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just out of education especially have a very different perspective and are not caught up in the pitfalls of day-to-day work, but have fresh ideas.” Having turned to less formal mentors in her own early career, Plukker adds that she saw volunteering as a chance to “return a favour and share my knowledge”. Andrea Caulfield-Smith, an ITM board director who acts as a mentor on its new programme, agrees. “You come away from a mentor session with a true buzz, knowing you’re helping someone become the best they can be, offering advice that can help them with situations they may be stuck with or may have a challenge dealing with. It isn’t a one-way street; we all learn something as a mentor, too.”


THE MENTOR


“I see mentoring as a two-way street as it’s a mutually beneficial partnership,” says one travel buyer who works at an investment management firm. “It’s an opportunity for both of


MENTORS ARE


CONFIDANTS AND THE BEST ONES CAN JUST APPEAR IN YOUR LIFE


There are challenges to creating these sorts of results, of course. Not least in ensuring the right chemistry between a mentor and mentee who may never have met before. In fact, the right mentor might not be waiting in the wings of a formalised scheme or online platform, cautions Wratten. They may emerge from somewhere far less planned. “Mentors are confidants and the best ones can just appear in your life, rather than squeezing or shoehorning one in. It’s like any relationship; there’s a bit of courting that goes on or a chemical fit. It’s about a network of people there to support you in a time of need.”


And put like that, it’s a concept not quite as


estranged from its ancient roots as it might first appear.


buyingbusinesstravel.com 2019 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 95


us to develop our communication skills, expand our viewpoints and consider new ways of approaching situations. There is the personal satisfaction of knowing that you have helped contribute to someone’s development – that is very fulfilling. “The ITM mentoring scheme is


valuable. I see it as a way of giving back in some small way to everyone who has helped me in my career so far, by helping others.”


THE MENTEE


“The mentor programme is invaluable for someone like me who is relatively new to the travel and meetings space, as it allows me to check ideas, methodologies and processes with an industry expert,” says a strategic sourcing manager at a bio-pharmaceutical company. “It is also great as it really helps


just checking if your logic or rationale is correct and that you are not going completely insane.”


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