a bit about The Girls Network. I’d been looking at ways to start some volunteering and this just sounded perfect. I think I personally would’ve benefitted from having a mentor through school or college who was a professional woman, and immediately wanted to provide a young girl that chance.
Can you tell me about your mentor experience to date?
It’s been fab! When my mentee and I were matched, we had a great initial chat to figure out how we’d keep in touch and how to go about our first meeting. Of course, that soon changed due to covid-19! We then realised we both used the Metro to get home and actually got off at the same stop, so we had an unofficial mentoring session on our journey home together! All of our sessions since then have been via a phone call, roughly once a month, with some email correspondence between each meeting. Working through what we’ll cover each month has been fascinating, and then to run through it with my mentee and learn more about her, and helping her learn more about herself, is so rewarding.
It must be quite difficult working as a mentor during lockdown - how have you managed it?
My mentee and I keep in touch through emails during the month and then have our monthly phone call for around an hour. We tried a few Skype video calls initially but it wasn’t as smooth as we’d hoped so phone calls made it a lot easier! It’s like catching up with an old friend! We share content before the call for discussion during, and both have our laptops open. Sometimes the material could be a video to watch, or a quick article to read. I’ll take notes throughout and send them to my mentee afterwards. Lockdown hasn’t negatively affected our meetings or our relationship – we both look forward to our calls.
Mentoring can be a two-way thing. What do you hope your mentee gets from the experience, and what have you learned from her so far?
I really hope my mentee has even more self-awareness of how amazing she is by the end! She was already quite confident, but I can see a difference each month, bit by bit. I’m glad she can confide in me and trusts me to speak honestly, so as long as we end the experience with the same trust, I’ll be happy. She has taught me a few things, too! For example, some running techniques (a hobby we share), and her sense of humour reminds me not to take life too seriously.
Finally, what would you say to someone who was considering becoming a mentor?
Oh gosh, absolutely go for it! It’s been an amazing first half of the year for me to be able to be a mentor. I’ve already recruited a few friends to take part with The Girls Network, but I’d encourage anyone to take a look at what is available around them which would best fit in with what they were looking to do. It’s so rewarding when my mentee repeats something back to me that we’ve covered in a previous chat, but it sounds so natural with confidence and self-awareness.
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