Get Mentoring

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Sheryl Miller, 39, has had a successful and varied career in blue chip companies for over 20 years. Joining Ernst & Young as a school leaver, she worked her way up the ranks to senior management. She is now applying all of her business experience, along with her natural tendency to be the 'social secretary' wherever she works, to the growth of the networking venture where she is a co-founder, Stiletto SOS.

Sheryl's experience in the corporate environment has given her a strong footing as a business mentor. Early on in her career she qualified as a Chartered Accountant and became an active member of the AAT, joining a number of employer panels and serving as a co-opted Board member. She went on to to take a role as Executive Support Manager for the CEO of npower Retail, where she explored specific business areas and came up with recommendations. She says,

"It was terrific. You get an amazing insight into the organisation and the business decisions facing the CEO of a large corporate, as well as how to balance the pressure to constantly improve a business with the need to maintain stability".

Following this experience Sheryl focused on Strategic Planning, underpinning her experience with an MBA. When asked what roles she's happiest in, she says:

"Although I am a qualified Accountant, I love working on projects which are about working with people and delivering improvement, whether it's pulling together new teams, designing new processes or trouble-shooting a business area"

It is this wealth of experience combined with an interest in supporting women that led to the development of her new venture:

"Over the years I've always seemed to end up as the 'social secretary', bringing together groups of friends and colleagues for social occasions. Over time this has led to the launch of Stilettos SOS. We arrange get-togethers, from cocktail making to a day at the races, and combine this with workshops to support professional and personal development. We bring together women from all business backgrounds including entrepreneurs, those still working in a corporate environment and women returning to the job market after having children. There's no criteria, just a mutually supportive setting for women with all sorts of career and life goals."

Sheryl, who completed the Get Mentoring training a few weeks ago, says

"I've been so fortunate throughout my career in big corporations to have access to mentoring. I'm a big believer in the benefit of both mentoring or sponsorship, whether in the corporate environment or in small business. I now want to be able to do the same for others".

"I'm often asked by friends and family to help out with their business and career dilemmas, but I've never been really sure of the difference between mentoring and other forms of support. Also, I've found I had a tendency to roll up my sleeves and do some of the work, but realistically I can't do that with everyone coming my way. The Get Mentoring course really helped me understand how I can support as a mentor rather than as an extra pair of hands."

Despite her extensive work and social commitments, she's keen to start volunteering as a mentor as soon as possible:

"As someone who grew up in working class family with a single parent, this kind of activity is all about giving back and helping others have the opportunities I've had. The Get Mentoring course has been great as an introduction but now I'm keen to get going, I found out about the Princes Trust recently and will be mentoring with them in the coming weeks."

When asked if she thinks mentoring is particularly important for women she says:

"I've always believed that women have a multitude of skills and talents that can lead to success in business. I think mentoring can help them understand where their skills can best be focused and give them the confidence to go for it". "One of my missions is to encourage women to stop trying to do everything; business, job, children, family, friends. Our biggest downfall is that we do too much and that we're not very good at asking for help. Focus on the stuff you're good at, and if you can afford to outsource the things you don't need to do, then do!".

Asked what she thinks of Get Mentoring's objective to train more people to mentor small and medium sized businesses, she says:

"In the current economic environment I believe entrepreneurial spirit will get people through. If someone has a good idea and they can develop it into a business, then I say more power to their elbow, and if myself and others can help make it happen that's wonderful".

Sheryl Miller is the co-founder of Stiletto SOS, Sisters of Strength, which creates workshops, seminars, networking and social events within Birmingham and the surrounding areas for a supportive network of women.

Posted on by getadmin | Posted in Case Studies, Get Mentoring Monthly