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The search is on for women in Norfolk who need some 'rocket fuel' mentoring

We Can business mentoring scheme. Mentors, Izzy Phoenix, left, and Bethan Gill.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

We Can business mentoring scheme. Mentors, Izzy Phoenix, left, and Bethan Gill. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Women across Norfolk are being offered "rocket fuel" mentoring sessions, in a bid to boost business confidence and career growth.

We Can logo. Picture: We CanWe Can logo. Picture: We Can

We Can is the passion project of Rostrons Accountants director Michelle Raper, who wanted to share the knowledge of the county’s high fliers with women who wanted some support.

The first cohort of mentors and mentees have now come to the end of their twelve-months of funded advice, with We Can now searching for a further four mentees.

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“At the beginning of the mentoring I knew I wanted to get a promotion, go part time, and move out of the area I was in,” said mentee Bethan Gill.

“But I felt like I had to give up my work-life balance if I wanted that. I have two young children and had no idea about how to go about achieving what I was hoping for. I ended up burning out and was signed off work for two weeks.”

Within the 12 months of working with her mentor Tessa Haskey, a partner at Howes Percival, Ms Gill has been promoted to part-time associate director of Grant Thornton’s People Advisory team.

“She had all of the answers to what she was struggling with, she just needed the belief that she could ask for them,” said Ms Haskey.

Elizabeth Claxton, also a director of Rostrons Accountants, was the mentor for a self-employed entrepreneur.

“I think women feel like they have to be everything to everyone. Simply, you can’t, and you shouldn’t have to. If you want to have a baby then you should be encouraged to do so, and enjoy that as a priority,” Ms Claxton said.

Ms Gill said: “After I had my children I thought I didn’t want to work anymore. I have friends who think they can’t go back to the role they were in before.

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“If they stop and have a child they think they’re stagnating in their careers, you feel left behind.”

“As an employer I would expect every woman that goes on maternity leave to come back into the role she was in before. Whether she needs to go part time or make the most of flexible working hours,” said Ms Haskey.

“We invest so much time and energy, and women make so many sacrifices to get to their positions, it seems ridiculous anyone feels like they couldn’t come back into their roles,” said Ms Claxton.

Mentoring is available to women looking for any career support or advice. To apply, visit the We Can website.

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