Leading our students to mentoring success
Published on 6 July 2021
At the University of Dundee, we believe that it is important for students to have an opportunity to take part in a wide range of extra-curricular activities. One such activity is the Leadership Plus Mentoring programme
The Leadership Plus Mentoring programme, an award of Dundee Plus which helps students develop skills that employers are looking for, get recognition for these skills and communicate them and their achievements, was launched in 2016 as a pilot programme. The programme aims to help meet the demand for leadership development and has grown systematically and sustainably over the last four years with over 50 students taking part this year.
This year we were delighted to work with the Careers Service team to invite our alumni and supporters from across the world to become mentors on the programme.
Jon Fitzpatrick, a three times graduate of the University of Dundee and now Managing Director of strategic and corporate finance advisory firm operating within the energy and natural resources sectors, Gneiss Energy, was introduced to Martha Umeh Ude-Eze, a Masters student of Social Work and current Vice President of Academia at Dundee University Students’ Association as part of the Leadership Plus Programme.
Despite never having met in person the duo have formed a remarkable relationship. Jon has guided Martha as she explored how life after academia might look, while undertaking her current Vice President duties and also emerging the overall winner for the Global plus award for 2020/21.
Having benefited as a mentee himself throughout his university experience Jon fully recognised how the relationships helped shape his own decisions. Actively involved with the Development and Alumni Relations Office it felt like a natural progression to become involved in the Leadership plus programme, offering the same support.
The main motivation for Martha applying was to find some direction in her career after university life.
“Embarking on the programme was a little daunting to begin with, the prospect of meeting someone who had been a successful corporate lawyer, then an investment banker and was now the MD of their own advisory firm operating throughout the energy sector, but Jon quickly put me at ease,” said Martha.
With each pairing on the programme taking control of how to structure the mentorship, Jon and Martha took the opportunity to schedule weekly calls as a minimum.
“Video calls are the now the norm and we’ve gone on to form a close bond even though we’re in different cities and have never met in person.
Martha Umeh Ude-Eze
“It was a great feeling to know that someone wanted to invest their time and effort in helping my development. While mentoring doesn’t provide you with all the answers it is an amazing framework to support you with your own decision making.”
Jon added, “The mentoring programme serves as a way to give back and is an important personal development and learning experience. Explaining something, thinking it through with a clear explanation so it is easy to understand is really useful part of the mentoring experience as it challenges your ability to provide relevant advice in a clearly understandable format.
“No matter what direction students think their degree might take them, it is imperative to have an external sounding board to support decision making. A good mentor should not advise of a particular path but support with guidance, offering an independent perspective, providing the mentee with a rubric for problem-solving. I think you become a more competent mentor when you are forced to generalize your advice to an individual based on your own numerous experiences.
“It is never about providing answers but rather ensuring that a mentee reaches their own potential.”
To get involved as a mentor in the Leadership Plus programme please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mentors and Mentees
Andy Smart (Politics-German, 2012)
Alan Bainbridge (Law 1994)