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Ioana told us about the highlights of her experience as a mentor with Envision!

Wanting a change

“To be better at work, we have to be constantly exposed to things outside work”. This is one of the reasons Ioana, a HR support assistant from IOP Publishing, was drawn toward mentoring with Envision. Combining this with a desire to try something new, and a positive recommendation from a colleague who had mentored with Envision previously, Ioana knew this was an opportunity that she wanted to seize.

Ioana soon discovered that joining a team of like-minded mentors was a fantastic way to meet new people and form new relationships, pointing out that “you’d think we knew each other because we all work at the same place, but not necessarily!” The team gelled quickly too, united in their desire to support young people: “we were all on the same page – I feel we worked quite well as a team.”

Making a change

The first priority for Ioana and her team of mentors was to make the team of young people feel safe and at ease as they walked into an office environment for the first time. Ioana remembers that “most of them were very shy, which is to be expected”, and so her aim was to be friendly and supportive as possible.

Ioana’s next priority was to support young people to be successful. However, she stresses that ‘success’ doesn’t necessarily mean having high-flying careers; in fact, “to succeed is just being happy and confident and free.” Ioana found that the best way to nurture this kind of success in young people was by actively listening to who they were and what they needed.

Seeing a change

At the Envision Final, it became clear that this approach had been effective. In a magical moment shared by 8 different organisations, Ioana cheered on her team of young people as they presented their social action project, blown away by their growth in confidence. She recalls seeing one particularly shy young person – who had barely uttered a word during her first mentor session – finding the courage to present proudly and passionately to over 100 people! Ioana turned to her fellow mentor in disbelief and said: “is that really her…?!?”

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