When Pippa Carter of the Inspire & Achieve Foundation needed a mentor to act as a 'critical friend', the East Midlands Business Champions programme put her in touch with experienced Chairman and Director Jon Towler.
The beneficiary: The Inspire & Achieve Foundation
The Inspire & Achieve Foundation, based in the Mansfield and Ashfield area of Nottinghamshire, aims to support young people aged 16-24 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET), by helping them work towards a positive future. It provides structured activities that improve their approach, attitude and behaviours towards education, employment and voluntary work and helps them overcome any barriers to progression they may have.
Outreach projects provide the one-to-one support that young people need and workshops are delivered in partnership with local colleges, charities and employment support agencies.
Mentoring as a 'critical friend'
Jon Towler is an experienced Chairman and Non Executive Director in both private and public sectors and graduated with a double degree in International Business Administration. He has since acquired a wealth of knowledge and experience in business management and volunteers to assist charitable organisations with sustainable development and growth.
Pippa Carter, a Director of the Inspire & Achieve Foundation, approached Business in the Community in the hope of engaging a volunteer business mentor through the East Midlands Business Champions scheme. She requested a mentor to act as a ‘critical friend’ and support her with the management and strategic planning required to help secure the future of this valuable charity. Pippa has to take responsibility for the vast majority of the strategic, managerial and operational activities and wanted the benefit of a business mentor to be a ‘sounding board’ for her, to advise and encourage her in her decision making.
Jon assisted with business planning, board governance and with the tracking and monitoring of participants. His suggested improvements have now been embedded in day to day operations across the organisation.
Says Pippa of her mentor, "I cannot thank Jon enough. He’s been an absolute rock for the last year and has taught me so much. The dedication and passion he showed in our cause, and the amount of time he was prepared to volunteer was brilliant, unexpected and inspiring. The result of the Business Champions scheme for us has been the evolution of a more efficient and effective charity that has a firmer grounding for its future."