Mentoring & Social Mobility

• Article by BRUIN Financial

Mentoring & Social Mobility

Emily Ayre, MD of BRUIN Financial, shares her experience on the benefits of mentoring. 

“Having just signed up to be a Mentor again, this time of a slightly different kind, it takes me back to 2014 when I first began this highly rewarding journey.

I have managed individuals and teams throughout my career and mentoring has always been somewhat part of this. That said, my first official Mentoring experience was for someone outside of my organisation and was through a social enterprise called The Social Mobility foundation.

The Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) is a charity which aims to make a practical improvement in social mobility for young people from low-income backgrounds. The SMF was founded in 2005 by Linkson Jack (who served as Chief Executive until January 2009) in order to provide opportunities and networks of support for 16-17 year olds who are unable to gain them from their schools or families.

Having signed up for my role as a Mentor, through the SMF, several months later I received an email detailing that the first Mentor/Mentee meet up would be taking place in the next few weeks. Help. I was seven months pregnant and had completely forgotten I had signed up to be a Mentor, which involved committing to monthly meet ups over a one year period.

Feeling like this was a commitment too far, I phoned the SMF and explained my situation and that I would need to delay for a year as it wouldn’t be fair on the individual as I would a) not be able to commit timewise whilst on maternity leave and b) have a screaming baby with me.

To this day don’t know who I spoke to at the SMF but whoever it was persuaded me that the above could actually be done and to just go for it. I wish I did know who it was as, my role as a Mentor was probably one of the key things that kept me sane whilst on maternity leave that year and I owe that individual a thank you!

Without going into reams of detail, Mohamed and I are still in touch five years on. Over a year long period, we met once a month for over an hour to discuss his A-levels, eventual application to university and more recently, his first role post university.  The son of Somalian refugees and one of nine children, Mohamed was the first of his family to attend university and is now in a highly regarded finance graduate programme. He was always incredibly grateful of my advice and wasn’t once fazed by a baby over my shoulder!

I initially volunteered as part of our company’s CSR initiatives, thinking more about how much I would need to put into the relationship; the commitment of time and energy. But the reality is mentoring is hugely valuable, for the Mentor as much as the Mentee. You both stand to gain just as much from the experience and it’s one that’s incredibly rewarding – personally, as well as professionally.”


Top Tips for a Mentor

Set the plan from day one with the following questions:

  • Why were you interested in having a mentor and how do you think it will help you to develop?
  • What are your key strengths and skills and are there any you would like to build upon through mentoring?
  • What is your untapped potential in terms of skills and experience, interests and aspirations?
  • What are your priorities over the next six months and what challenges do you face to complete these?
  • What do you hope to gain from mentoring, what issues do you want us to focus on?
  • Have you formed any specific goals?
  • Where do you hope to be in 12 months?
  • What will progress look like to you?

Close the end of the mentoring period with the following:

  • What you as a mentee asked me to help with-
  • What your key learnings have been-


Top Tips for a Mentee

  • Be clear with your Mentor what you would like to achieve so that they can prepare/advise if they are the right person to help with your requests
  • Stick to your meet up times- remember someone is giving up their time to help
  • Do what you and your Mentor have agreed as your action


For more information about our work with the Social Mobility Foundation please contact one of our management team.