I LIKE NETWORKING - MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
Women Connect hears from Isabel and Lisa from I Like Networking this week to shed some light on their new initiative. I LIKE NETWORKING aims to support women and non-binary professionals looking for a career in the creative and cultural industry and those who already work in the field but feel stuck.
Let's start from the beginning. How did I LIKE NETWORKING begin?
The program was accelerated by the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, but it was an idea that grew organically.
I've always been someone who liked to connect people. Once I landed in London from Brazil though I had to build a network from scratch if I wanted to get a job– and that was harder than I had predicted. Friends and colleagues always complained to me about how hard it was to meet people (professionally and otherwise). Then I lost my job due to Covid and decided now was as good as time as ever to do this, because even more people need this support.
How many mentors and mentees are working together at the moment? How have they found it so far?
We have 37 mentors, so we hope to support at least 37 mentees at this stage. The programme starts in September and we are still accepting applications until 30th July, 12PM BST, but so far the feedback we've received has been incredibly positive, with lots of people interested in being both mentors and mentees, and many in the industry reaching out to let us know how essential a program like this is during this time.
Even though the program hasn't fully launched yet, we've had an amazing response since we opened the applications at the beginning of July.
I've noticed there's no age limit for your scheme, that's amazing as so many schemes and events are aimed up to the 25 bracket. How important is it to you that ILN is suited to everyone?
It is really important for us to be truly inclusive and not ageist. A lot of people are changing careers at 30, 40, 50, or are stuck and don't know how to progress. Also, due to the undeniably lower salaries within the sector for women, many have to leave their place of work when they start a family and it can be difficult to go back or even find appropriate, flexible jobs. There is a need for support in many stages of one's career and we didn't want to leave people out because of something like age.
Have you yourself been a part of a mentoring initiative previously, how is ILN unique to that experience?
I have been trained as a coach, which is slightly different, and have been part of mentoring programs, but I found that most of them lacked content and the time to really dive into issues and assist people on a bespoke basis, which is why we are choosing to do one on one mentoring. But I think the main differential here is that we want this program to act as a platform for networking - mentors are opening up all of their own connections so that the mentees can leave this program with a support system of their own, and hopefully be mentors at some point.
I think it's really cool that we've opened this opportunity up internationally - that's something I haven't seen before in a mentoring programme like ours. I know it was really important to Isabel, too, and made complete sense, when you think about how much experience she had before coming to London. I think it's easy for employers to forget that there's a world outside of their own with a wealth of talent, so hopefully ILN will give our mentees access and insight into many different markets.
Tell us a bit more about the mentorship. How long is the program, what is the process?
The first iteration of I LIKE NETWORKING will run from September - December 2020, with four sessions between mentors and mentees working on skills, CV, pitching and beyond. During this time, the mentors will also introduce the mentees to their own network to help them create a support network.
We're in the process of crowdfunding for the project right now, and have a campaign launching on Monday 3rd August, via NatWest's Back Her Business platform. Keep an eye on our channels [links below] for updates and a link to the crowdfunding campaign and please spread the word and donate whatever you can to keep the program running in the future!
Who are the faces behind ILN? Here's your time to shout loud and proud about the work you're doing and the changes you're impacting on the creative and cultural industries.
ILN was founded by me (Isabel Sachs) but I have an amazing advisory board who have been my incredible soundboards and support system and will also be involved in shortlisting candidates: Lisa Johnson, Mafe Miguel, Monica Bauer and Victoria Zuffo.
Then we have our fantastic mentors, who are so kindly donating their time, expertise and contacts to this cause. I feel so lucky that they are so dedicated to this cause and they are the ones who are making this initiative extra special!
Our mentors for the first edition are:
Anna Helwing, VIP Manager Europe & Americas / VIP Representative Switzerland, Art Basel
Beki Bateson, Consultant, Arts & Festivals
Burcu Yuksel, Director, Gaia Art Foundation
Carol Almiron, Communications Manager, FIFA
Cassi Young, Specialist, Head of Sale - Modern & Contemporary Art, Bonhams
Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Journalist and head of editorial at gal-dem
Claudel Goy, Managing Director, arebyte
Daisy Heath, Executive Director, Kiln Theatre
Edmund Connolly, Partnerships Manager, Google Arts & Culture
Farooq Chaudhry OBE, Producer, Akram Khan Company
Fernanda Moraes, Art Advisor, Founder +FV Arte Bureau
Francesca Gavin, Writer, Editor and Curator
Gilbert Johnson, Artist Manager and Co-Founder, Hear This Records; Marketing Specialist, Final Draft
Hamid Habib, Strategy Partner, Craft Media
Ifeoma Dike, Art Advisor and Curator
Jade Coles, Events Curator
Jennifer O’Reilly, Head of Commercial Strategy & Cross-Category Athletes, Nike
Jessica Teal, Principal, Teal Media
Jess Kangalee, Good Energy PR
João Paulo Testa, Creative Director
Jonathan May, Arts Programmer
Josh Moore, Design Director, BBC Creative
Isabella Coraça, Fashion Curator & Lecturer
Manuela Rahal & Marcela Zanon, Founders, Rahall Agency
Marina Filipe, Senior Manager, Original Productions, Turner's Kids Cluster
Marine Tanguy, Director, MTart Agency
Marta Gut, Global PR Manager, Rapha
Nicky van Breugel, Head of Membership and Volunteer Engagement, CASE
Philippine Vernes, Head of Individual Giving, National History Museum
Ruby Baker, Creative Producer
Salma Tuqan, Deputy Director, Delfina Foundation
Sara Nisha Adams, Editorial Director and Author
Sophie Busby, Corporate Partnerships, Tate
Tobi Kyeremateng, Cultural Producer
Veronica Pessoa, Music Manager
Victoria Ceridono, Author, Influencer, Journalist and former Editor-at-large for Glamour Brazil.
You can follow I LIKE NETWORKING here:
Lots of love,
Women Connect x