WEN Wales Mentoring Scheme: How I became a Local Councillor.
Thinking about becoming a mentee on our mentoring scheme? Last year’s mentee, Mia Rees, writes about her experience:
“I applied for the WEN Mentoring Scheme on a whim. I knew of a couple of people who had done it the previous year and they emerged more confident and were now actively persuing the goals they had talked about for years. I was impressed and thought it was worth a go!
There is no exact mould for a WEN Mentee. The amazing women I was lucky enough to be on the scheme with were from different backgrounds, of all ages, with a suite of different experiences. However, we all shared the goal to achieve and improve the world around us. The energy in the room when we met was infectious.
Through the various sessions, workshops and talks I learnt a lot. Some of the sessions pushed me out of my comfort zone, challenging me to do things I wouldn’t normally do and to think differently. But WEN and the other mentees where always there to support and push me to give everything a try.
I was also really honoured to be able to share my knowledge with some of the other mentees as we all made the most of this unique nurturing network.
In the middle of the scheme, the opportunity to stand for Cardiff Council came up. I hesitated initially but after speaking to another WEN mentee I put my name forward. I had supported others in their political campaigns before but putting myself forward, seeing ‘Vote for Mia Rees’ on the leaflets was a very different experience.
The campaign was hard work and exhausting – I went through two pairs of trainers! But speaking to residents about what mattered to them was awesome. So many people wanted to speak to me about a range of issues and their need for improvement drove me forward.
The night of the count I was nervous. I had been out in the pouring rain all day speaking to voters feeling that it could go either way. In the end, I won with 36% of the vote and a 1,544 vote majority. I am now a Cardiff Councillor and I doubt I would’ve had the confidence to go for it without the support and encouragement of my other mentees.
At the start of the scheme, I knew what I wanted but lacked the knowledge and belief needed to achieve. The scheme not only taught me a lot but critically linked me up with others who were able to share with me their experiences and expertise.
You can’t buy confidence and self-belief but through the WEN Mentoring Scheme, you can build it. If you are thinking about applying, then please give it a try. You never know where it might lead or what you could achieve”.