What the HDN Mentoring programme means to me

As I look forward to competing as one of the three finalists of this year’s Inside Housing/CIH Rising Stars competition, I wanted to shout about how HDN’s mentoring programme and my mentor, John Ghader (Chief Executive of Prima Group, formerly Pierhead Housing) have helped me to achieve my goals.

I set out on the programme in 2016 with two main objectives – to get better at networking, and to improve my confidence and assertiveness. I had a great role as Corporate Strategy Officer, but was still finding my feet after a previous experience had severely knocked my confidence. HDN’s mentoring workshops and regular meetings with John have given me such a boost, along with the skills and personal resilience needed to progress my career.

I really look forward to our workshops and catching up on the progress of our North West group, and we’ve taken part in some great sessions run by both Sue Waterall and a range of guest speakers, including my own mentor! John has been a fantastic mentor, offering practical advice as well as sharing his own housing story. Over the past year John has made me believe in myself, and helping me through the interview process to obtain my new role as Riverside’s Policy & Strategy Advisor. I also applied for and reached the final of Rising Stars, something I wouldn’t have thought possible just a year ago. I make sure my voice is heard in meetings now, and when it comes to networking, I’m now making the most of Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as attending networking events where I’m met some great people. I also now act as Riverside’s rep for Homes for Everyone, a group of Merseyside housing associations supporting Liverpool’s Pride festival.

Coping with anxiety, I tend to find interviews and the like difficult, although I do enjoy presenting. It’s something that I’ll always be managing, but HDN’s mentoring programme could not have come at a better time for me. One of my goals is to eventually move into leadership, and I now have the confidence to pursue this in the future. So a huge thank you to HDN, Riverside and my mentor John Ghader for all their help and support over the past year. I would encourage anyone to apply for 2017/18!

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