My Connect Mentors Journey

In the beginning…..

I had just been made redundant at the ripe old age of 24, two years after graduating from university and only into my second job in London. I’d spent my first 15 months at a WPP mobile marketing agency, forging my way up the career ladder from intern to Account Executive and then made a decision to move companies to accelerate my career and get promoted to my next big job title. Sadly, this was cut short but this couldn’t have been a better thing to happen to me.

Changing and adapting

Here I was, all of a sudden working from cafes, private members clubs and, even from home! This was a far cry from my structured life in an office, 9–5pm, clock in — clock out, and even my semi-structured life at university. I definitely struggled to live the start-up life and work all hours that developers work, especially as they were based outside of Europe, as well as covering all areas of a growing start-up. I was suddenly in charge of marketing, social media, events, business development, account management and overseeing the development of the platform, along with growing the backlog to create features and functionality of the next phases of the platform. Working at a lean start-up gave me incredible exposure, breadth and responsibility to develop my skills faster, simply because everything needed to get done! This business insight from the front-line gave me the confidence to know that everything is possible and within my reach, with a bit of hard work.

Bashing it out

So here we were; running around London, attending events, showcasing to potential clients, meeting investors at all hours of the day, expanding our networks, building the platform and growing our brand presence and awareness of what we were trying to achieve within the market.

A friendship

Personal Growth

Upon leaving the platform, I regained perspective on how I wanted, and needed, to manage my working life. I made the decision to find a role that was more desk-based and hours-regulated. Yes, I had decided to become a ‘square’ again but for my own stability and growth, I needed to move on to a role that had more structure. In no way did that mean that I was cutting ties with Elina, so evidently shown in the fact that I returned to work with her at Connect Mentors in 2017 as a contractor and again on a permanent basis as of June 2018.

My own personal Mentor

Of course, on both sides of a Mentor relationship, there needs to be a willingness to: teach / learn, invest time / adopt changes, assess / self-evaluate, which is a fine balance so not to appear overbearing / stubborn, ‘know it all’ / combative, relentless / uncooperative. I was fortunate to find someone who wanted to invest their time into supporting my growth at such a pivotal time in my career. Without having been introduced to Elina back in 2014, I would not have had a job or Mentor to date.

Career highs & lows

I am now pleased to say that I am working back with Elina, on the Connect Mentors platform, providing London with Mentors from across a wide variety of industries, and I’m looking forward to see what 2019 has in store for us all.

My top five things that I want Mentees to know

It’s ok……

  1. To be made redundant — it’s not the end of the world (even though it feels like it at the time).
  2. To be scared of the unknown — if it were known, it wouldn’t be scary!
  3. To network — they’re there to help you and vice versa; you should want to collaborate with your network, stay open and embrace opportunities as appropriate.
  4. To adapt on the fly and not know what you’re doing! Just do your thing and roll with it! It will all work out for the better in the end.

Written by Heli Metsmaa-Petersons, Operations Director.

More about Connect Mentors…

Connect Mentors is managed by Aerate Inc, which is an incubator of its own concepts through early design, testing and development ready to be marketed and scaled up. Its concepts are interlinked by the mission of connecting people and making technology more accessible.

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Aerate is a social enterprise that creates and develops scaleable concepts that connect and support people through online platforms and applications.