My BIMA Mentoring Experience by Richard Robinson, Econsultancy

By Richard Robinson
06 Jan 2020

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Richard Robinson is Managing Director at Econsultancy which provides thought leadership, best practise and digital transformation to over 600,000 marketing, digital and ecommerce professionals every month.

He signed up to BIMA’s Mentoring Programme in May 2019 and although he is an experienced mentor, he recommends it to anyone.

Why did you sign up as a mentor on BIMA’s Mentoring Programme?

I really enjoy mentoring and believe that everyone deserves a fair chance in the workplace regardless of who they are or where they come from. I believe it’s important for those of us who have been in the industry for a while to give back – we need to ensure the new guard of talent is found, nurtured and brought through to safeguard the future of the industry.

On a personal note, I apply a principle of only mentoring people who look or sound different to me. This is deliberate to ensure I can learn too, and to ensure I champion a different type of talent to the norm that too often resembles a white, degree-educated bloke.

Was your mentee what you expected?

Absolutely, and more. AK is bright, articulate and on it. From the first meeting I knew I was dealing with someone who was expecting me to bring my A-Game, but I also knew she needed help in articulating and unravelling her thoughts so we could map a successful career path for the future.

Where AK was more than I expected was the advice and clear thinking she was able to give me on challenges I faced at work. BIMA’s Mentoring Programme has very clear rules of engagement and a structured plan to work to, which allows mentees to feel comfortable enough to speak openly and this was invaluable to us both.

Ultimately it was great to be paired with someone as committed as I was, and I think we immediately knew good things were going to happen.

Would you do anything differently next time?

I would get all the meetings in the diary from the first meeting. We ran into a hiccup about six weeks in where pressure of work meant things slipped for a few weeks (my fault!) and, although we pulled it back, I know I could have foreseen this happening.

Do you have any advice for anyone considering joining BIMA’s Mentoring Programme?

For mentors there’s nothing quite like it. If you’re in a position to mentor and currently aren’t then you need to ask yourself, why not?

If you feel unable then I’d strongly recommend BIMA’s Mentoring Programme. I’m lucky enough to have had lots of opportunities to mentor in different environments and BIMA’s programme has easily given the most guidance and support. The structure and advice provided makes it ideal, especially for first-time mentors.

Final thought is to try having your meetings first thing in the morning. It’s not perfect for everyone, particularly if you’re travelling into town or have more important family commitments, but if you can it’ll set your day up strong and ensure neither of you are distracted by the daily grind of the office.

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