Dr Judith Skiming talks about her experience of being part of the Leadership mentoring programme and advice she would give to someone who is thinking of applying

Two people sit together at a long desk looking at a laptop, with an open notebook and pens to take notes

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What made you decide to get involved with the Leadership mentoring programme?

After the boredom of the COVID-19 lockdowns I had decided to be more open to new experiences and try to meet interesting people at every opportunity. This sounded like an opportunity to make new connections and learn about what ‘real’ chemists do! As a teacher you have limited knowledge of what jobs in science are actually like and so I thought it would be educational for me and improve my ability to give careers advice to future students.

What kind of topics did you discuss and work on as part of your Leadership mentoring relationship?

We discussed how to manage teams of people, including difficult colleagues, and shared our experiences of coping in stressful situations. We actually found that there were lots of similarities in our jobs since we both had to line manage people .

Also , my mentor had done a bit of teaching in their past so they really understood the challenges that teachers face which I think really helped, because they knew exactly what I was talking about when I lapsed into ‘school jargon’.

We also just talked generally about our jobs – what we had done that week and what our future goals were and how we were going to achieve them.

Was there anything your mentor said or did that was particularly helpful?

Generally, they were very supportive. We both had a similar sense of humour and got on well. My mentor offered ideas about managing a team that had worked for them. Our chats were a good way to let off some steam and get an objective opinion about a particular situation. I was also able to give my mentor some support with their issues.

What are some benefits you’ve seen from being mentored?

I feel more confident in my approach to managing others.

Do you have any advice for someone deciding whether or not to participate in the Leadership mentoring programme?

I would definitely recommend it. It is really interesting to find out about a whole other world within the industry and how the private sector works.

Do you have any advice for someone beginning the Leadership mentoring programme?

Look upon it as a rare opportunity to meet a scientist from outside the teaching world on a professional basis and get a glimpse of a totally different culture and work environment.

Anything else you’d like to share about the Leadership mentoring programme?

Thanks to the RSC for organising this really invaluable experience.

Interested in applying?

Learn more about our Leadership mentoring programme today, including eligibility criteria and application deadlines.

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