Frankie Lewns

Careers Network Mentoring Scheme
PhD student in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences
Mentored by a mentor from the Business and Management sector

""Tell us a bit about your mentoring experience.

I'm Frankie Lewns, a third year PhD student within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences. I also co-founded a start-up called Bloomwise, which is a mental health consultancy business providing proactive mental health solutions for the workplace.

I took part in the Careers Network Mentoring Scheme and was partnered with a mentor that was the ex-chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), as well as a multitude of other previous jobs including CEO of Sainsbury's Bank and CEO of Cogent Elliott, the leading Midlands based Marketing Agency.

My mentor helped me with both the business side of my life, advising with Bloomwise and helping us building our network, as well as the academic side of my life with potential future careers. Our meeting approach was hybrid - either meeting in person or online depending on our availability. We didn't have a regular schedule for our meetings but they tended to be between once every 4-6 weeks.

Did you have any preconceptions about the mentoring experience
that were challenged as a result of your experience?

I didn't really know what to expect in terms of how it was going to help me and I was slightly apprehensive about who I would get matched with. I've really learnt recently that it's not about what you know, it's about who you know, and so having the opportunity to have a mentor is invaluable. I felt slightly nervous before our first meeting, but that's how I generally feel when I meet someone for the first time but as soon as we met we got on really well and I knew that it would be a great partnership.

Can you share any top tips for making the most of the mentoring
opportunity and how to be an effective mentee?

My top tip for making the most of the mentoring opportunity would be to ask all and any questions that you can think of - no question is a silly question. Just because your mentor has a certain background on paper, doesn't mean that they won't necessarily be able to help you in other areas. Be honest and transparent with your mentor because you will get the most from the relationship then.

Why would you recommend the scheme to other students?

I would 100% recommend the scheme to other students for two main reasons. Firstly, you never know who that person might know within your industry - it provides the opportunity to network, it's not about what you know it's who you know. Secondly, you would probably struggle to find a mentor mentee relationship with someone like this outside of a university setting. There really is nothing to lose!


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